The Ultimate Dry Rub for Pulled Pork

The Ultimate Dry Rub for Pulled Pork

dry rub for pork in a jar

Looking for the ultimate dry rub for pulled pork? This easy-to-make recipe has become one of my family’s favorites! It comes from the kitchen of Annie Campbell, and I first came across it in Reese Witherspoon’s book “Whiskey In a Teacup“. I’ve made it several times this summer for different events and it’s been a hit with family and friends every time!

Any dry rub for pulled pork should have a good balance between spicy and sweet, and the spices used should offer a good counter balance to the sweetness from the sugar. Here I use equal parts salt and brown sugar and then add smoked paprika, ground cumin, espresso powder and minced garlic.

Want a deeper, richer sweetness to your rub? Use dark brown sugar. Light brown sugar works just fine if that’s all you have on hand. Using smoked paprika instead of regular adds a rich smoky flavor that really enhances the pork.

Feel free to add a little more (or less) of any one of these spices according to your taste. If you’re having trouble finding the espresso powder, I found it on Amazon.

(This post contains affiliate links and I may earn a small commission if you click on the link and buy the product at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon affiliate I earn from qualifying purchases. You can read my full disclaimer here.)

Making the Dry Rub for Pulled Pork


  • 1/3 cup salt
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. smoked paprika
  • 2 tsps. ground cumin seeds
  • 2 tsps. espresso powder
  • 3 cloves minced garlic (you can use garlic powder instead – 1/8 tsp. per clove of garlic)


In a small bowl, combine the salt, brown sugar, paprika, ground cumin seeds, espresso powder and minced garlic.

Rub the mixture all over the pork and then wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight or up to 24 hours.

No need to rinse or wipe the rub off the meat before cooking.

This recipe makes enough dry rub for a 5 lb. pork shoulder roast. If you’re using a smaller piece of meat, simply store any left over rub in an airtight container and use within 30 days.

For ingredients and directions on how to make the pulled pork, check out my post “Father’s Day Recipes Dad Will Love“. And be sure to leave a comment if you make it!

ingredients for dry rub
Kris Slaboszewski

Kris Slaboszewski

Avid lover of all things in the kitchen (cooking, baking, eating, etc.), dogs and travel. While I do not consider myself to be an expert in any of these categories, I am excited to share my own experiences and stories with you!

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