The BEST Pork Dry Rub Recipe for Ribs, Chops & More!

This easy Pork Dry Rub recipe is perfect for any cut of pork! Crafted with brown sugar and a blend of savory, smoky, and warming spices, the rub forms a delectable crust on the outside while infusing the meat with rich, mouthwatering flavors.

Whether you’re cooking up some pork chops, pork tenderloin, or pork butt, you can guarantee the meat is going to taste delicious. But when you want to take those natural flavors above and beyond, a pork dry rub is necessary!

Luckily, this simple 7-ingredient pork dry rub recipe has you covered. It combines everyday sweet, smoky, and savory spices before the mix is rubbed onto the pork cut of your choice. Grill, air fry, bake, or slow cook your generously seasoned pork and dig into the flavorful, crispy bites! 

What is a dry rub?

A dry rub is basically a flavorful mix of spices, herbs, and other goodies. It’s sprinkled and massaged onto the outside of the meat of your choice before cooking to enhance the flavor and texture.

Unlike wet marinades, dry rubs form a tasty crust on the surface of the meat while tenderizing and infusing the inside with layers of flavor. They’re easy to make, and the secret to THE BEST grilled steak, chicken, smoked beef brisket, pulled pork, turkey legs, pork belly, and beyond! 

Ingredients for pork dry rub labeled on small plate.

Ingredients needed

  • Brown sugar – The caramel-like sweetness helps balance out the savory and salty flavors in the rub. It also caramelizes during cooking, creating a delicious crust around the edges.
  • Garlic powder and onion powder – I use this duo in most of my dry rubs, as they add a foundation of rich, savory flavor. 
  • Chili powder – For a kick of heat! Depending on the type of chili powder used (e.g., mild, medium, or hot), you can adjust the level of spiciness to suit your tastes. 
  • Paprika – Regular or sweet paprika is just fine. If you’d prefer your pork to taste like Texas-style barbecue, opt for smoked paprika instead. 
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper – The larger granules in kosher salt (or sea salt) act as a natural meat tenderizer and flavor booster. Bold black pepper elevates the overall flavor of the rub.

How to make the best dry rub for pork 

Simply whisk the spices together in a small bowl, then you’re done! 

You can use the rub immediately or store it in an airtight container at room temperature for later. 

Pork rub in bowl with whisk.

How to apply dry rub to pork

Remember to pat the pork dry with paper towels before using the pork rub seasoning. Sprinkle the rub all over the surface and use clean hands to massage the spices into the meat. 

Let the seasoned pork sit for at least 30 minutes on the kitchen counter or for a few hours in the refrigerator so it can soak in the flavors of the rub. 

Before cooking, pull the pork from the fridge and place it on the counter for 20 to 30 minutes so it can come down to room temperature. Afterward, grill, smoke, roast, or slow cook the pork and enjoy!

Pork chops coated with dry rub.

Tips and tricks

  • Feel free to play around with the rations of the spices to find a flavor balance that works for you. Use more sugar for a sweeter flavor, chili powder or paprika for smokiness, garlic or onion powder for savoriness, etc.
  • You can also add more spices to this blend if you want. Consider adding cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes for a spicy kick; cumin, mustard powder, or ground ginger for extra warmth; or dried thyme, rosemary, or oregano for an herbaceous touch. 
  • This recipe makes enough dry rub to season 4 large pork chops, a large pork shoulder, or two racks of pork ribs. Add a liberal amount to whichever cut you decide—your tastebuds will thank you!

Ways to use pork dry rub

The hardest part about working with a dry rub is deciding what cut of pork to use it with first. It pretty much works with any cut of pork, such as: 

Also, this dry rub isn’t just a one-meat wonder. You can also use it to season chicken wings, beef brisket, salmon filets, lamb chops, ribeye, tri tip, flank steak, and more!

Grilled pork chops that have been coated in dry rub.

FAQs

What seasonings go well with pork?

Pork pairs wonderfully with lots of seasonings, like garlic powder, curry, cardamom, dry herbs, onion powder, paprika, cumin, star anise, ginger, cayenne, and much more. Experiment with the herbs and spices you have on hand to find your taste buds’ perfect combination.

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

Clean and dry pork is critical for sticking. First, pat the pork dry with paper towels, then massage the dry rub into the meat, making sure to get into every nook and cranny. You can also apply a binder, like a thin layer of mustard or a drizzle of olive oil, before applying the dry rub to help it stick. 

How long should dry rub sit on pork?

30 minutes to 1 hour is enough time for the dry rub to work its magic. However, if you have the time, leaving it in the fridge for a few hours or even overnight to marinate takes the flavor to a whole new level.

How long can you leave the dry rub on the pork before cooking?

For the most developed flavors, marinate the seasoned pork for up to 24 hours before cooking. Remember to keep the pork covered and in the fridge if you’re marinating it for longer than 30 minutes.

Can I omit the brown sugar?

Yes, you can omit the sugar if you prefer a less sweet flavor profile or prefer a pork dry rub with no sugar. The pork won’t have a crunchy caramelized crust without it, though. 

Storing

Place the homemade pork chop dry rub in an airtight container or a sealed ziplock bag. Keep it in a cool, dark place (like your pantry or cupboard) to keep it fresh for up to 6 months. 

Close up of dry rub in bowl with teaspoon.

More homemade dry rub recipes

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Close up of dry rub in bowl with teaspoon.

Pork Dry Rub

This easy Pork Dry Rub recipe is perfect for any cut of pork! Crafted with brown sugar and a blend of savory, smoky, and warming spices, the rub forms a delectable crust on the outside while infusing the meat with rich, mouthwatering flavors.
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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 Tablespoon onion powder
  • ½ Tablespoon chili powder
  • ½ Tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper

Instructions

  • Prepare the dry rub by whisking together all the spices in a small bowl.
  • Season your pork chops (or pork tenderloin, pork ribs, or pork shoulder) on all sides with the dry rub.
  • For the most flavor, let the rub marinate on the meat for at least 1 hour (and up to 12 hours) in the refrigerator before cooking.

Notes

Recipe makes enough rub to season 4 large pork chops, or a large pork shoulder or two racks of pork ribs.
Did you make this recipe?Mention @platingsandpairings or tag #platingsandpairings!

Equipment

Small Bowl

Nutrition

Calories: 173kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Sodium: 4736mg | Potassium: 408mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 25g | Vitamin A: 2932IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 95mg | Iron: 3mg

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