Pork Rub – Ultimate Dry Rub For Chicken & Pork
May 19, 2023, Updated Jan 23, 2024
A fantastic homemade dry rub that’s great on Pork and Chicken. We use this Pork Rub for ribs all the time and is great for other low and slow cooking, like grilled or smoked chicken or any smoked meats.
This homemade dry rub builds upon our our basic rub and adds more complexity and flavors to really provide a wow factor to your next BBQ pork recipe.
I call this “The Ultimate” dry rub because it’s truly the rub we use on most pork dishes to enhance the smoky flavor. We’ve served it to hundreds of guests at events for our catering company, and have sold packaged versions to tons of happy customers. It’s also an incredibly popular recipe on the internet with millions of views.
This recipe also works great for chicken (as long as you’re cooking your chicken low and slow.
Table of Contents
Ingredients For A Dry Rub
- Brown Sugar – We prefer dark brown sugar for the richer flavor but you an use light brown sugar as well. Cane sugar just adds sweet versus the deeper flavor of the molasses.
- Kosher Salt
- Smoked Paprika
- Coarse Black Pepper
- Onion Powder
- Garlic Powder
- Cayenne Pepper
We use a 1:1 ratio of Sugar to Everything Else.
What do I mean by that?
- We take one part sugar (in this case use one cup to keep it simple).
- Then take one part (one cup) and fill it with the other spices.
How To Make A Homemade Dry Rub
Making a homemade dry rub is as easy as gathering ingredients and mixing them together. That’s it!
- In a large bowl combine all ingredients. Use a fork to break up any clumping and mix to combine.
- You can use it right away or store the spice blend in an airtight container in a cool dry dark cupboard for up to six months. If you see clumping you can just shake the jar or break it up with a fork. We prefer glass mason jars with tight-fitting lids.
How To Use This Pork Rub
This seasoning is perfect for any Smoked or BBQ Recipes and provides a nice flavor from the sugar as it caramelizes. It’s also great in the oven for pork roasts. We do not recommend this for any grilled recipes (i.e. high-heat grilling) because sugar can burn and turn bitter when cooked over high direct heat. But it’s perfect for low and slow, and even oven-cooked recipes.
When applying this pork rub start with some type of liquid binder to help it stick. We use olive oil, beef or chicken stock, mustard, or Worcestershire. Place the binder on your meat and then use your hands from 8 inches in height and liberally season pork or chicken.
How Long Should Meat Marinate In The Rub
Liberally apply the dry rub to the meat or vegetables so it’s completely coated for at least an hour before cooking when possible. You can add more flavor if you season the day before cooking. But honestly, if all you have is 10 minutes between seasoning your meat and cooking it, it will still be delicious!
If you’re new to making spice blends, I suggest you start there, then come here for this, more advanced, recipe.
In that post, we lay out the components of a good simple dry rub and why our ratio works.
Now, EVERY single BBQ pro, chef, home cook, writer, grill master, pit master, you name it… will have their own take on a good dry rub. What it comes down to is finding a flavor profile that works for YOU.
Here’s a quick recap of what I mean.
To summarize our previous article on dry rubs we always keep the three S’s in mind: Sweet, Savory, Spice (aka heat)
- Sweet: what we start with. Dark brown sugar (or light brown), cane or turbinado. This will help to create a caramelized crusty exterior (bark). To balance the sugar, this is where the savory comes in.
- Savory: things like salt, onion powder, garlic powder, dry mustard, chili powder (which is simply a blend of dried chilies), cumin, paprika, celery salt, and more.
- Spice: cayenne pepper, red chili flakes, or dried chipotle. Add these slowly (like 1 teaspoon or tablespoon at a time).
Don’t be nervous about adding spice! This will help balance the sugar (I promise!).
That basic dry rub recipe is quite simple (there’s only 4 ingredients in it). If you’re ready to do something with a little more flavor and punch we’ve got this one for you.
A Note About Salt
We get feedback across the board about salt. Salt is a very subjective taste. Also, the specific kind and brand of salt in your pantry matters when making dry rubs. We use Diamond Crystal or Jacobsen kosher salt. We do not use iodized table salt and we recommend that you don’t either. Salt will be of different weights, even among kosher varieties. So no two salt companies will measure the same.
You have permission to adjust based on the type of salt you have, and we encourage kosher salt.
You cannot remove salt, so go light on the salt portions first, if you are sensitive to salt, and then add based upon your taste. If you add too much, the best offset to salt is dark brown sugar or increasing the batch size (minus the salt).
How To Store Homemade Dry Rub
This recipe will yield just over 2 cups of dry rub. Keep this stored in an air-tight container in the pantry (or cool, dry, and dark location) and use it throughout the summer on your favorite pork recipes.
You don’t want direct sunlight to hit the glass. This causes any moisture in the spice blend to activate and condensate, which hardens the seasoning.
Try This Ultimate Homemade Pork Rub On:
This spice blend is great on pork roasts or any piece of meat you plan to smoke low and slow. We don’t use this on beef because of the sugar.
- Pork Belly Burnt Ends – Cut the piece of meat into small cubes and season liberally with the dry rub.
- Smoked 321 Ribs – This is fantastic on any kind of pork ribs.
- Smoked Pork Butt – This is our go-to as a pulled pork rub.
- Smoked Whole Chicken – Not only does this give great flavor to chicken, it gives it a gorgeous color to smoked chicken too.
Mary (a certified sommelier and recipe developer) and Sean (backyard pitmaster) are co-authors of the critically acclaimed cookbook, Fire + Wine, and have been creating content for the IACP nominated website Vindulge since 2009. They live in Oregon on a farm just outside Portland.
Now on 2nd edition
Fire + Wine Cookbook
“This book is a one-stop guide for anyone truly interested in elevating their BBQ experience into a culinary work of art.”
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This recipe was originally published in June 2018, and republished in 2023 with updated photos. The original recipe remains the same.
Pork Rub – Ultimate Dry Rub for Chicken & Pork
- 8 – 12-ounce mason jars. For storing longer term.
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ½ cup kosher salt, (we use Diamond Crystal kosher salt)
- ¼ cup smoked paprika
- 2 tablespoons coarse black pepper
- ½ tablespoon cumin
- ½ tablespoon onion powder
- ½ tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Mix Ingredients: In a large bowl combine all ingredients. Use a fork to break up any clumping and mix to combine.
- Use or Store: Use it right away or store the pork rub in an airtight container in a cool, dry, and dark cupboard for up to six months. If you see clumping you can just shake the jar or break it up with a fork. We prefer glass mason jars with tight-fitting lids.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.