Back then, there was no Food Network on TV and cooking was relegated to some afternoon shows or some weekend stuff on PBS (who remembers Pasquale's Kitchen?)
Steve had a show called Primal Grill. I think it might have been on PBS at the time.
It was from watching this show that I got my first BBQ rub. Steven called it his basic BBQ rub and said it was versatile enough to put on anything.
Basic BBQ Rub ingredients
1/4 cup of brown sugar
1/4 cup of kosher salt
1/4 cup of paprika
1/4 cup of black pepper
Mix and use. I personally find it a little bit too salty so I usually use only half the salt.
Sprinkle this rub liberally on ribs or chicken. Let it sit for a little bit then grill or smoke it. If you're not happy with the results, just change it one way or another the next time you make it.
Speaking of Steven Raichlen, he has a great website called Barbecue Bible that you can check out and most of his books are carried at any major bookstore. I own all of his books and would recommend each and every one of them.