Top 10 Pulled Pork Rub Recipes

Add great flavor to your pork with these seasoning mixtures

Claire Cohen

When smoking large cuts of pork you want to maximize the flavor. Since these roasts have a lot of meat compared to its surface area, it is important to make the most of the rub. This means working the rub—as much as the piece of pork will hold—into the meat. If you like, you can take this BBQ rub to the next level by mixing a tablespoon to 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 cup of vinegar (any kind you like) to create an injection solution to tenderize, flavor, and moisten the meat. You can also add a...MORE tablespoon of the rub to a cup of apple juice and spray it onto the meat while it is smoking.

  • 01 of 10
    A Carolina BBQ Rub
    Claire Cohen

    Salt, sugar, and spice are the foundations of the perfect pork rub. This quick and easy Carolina-style rub has the perfect proportions to give you the right level of salt for the sweet and the heat to make the most of you smoked pork. This recipe makes a small batch, perfect for a single pork butt, so you might want to make several batches to keep on hand. This is one rub you will use a lot.

  • 02 of 10
    Best Odds Pulled Pork Rub
    Claire Cohen

    This is a basic but traditional pulled pork rub that will give you the best odds for making a great batch of barbecue pulled pork. It sounds like it contains a lot of black pepper, but don't worry—that flavor will mellow while smoking. Add to it a good dose of brown sugar and you have that balance of flavor that is perfect for a long smoke. This is a good rub for the beginner and can easily be adapted to your needs as you gain experience.

  • 03 of 10
    Memphis Rub
    Claire Cohen

    In Memphis, the rub is the most important ingredient aside from the meat. Since Memphis barbecue doesn't rely on barbecue sauce as much as other barbecue traditions do, this rub is loaded with flavor to make the most of smoked pork, whether you are going to be adding sauce later or not. Another way of thinking about it is that that natural juices of the meat join with the rub to make a sauce-like surface on the pork.

  • 04 of 10
    Basic Pork Rub
    Claire Cohen

    Different types of heat hit the tongue in different places. This basic, but flavorful, pork rub has the perfect combination of black, white, and red pepper to give you the complete heat profile. Add to this some paprika for color, as well as sugar and salt to fill out the flavors, and you have a great rub that works all by itself, or serves as the starting point for your own ​best pulled pork rub recipe.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10
    Magic Dust
    Claire Cohen

    Owner of Illinois barbecue restaurants Mike Mills wishes he could attach the bottles of his signature spice mix to the tables to prevent them from being stolen. And once you taste this rub you will see why it is a customer favorite. If you prefer it a little more hot and spicy, though, you can increase the mustard powder and black pepper to 1/4 cup each.

  • 06 of 10
    Hog Rub
    Claire Cohen

    In the old days, if there was a reason for a barbecue, there was plenty of reason to cook up a whole hog—or several whole hogs. This basic, mild pork rub is perfect for any cut of meat you choose to smoke. You can add to the heat by using a ​hot chili powder instead of the mild one called for in this recipe.

  • 07 of 10
    Chef Paul's Chikky Rub
    Claire Cohen

    Most pulled pork rubs keep it simple and stay close to the basics of sugar, salt, and heat. But this barbecue rub adds a great dose of herbs that give pork a more savory and subtle flavor, taking your pulled pork to the next level. If you intend to use a sauce, add some of this rub to it to continue with the flavors.

  • 08 of 10
    Heavy on the Garlic Pork Rub
    Claire Cohen

    This rub is mostly garlic so, for you garlic lovers, this is a great recipe. Try to mince the garlic as fine as possible and work it well into the meat. This is also a great base rub recipe to which you can add more ingredients to make it even more flavorful.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10
    Mustard Rub
    Claire Cohen

    One strategy with barbecue is to apply a light coating of prepared mustard to the meat before you apply the rub. This helps the rub stick better and adds a hint of mustard that is so good on smoked pork. This rub takes it to the next level by mixing the spice rub right into the mustard, giving a perfect way to stick the rub to the meat. This also makes it easier to add a thick coating of the rub if that is your goal.

  • 10 of 10
    Chipotle Dry Rub
    Claire Cohen

    This rub has that earthy, smoky flavor of Chipotle peppers as well as some savory herbs that give it a great Southwestern twist. This is a perfect way to make a truly unique pulled pork.

    You can make your own chili powder by grinding dried chilies in a blender, food processor, or coffee grinder. Be careful, though, the dust can burn your lungs and sinuses. I usually do this process on the back porch, standing upwind of the grinder.