Lean and Mean Dry Rub for Pulled Pork Recipe

[Photograph: Vicky Wasik]

This dry rub keeps things simple, with a heavy dose of black pepper and just a few additional spices for depth, like fruity sweet paprika, citrusy coriander seed, and aromatic onion and garlic powders.

This recipe does not include salt, since we prefer to dry-brine the meat separately with plenty of salt, but feel free to add a half cup kosher salt, or salt to taste. This recipe makes enough for one Boston butt pork shoulder.

Why It Works

  • Brown sugar adds warm sweetness to balance out the heat of black pepper.
  • Salt is omitted from this barbecue rub to allow for dry-brining, though you can add salt to taste if you like.
  • A relatively short list of ingredients keeps this recipe simple and manageable.
  • Yield:Makes about 1 cup
  • Active time:5 minutes
  • Total time:5 minutes
  • Ingredients

    • 1/3 cup whole black peppercorns (1 3/4 ounces; 50g), coarsely ground
    • 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar (2 1/2 ounces; 70g)
    • 2 tablespoons (15g) sweet paprika
    • 2 tablespoons (6g) whole coriander seed, ground
    • 1 teaspoon onion powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper


    1. 1.

      In a small bowl, stir together all ingredients until thoroughly combined. (You may need to use your fingers to break up small clumps of brown sugar; we recommend wearing a glove if you do this.) Use immediately as needed, or store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

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