Pulled Pork Rub

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A smoky, sweet & spicy pulled pork rub that is perfect for smoking pork! You can also use this homemade spice blend for slow cooker pulled pork and other grilled meats.

A close up of pulled pork rub recipe

Pulled Pork Rub Recipe

Last summer we got an electric smoker and I’ve been undeniably hooked on smoked pulled pork ever since. Last fall we played around, testing different rubs and spices for the outside of the pulled pork. This spring we’ll share our top creations with you! To get started…pulled pork rub.

Best Pork Rub

  • I think the best pulled pork rub has to have a good amount of both sweet and spicy. We used dark brown sugar instead of light brown sugar to give it a rich, deep & sweet flavor. You can use light brown if that’s all you have on hand.
  • For spice, we add chili powder, cayenne powder and chipotle chili pepper. You can add a little more of one of these spices if you like more spice, but my family found this to be perfect for all 5 of us.
  • Be sure to use smoked paprika instead of regular paprika. It has a rich smoky flavor that will really add to the pulled pork.

ingredients for pulled pork rub in bowls

Bulk Homemade Spice Mix

This recipe makes about 2 cups of spice mix. We use ⅓ cup of spice to cover the outside of a 10 pound pork shoulder. That means this pulled pork rub recipe should be enough to cover about 6 large pork roasts.

This dry rub is not just for smoked meats….sprinkle it on chicken, steak or pork chops and then grill for an easy, quick flavor.

Rub in Spice Mix or Sprinkle Spice Mix?

I’ve heard people debate on whether to rub in a dry spice mix to the meat or just it on? I’ve never done a side-by-side comparison, but I really find that I don’t have t rub in the spice mix. The meat is generally a little damp which means the spice “sticks” nicely and there is no rubbing needed. You’ll find people on both sides of this question though, so just do whatever you like the taste of best.

uncooked pork roast

How Long Will This Spice Mix Keep?

This homemade spice mix will keep about 1 year if stored in a cool, dry place in an airtight container. Always check the spice rubs before using them. They shouldn’t be clumpy and they should still have a good aroma. If you are looking for a great spice mix container that will keep spices fresh, try these Herb Preserve Jars. They get great reviews!

Side Dishes for Pulled Pork

Looking for a leftover pork recipe? Try these Hawaiian pulled pork sliders.

bowl of smoked pork rub
bowl of smoked pork rub

Pulled Pork Rub

4.66 from 469 votes
A smoky, sweet & spicy pulled pork rub that is perfect for smoking pork! You can also use this homemade spice blend for slow cooker pulled pork and other grilled meats.
Servings 20
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes

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  • 1/2 cup smoked paprika
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons chipotle chili pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard


  • Mix together all of the ingredients in a bowl. 
  • Store in an airtight container.
  • To use, sprinkle a 10 pound pork roast on all sides with ⅓ cup spice rub.
  • This recipe makes about 2 cups of spice rub.  I use about ⅓ cup for a 10 pound roast.



The calories shown are based on the recipe being divided 20 ways, with 1 serving being 1/20 of the recipe. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate.


Calories: 30kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Sodium: 1456mg | Potassium: 110mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1705IU | Vitamin C: 0.5mg | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 1.1mg
Course Condiment
Cuisine American
Calories 30

A smoky, sweet & spicy pulled pork rub that is perfect for smoking pork! You can also use this homemade spice blend for slow cooker pulled pork and other grilled meats.

About JulieJulie Clark

About Julie Clark

I'm Julie Clark, CEO and recipe developer of Tastes of Lizzy T. With my B.A. in Education and over 30 years of cooking and baking, I want to teach YOU the best of our family recipes.

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6 months ago

5 stars
AWESOME! Added this to a butt and fixed the best one I have ever done. REALLY tasty and juicy, thank you!!

8 months ago

5 stars
Thank you for the wonderful rub recipe! Your barbeque sauce recipe is excellent, too; the best I’ve tried. Now I can throw away those other ones!

Large Frank
9 months ago

5 stars
I love this rub

D Atoms
1 year ago

5 stars
This was a perfect rub. I did however substitute the chipotle chili pepper with a habanero powder to give it some more kick. It was a nice touch.

Kath’s Kitchen
1 year ago

5 stars
This recipe is perfect!!! I rubbed it on a 7.25 lb. Boneless Boston Butt, put it in the crockpot at 11 o’clock for 8 hours and it was restaurant worthy! I had the some rub left over so I refrigerated it to use the next time. Thank you Lizzy T! I’ve search and used other recipes but this is the best! Sweet, smokey, savory and tender, a family and friends favorite! Delicious!

Mitchell Milligan
2 years ago

That is a lot of smoked paprika! I would switch it with the brown sugar in ratio.