Want a great way to spruce up the flavor of your pork BBQ? Try a pork rub. Rubs can be complex spice blends or as simple as garlic, salt, paprika, and pepper. They are usually spread on meats before grilling to add robust flavor. Rubs should not overpower your meats and are typically just a blend of mild and strong flavors.

Dry Rubs

Rubs come in bags and shakers. They contain several spices and sometimes sugar mixed together. Most dry rubs contain paprika, chili powder, cumin, garlic, cayenne. You can find some of these rubs in your local grocery store, or make your own pork rub with a little pepper, garlic salt, sugar, and salt. When it is done, just shake or sprinkle your pork rub evenly to coat your meat.

Spices for the pork rub

Wet Rub

Mixing a wet substance like oil or other sauces with your spices makes a “wet rub.” Putting a little olive oil or Worcestershire sauce also helps the spices and herbs stick to your meat. A wet pork rub can also add some moisture to your meat and keep it from sticking on the grill. When you mix your spices with oil or condiments like Worcestershire sauce, make a thick paste and then coat it on the meat evenly.

How Long to Keep the Rub On

Wet rubs are more likely to seep into the meat’s juices than dry rubs. You can leave a dry pork rub on for as little as 30 minutes and then throw it on the grill. While with a wet pork rub, you can have it marinated for a few hours.

How to Cook with a Pork Rub

Dry pork rub is used on meats to get a lot of robust flavor into the meat without having any additional sauces or meats. Although you can always add a glaze or a sauce after the meats have been cooked through, it is not necessary with a dry pork rub.

It is simple to make and use, too. In just a shakes for a few minutes, you will have this terrific aromatic combination of spices ready to be spread all over the pork.

Jay S review - Waco Beef and Pork Processors

Once dry rub is mixed, spread it on a baking sheet or a large bowl, whichever fits the meat you are cooking best. Add meat and generously spread it all over with the pork rub, getting every nook and cranny, while massaging the dry pork rub into the meat.

Refrigerating the meat is not a required step, it just adds so much extra flavor. Rubbed meats can also be cooked immediately if there is little to time to let it sit in the refrigerator.

Barbecued meats and sausages

Tips for Making the Best Pork Rub

  • It is best to mix fresh dry rub right before using it but it can also be prepared ahead of time and used at a later date. 
  • If planning on grilling the meat with dry pork rub on it, it is best to not cook it right over direct heat but off to the side from direct heat. Keep in mind that direct heat will burn the dry rub instead of caramelizing it.

How to Store Your Pork Rub

  • For the best way to keep your pork rub fresh, use a zip-lock freezer bag and store it in the freezer.
  • You can also store your pork rub for up to 6-months in air-tight jar in a cool dark place or in the fridge.
  • Make sure to put the date and label the bag or the jar.

Basic BBQ Pork Rub


  • 1/3 cup paprika
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsps black pepper
  • 2 tbsps salt
  • 2 tsps dry mustard
  • 2 tsps chili powder
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper


  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Work half of the mixture into meat about 12 to 24 hours before grilling or baking.
  3. Apply ​remaining pork rub before smoking.
  4. Store leftover, unused pork rub in an airtight glass jar in a cool, dry place for up to 1 month after preparation. Ensure that no moisture gets into the pork rub before storing.