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Dry rub recipes for pork?

After spending over an hour mixing and tasting spices the other , I was feeling a little unsettled. What are your best spice rub concoctions that don't include pre-mixed or store-bought mixtures? Not to be snobbish, but it seems like cheating to start with a prepared rub and add pepper.

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  1. I like the New Best Recipe generic barbecue rub. It's great on ribs and chicken. I imagine it would also be great on a pork shoulder or brisket. Substitute to taste, of course.
    3T sweet paprika
    2T chili powder
    2T ground cumin
    2T dk br sugar
    2T salt
    1T dried oregano
    1T sugar
    1T black pepper
    1T white pepper
    1-2 tsp cayenne or chipotle

    1 Reply
    1. re: birddog

      This is a lot like my own recipe, but I use a higher ratio of salt& sugar, plus some ground coriander and garlic. For fish, I substitute some of the cayenne and cumin with ground fennel seeds. It's fun to experiment with different blends, and then gift them in small jars for friends who rave about them.

    2. The new edition of Joy of Cooking has a delicious Southern Barbecue rub -- and tons of other good ones. The bbq is my favorite - I made pulled pork w/ it for the superbowl and have gotten at least 1 request a week to make it again.

      1. My favorite is super simple:

        # 1/2 cup salt
        # 1/4 cup pepper
        # 1 Tbsp garlic powder
        # 1 Tbsp oregano
        # 1 Tbsp celery seed
        # 1 Tbsp paprika
        # 1 Tbsp chile powder

        I adjust the chile powder to taste....

        1. I'm a minimalist. I put a tsp of rosemary in my spice grinder with a tsp of sea salt and half a tsp of pepper corns, grind it to a powder, and use that as a rub for roast pork loin. Rub it in well, let rest half an hour, brush with olive oil, roast til done but not overdone - pork should be juicy, imo.

          1. I see some of the previous replies include chili powder in their ingredient lists. I advise not using commercial chili powder because it usually contains salt as the first ingredient in the label list as well as cumin and Mediterranean oregano (as opposed to Mexican oregano). Get some ground chile like cayenne as some replies include.

            There are some mail-order sources of ground chiles if you cannot find any in your vicinity. The product should be of one or more chile variety source(s). No other additives.

            1. As a point of order, in the recipe I listed, it is important to get ChilE powder (not chili powder). Dried red pepper will work, as will cayenne. Important point, ChiliDude.

              3 Replies
              1. re: cussbucket

                Not all people are as well versed in the vernacular of chileheads as are you and I. It is important to differentiate between the words 'chili' and 'chile.'

                There are so many messed up spellings and misuses used to refer to the fiery pods that definition is necessary. I was not casting an aspersion upon any one citation.

                BTW, a friend of mine gave me a few bottles of that highly recommended old-time chili powder originally made by a Texan of German heritage. The stuff has no pungency. I use it only for color as if it was just sweet paprika. The bland stuff is now made by a large food conglomerate. I can't fathom why people tout the stuff so heavily.

                1. re: ChiliDude

                  My mistake. In my response to OP (from the New Best Recipe), I did mean "chile powder." I usually use ground Ancho or Chimayo as my chile of choice in this rub. It's interesting, though, that on my container of Penzey's ground Ancho, it says, "Ancho Chili Pepper."

                2. re: cussbucket

                  rrrrr. So what do you use, Two Tablespoons of Chili powder or Chile power?

                3. Julia Child has a great pork rub in How To Cook. Can't cite you to the page right now because I'm at work, but you can look it up in the index.

                  1. If you are using the term" rub",I assume you are talking about long cooking pork products?

                    The general thought is that you would balance salt with sweet.

                    A little back heat is usually acceptable.

                    Some folks think a blend of red,black,and white pepper activates all three areas of heat sensors.

                    You can make a little,like you were going to season a pork chop on your plate,and taste it on your finger.

                    Adjust the balance that you like.

                    You may want to add a signature ingredient,while granulated garlic and onion are staples.

                    If you are trying to build "bark",you would add more sugar.

                    If you are cooking a long time,or at slightly elevated cooker temps,you might use Turbinado sugar.

                    It scorches at a higher temp than regular sugars.

                    Hope this helps a little.


                    1. Thanks for the responses.

                      I am looking to create a signature rub for slow-cooked (230F) bbq'ed ribs and shoulder. I do like them to develop a bark. I have settled on a marinade that is equal parts soy sauce, lemon juice, lime juice, and cider vinegar. I feel that covers the salty and acidic sides. I look for the rub to cover sweet, earthy, and savoury with things like brown sugar, cumin, garlic, and sage. In the past, I just mixed brown sugar with a light or heavy sprinkle of 5-10 things from my spice rack. I am now trying to create something repeatable because guests seem to like continuity. I like heat, but my kids are 3 and 4.

                      TomFl - thanks for the comments on peppercorns. The mix in my peppermill is based on price: lots of black, less white, even less red.

                      1. I love the Tra Vigne fennel spice rub. I've made it myself and it's fabulous. You can also experiment adding cinnamon and cayenne. http://www.napastyle.com/kitchen/reci...

                        1. Give this one a try :

                          3/4 cup Spanish sweet paprika
                          1/4 cup coarsely ground black pepper
                          1/4 cup salt
                          1/4 cup sugar
                          1/4 cup cocoa powder ( thats right cococa powder )
                          2 tablespoons chili powder
                          2 tablespoons garlic powder
                          2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

                          I have used this on pork butts, reg. pork chops and steaks. I've not tried it on chicken yet.

                          1. Here's my favorite (making it today) though it is not really a rub but ends up a marinade.

                            5-spice powder (any Asian market) - which I season my pork (today it will be pork ribs) liberally and let sit at bit.
                            Then, I add ground ginger, honey, soy sauce, and bake for an hour or so........
                            so tasty!

                            1. here's the one i use. i make it in some quantity and use it for indoor cooking as well as outdoor cooking. i start with fresh bulk spices.

                              Dry Rub

                              General Proportions:

                              Paprika 3
                              Black Pepper 1
                              Salt 1
                              Turbinado or Raw Sugar 1
                              Chile Powder ½
                              Garlic Powder ½
                              Onion Powder ½
                              Cayenne 1/6

                              For About 10 Cups

                              Paprika 4.5C
                              Black P 1.5C
                              Salt 1.5C
                              Sugar 1.5 C
                              Chile 3/4C
                              Garlic 3/4C
                              Onion 3/4C
                              Cayenne ¼ C