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Pork Dry Rub

Sweet, salty and a little bit of heat is the perfect basic dry rub for smoking pork.
By November 28, 2018 6 Comments Jump to Recipe
Basic dry rub for pork on parchment paper horizontal

When it comes to a pork dry rub for smoking, there’s nothing fancy that you need to do to get amazing results. This rub is a great balance of sweet with a little bit of spice that goes great with smoked pork. There’s no reason to ever buy a rub that you can make at home for almost free. Just mix up some basic ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry. 

Ingredients for a basic pork rub

Kosher salt, sugar, black pepper, chili powder and smoked paprika are the ingredients in the basic dry rub for pork. 

Other ingredients you can add to the dry rub

Garlic powder, onion powder, ground cumin, and mustard powder can all be great additions to the basic rub. 

Basic dry rub for pork on parchment paper vertical

Customizing a rub to make it your own

The thing with a dry rub is that it’s really hard to mess up. You can add a ton of flavor and balance the flavors of the meat. You can adjust the ingredients and ratios to your taste.

If you like it hotter, add more chili powder; if you like it sweeter, add more sugar. The only thing to worry about is the more sugar you use, the more likely your meat is to burn if you are cooking over direct heat. The amount of salt depends on the size of the meat, so you can keep that separate if it’s easier.

Basic dry rub for pork in a bowl

Making the dry rub couldn’t be easier. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix it up with a whisk, fork or a spoon. That’s it.

Dry rub on pork belly

You don’t want to hide the flavors of good quality meat; you want to enhance it. Since great meat can speak for itself, it’s up to you how much you change the flavor with a dry rub. Adding just enough can enhance and balance everything rather than make it totally taste like the rub as a cover-up. 

Now that you have the rub ready, it’s time to head out to the barbecue to make some smoked pork belly

How to store dry rub

Store the dry rub in a sealed container in a cool dry place. Moisture is the enemy and will cause clumping. 

There are tons of container options out there. These basic shaker containers (affiliate link) are great, but you can even make your own by using a mason jar and drilling holes in the top.

The dry rub could probably stay good for years, but it’s best to use it within 6 months because of the brown sugar and to keep the spices fresh.

Basic dry rub for pork on parchment paper horizontal

Pork Dry Rub

5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 3 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon dark chili powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon Ground black pepper


  • Combine all ingredients with a whisk or a fork.
  • Use immediately or store to use later. 


  • Makes about 3/4 cup dry rub, which is more than enough for a 2-pound pork belly.
  • Store in a sealed container in a cool, dry place away from light.

Join the discussion 6 Comments

  • Pam R. says:

    Threw this rub together, evenly coated 4 pork shoulder slices with the rub, grilled until nicely browned on both sides and fully cooked. They turned out extremely flavorful, juicy, and tender. We added our favorite BBQ sauce on the side, and it worked to enhance the flavor of the well-seasoned pork. Thank you for a new go-to pork shoulder rub; it’s perfect!

  • Flemming says:

    I use this dry rub for baby back spareribs: paprika, brown sugar, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne and chili powder.
    After 4 hours on the grill at 110 degrees Celsius, I apply a homemade marinade consisting of ketchup, fresh ground chilipeppers, chopped garlic, soy sauce and a little sugar.
    30 mins later, you have the greatest meal!

  • Catherine says:

    Love this rub! I use it on my baby back ribs and cook with the 3-2-1 method (3 hrs smoked at 185, create foil package and coat with honey, brown sugar and apple juice/apple cider cook at 225 for two hours, unwrap coat with barbecue sauce and cook at 225 for another 30 minutes to an hour)… these will fall off the bone… everyone loves them!

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