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The Best Pork Rub

It’s taken me years to perfect a pork rub that’s got the right balance of flavors, and this, the Best Pork Rub, is a touch sweet, a touch spicy, and packed with flavor. It’s so good on all things pork, and no matter if you’re grilling, smoking, or just baking in your oven, pork is so much happier when it’s coated in this rub.

best pork rub in a glass jar

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Purchased spice blends are expensive, and are often loaded with salt. And, when you consider just how much spice it takes to cover a pork tenderloin, enough chops for the family, or a giant slab of pork for pulled pork, it can be a serious investment.

Make your own instead! Economical and easy to tweak, making your own pork dry rub is the way to go! I’ve tweaked and adjusted this pork rub blend over the years to create a blend that’s well-balanced and that pairs perfectly with the subtle flavors of pork. I call it The Best Pork Rub, and after trying it, I’m convinced you’ll call it that too.

What You Need to Make The Best Pork Rub

  • A small bowl
  • A whisk for mixing
  • Dark brown sugar – see my notes below
  • Chili powder
  • Regular (sweet) paprika
  • Smoked paprika
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Dried thyme
  • Cayenne
  • Salt and pepper

A Note on Brown Sugar

There are several kinds of brown sugar, including both dark and light brown sugar. Brown sugar is made with molasses – dark brown sugar has more added molasses than light brown sugar. If you have it or can get it, be sure to use dark brown sugar in this recipe. This pork rub for smoking and grilling benefits from the balanced sweet/smoky/bitter flavors in the molasses. But, light brown molasses will work in a pinch.

the best pork rub spilling out of a jar

How To Make This Pork Dry Rub

To see a full list of ingredients and instructions, please scroll down to the end of this page.

  1. Put everything into a small bowl and mix well!

The Easiest Pork Dry Rub Recipe

This pork dry rub recipe has a lot of ingredients, but the good news is that it makes about 1/2 a cup which is plenty of pork tenderloin rub, 6-8 chops, and a reasonably-sized pork loin. If you’re looking for a pulled pork rub, you may want to double this recipe.

How To Use Pork Dry Rub

This is a versatile pork rub recipe and can be used in a variety of ways:

  • as a rub for ribs (it’ll coat about two racks of baby back ribs)
  • as a pulled pork rub – pork butt rub or pork shoulder rub
  • as a pork chop rub – boneless or bone-in chops work well!
  • as a pork tenderloin rub
  • as a pork belly rub
  • as general pork seasoning

Simply mix up your rub then pat the meat dry. I like to put the meat into a large bowl and then liberally sprinkle on the rub. Mix it all in, making sure to work the rub into any crevices in the meat. The bowl will catch the extra, making it easy to scoop it up and back onto the meat.

Don’t be afraid if you’ve got a good, thick coat on the meat. That’s flavor, baby!

Discard whatever rub has been left behind. It has been contaminated with raw pork and won’t keep.

pork tenderloin coated in the best pork rub recipe

Chef Jenn’s Tips

  • Make sure your spices are as fresh as fresh can be – fresh spices make all the difference!
  • For a smokier flavor, swap the cayenne for chipotle.
  • Smoked paprika is different than regular paprika and has oodles more flavor. Use both in this recipe.
  • Like it spicier? Double the cayenne!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use pork rub on chicken?

Sure! Pork and chicken are both mild, and while this rub is specially formulated for pork, it will also be delicious on chicken.

Is this a good pork rub for smoking meat?

You bet it is! In fact, it is especially delicious on the smoker! Just make sure you give your pork a good old rub with the spice blend then pop it onto the smoker!

Is this pork rub easy?

You bet it is! Sure, there’s some measuring involved, but there’s no cooking. Just measure, mix, and go!

How do I store dry rub for pork?

Keep the dry pork rub in an airtight container in a dark, cool cupboard for 2-3 months. But, I’m sure you’ll go through it much faster than that! Just be sure to discard any leftover rub that’s come in contact with the pork. That will go rancid if you keep it in the cupboard.

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Step By Step Process

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best pork rub in a glass jar
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2.98 from 36 votes

The Best Pork Rub

With the perfect blend of sweet and spicy, this is the Best Pork Rub for all kinds of pork cuts, and for all kinds of cooking! Smoke, grill, bake, or fry, this rub is so versatile!
Course Sauces / Spices / Dressings
Cuisine American
Keyword dry rub for pork, pork dry rub, pork rub, smoked, spice blend, spices, spices for pork, the best pork rub
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 19kcal


  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablepsoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  • Mix everything in a bowl and enjoy!


Chef Jenn’s Tips

  • Make sure your spices are as fresh as fresh can be – fresh spices make all the difference!
  • For a smokier flavor, swap the cayenne for chipotle.
  • Smoked paprika is different than regular paprika and has oodles more flavor. Use both in this recipe.
  • Like it spicier? Double the cayenne!


Serving: 1tbsp | Calories: 19kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 295mg | Potassium: 48mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 598IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 1mg

A Note on Nutritional Information

Nutritional information for this recipe is provided as a courtesy and is calculated based on available online ingredient information. It is only an approximate value. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site cannot be guaranteed.

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