This rub is perfect for all kinds of pork, including ribs, pork chops, or Carolina-style pulled pork. The recipe imitates the dry rub used by Cary Bringle "Peg Leg Porker" at his Nashville barbecue restaurant.
One important tip is that you should not apply your spice rub too early before you start cooking. If you do, it will cause the pork to develop a ham-like flavor, and not in a good way. Apply this rub right before the pork hits the smoker.
If you use a mop sauce while your ribs are cooking, it's best to apply it with a spray bottle so you don't disturb the rub. Otherwise, use a barbecue mop tool to apply it gently.
You may like this rub so much that you'll use it to season chicken, brisket, fish, and wild game.
- 2 cups paprika
- 3/4 cup lemon pepper
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup black pepper
- 1/4 cup white pepper
- 1/4 cup onion salt
- 1/4 cup garlic (granulated)
- 1/4 cup chili powder
- Mix all of the ingredients and store the rib seasoning in an airtight container in a cool dark place. It should be good for six months. Store it in a shaker can for easy application when you are ready to barbecue.
- Apply the rub to pork with a shaker right before it goes into the smoker, charcoal grill, gas grill, or oven. Apply the rub evenly over ribs. The general rule is what sticks is the perfect amount.
You will enjoy this rub with any cooking method. While it's unlikely you'll use high heat for ribs, keep in mind that sugar will burn at 265 F (130 C). Because the sugar in the rub mixes with juices from the meat and salt, it doesn't burn quickly. It can take high temperatures for a short time, but not for an extended time. You can cook your ribs "low and slow" and then turn up the heat at the end to caramelize the sugar and form a tasty crust on the surface.
At Peg Leg Porker, they make baby back ribs Memphis-style. First, they are marinated overnight in a marinade that includes rib rub (without the brown sugar), apple cider vinegar, apple juice, and cola. They like to smoke the ribs over hickory. While most cooking methods for pork ribs start with the raw meat in the smoker, grill, or oven, they brown the ribs with a sear over direct heat, then cook with indirect heat, basting them with the marinade every half hour. To produce their famous dry ribs, they use the last 10 minutes to baste with marinade and dust the ribs with the dry rub and brown sugar. To make wet ribs, in the last 10 minutes they baste the ribs with their tomato-based Memphis wet sauce.