Dry Rub for Pork: A Flavor Game Changer

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Laura Lynch
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One of the most underrated and effective ways to enhance the other white meat’s taste and texture is by using a Dry Rub For Pork. The right blend of herbs, spices, and seasonings can transform an ordinary pork dish into a culinary masterpiece.

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Pork rub

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Since I’m always cooking pork – both on the grill and in the smoker – I use a lot of this rub. So I like to mix it in a large batch so I can put it in my seasoning shaker and use it whenever needed.

This recipe makes about 2/3 cup of rub. That’s enough to season about 10-15 piece of pork, depending on how liberally you apply it. You can store any leftovers in a seasoning bottle where it will stay free of dirty hands in the kitchen.

What is Dry Rub?

A dry rub is a seasoning mix that consists of a blend of dried herbs, spices, salt, and sometimes sugar. This combination is specifically designed to enhance the flavor of the meat it is applied to. Dry rubs are rubbed into the surface of the meat, creating a flavorful crust when grilled or cooked. Try it on these delicious grilled pork chops.

Why Using a Dry Rub for Pork is a Great Idea

  • Enhances Flavor: A dry rub is an incredible flavor enhancer for pork, creating a perfect balance of sweet, spicy, and savory notes that complement the meat’s natural taste.
  • Improves Texture: The dry rub forms a delicious crust on the surface of the pork when cooked, adding an appealing contrast of textures between the crisp exterior and tender interior.
  • Easy and Economical: Preparing a dry rub is simple, requiring minimal time and effort. Plus, many spices and seasonings can be bought in bulk, making it way more economical to make your own rub than to buy expensive rubs.
  • Versatility: Dry rubs can be customized to match your flavor preferences or to pair with other dishes in your meal. This allows for endless possibilities and the opportunity to get creative in the kitchen.
Pork seasoning on pork ribs

Where to Get Seasonings in Bulk

Since you’re making a large batch of this dry rub (and maybe some of our other dry rubs too), you might want to buy your seasonings in bulk to save money. Buying a small container of seasonings is not the way to go here, because they are too expensive.

I by my bulk seasonings at stores like Win Co, Sprouts, and Whole Foods. Maybe you have a seasoning store near you. Or you can buy them online at places like Penzeys Spices.

Ingredients You Need

All the spices for pork rub in a bowl
  • Paprika – you can use sweet or smoked paprika depending on your preference. It makes up the bulk of the dry rub and adds a beautiful reddish-brown color to the meat.
  • Coarse kosher salt – I use coarse salt so that it holds up to the grilling. Salt is a necessary flavor enhancer, so you want it to be prominent.
  • Brown sugar – Adding brown sugar cuts that sharpness of the other spices and helps to caramelize the exterior of the meat, for a nice crust.
  • Celery seed – Celery adds a lot of depth of flavor that you can’t get from other seasonings. I use celery seed in this rub because it’s more robust than celery salt, but you can use either – though you will need to cut down on the salt if you use celery salt.
  • Ground chipotle pepper – Don’t worry, this won’t add too much heat to your rub because the sugar balances it. It does add a really nice smokiness though.
  • Dried mustard powder – Adds a distinctly tangy flavor.
  • Ground black pepper – I like to use freshly ground black peppercorns, but you can use a blend of peppercorns for more nuanced flavors, if preferred.
  • Granulated garlic – Pairs incredibly well with chicken and adds a ton of savory flavors.
  • Chili powder – I use a mild chili powder to add flavor without much heat, but you can use a hot powder if you like spice.

How to Make Pork Dry Rub

Mix together all of the spices in a bowl. Use it to season your pork. Store the remaining rub in an airtight container until you’re ready to use it. This recipe makes enough to season about 10-15 pieces of pork or about 4 racks of ribs.

Pork rub in a bowl

Keeping the rest of the seasoning in a jar or container will ensure that you don’t touch the rub accidentally with dirty hands in the kitchen. If you touch the rub with your hands while seasoning the chicken, it can easily get contaminated.

Tips for Using Dry Rub on Pork

  • Choose the right cut: Dry rubs work well on various pork cuts, such as chops, ribs, tenderloin, and shoulder. Select a cut that suits your taste and cooking method.
  • Prep the pork: Before applying the rub, pat the meat dry with paper towels to remove any excess moisture. This ensures the rub adheres well to the surface of the pork.
  • Apply the rub generously: Be liberal with your dry rub, making sure to coat the pork evenly. Use your hands to press the rub into the meat, ensuring a good crust forms during cooking.
  • Let it rest: For maximum flavor absorption, let the rubbed pork rest for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours in the refrigerator before cooking. The longer it rests, the more intense the flavors become.
  • Cook it right: Depending on the cut and thickness of the pork, adjust your cooking time and method accordingly. Remember to use a meat thermometer to check for the desired internal temperature to ensure it is cooked to perfection.

How to Store Dry Rub

Store your dry rub in an airtight container in a cool, dark place, such as a cupboard or pantry. This will help maintain its freshness and potency.

Properly stored, most dry rubs will last for up to a year. Make sure to check the expiration date on any store-bought rubs, or keep track of when you made your own rub for best results.

Pork rub in a seasoning shaker

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: How long should dry rub sit on pork?

A: For maximum flavor absorption, let the rubbed pork rest for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours in the refrigerator before cooking. The longer it rests, the more intense the flavors become.

Q: What are some popular dry rub ingredients for pork?

A: Some popular dry rub ingredients for pork include paprika, garlic powder, mustard powder, brown sugar, salt, pepper, chili powder. Oregano and thyme can also be good flavor enhancers. Feel free to mix and match these ingredients or experiment with your own combinations!

Q: How do you get a dry rub to stick to pork?

A: If you sprinkle the pork rub onto the pork and let it sit for a few minutes, it will stick on its own by absorbing into the natural juices in the pork. There’s no need to add olive oil to the pork before adding the rub if you just let it sit for a few minutes.


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Pork rub in a seasoning shaker

Dry Rub For Pork

One of the most underrated and effective ways to enhance the other white meat's taste and texture is by using a Dry Rub For Pork.
5 from 29 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Calories: 183kcal
Author: Laura Lynch


  • 2 tablespoons paprika 18g
  • 2 tablespoons coarse kosher salt 28 g
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar 28g
  • 2 teaspoons celery seed 7g
  • 1 teaspoon ground dried chipotle chili pepper 1g
  • 1 teaspoon dried mustard powder 1g
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper 2g
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic 1g
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder mild 1g


  • Mix together all of the spices in a bowl. Store the rub in an airtight container until ready to use. Makes enough to season 10-15 pieces of pork.


  • Makes 2/3 cup


Calories: 183kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 14044mg | Potassium: 565mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 25g | Vitamin A: 8095IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 161mg | Iron: 6mg

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Pork rub in a seasoning shaker

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