Lean and Mean Dry Rub for Pulled Pork Recipe

Made from just a handful of ingredients, this rub packs layers of flavor.

Vicky Wasik

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.

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 seeds, 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.

July 2019

Recipe Facts

Active: 5 mins
Total: 5 mins
Makes: 1 cup

Rate & Comment


  • 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 seeds, ground
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  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.

Special Equipment

Spice grinder

Make-Ahead and Storage

The dry rub can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to five days.

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