Delicious pulled pork is much more than just a slab of meat. The secret to making it amazing lies in the dry rub for pulled pork! If you’re looking for an easy and delicious homemade dry rub that will bring your next meal up a notch, this article is here to help. We’ll cover what makes a great dry rub, as well as some of our favorite recipes for pulled pork. Read on to find out how you can make your own!
A meat rub is a mixture of spices and seasonings applied to the surface of meat before cooking. Rubs are used to add flavor and create a crust on the surface of the meat as it cooks. They are often used together with other cooking methods, such as grilling, smoking, or roasting, to enhance the flavor and texture of meat.
Meat rubs can be made with various ingredients, such as herbs, spices, sugar, salt, and oil. The specific ingredients and proportions used will depend on the desired flavor profile and the type of meat being cooked. Rubs can be dry, in which all of the ingredients are mixed together and applied to the meat in a dry form, or they can be wet, in which some of the ingredients are mixed with a liquid, such as oil or water, to create a paste that is applied to the meat.
Dry rubs can be applied to a variety of meats, including beef, pork, chicken, and lamb. They are often used on larger cuts of meat that are cooked slowly over a long period of time, such as roasts and briskets, as the rub helps to add flavor and create a flavorful crust on the surface of the meat as it cooks.
Many different rubs can be used to add flavor to pulled pork. Some common ingredients that are used in pulled pork rubs include:
- Brown sugar:
Brown sugar is a common ingredient in rubs for pulled pork because it adds sweetness and helps to caramelize the pork as it cooks. The natural molasses in brown sugar also helps to give the pork a rich, savory flavor. When using brown sugar in a rub for pulled pork, it’s essential to be mindful of the amount you use, as too much can make the pork overly sweet. You can also experiment with using other types of sugar, such as white granulated sugar or honey, to give the pork a different flavor profile.
Paprika gives the pork a smoky flavor and a reddish color. Paprika is made from ground red peppers and can range in flavor from sweet and mild to spicy and pungent, depending on the type of peppers used. In addition to adding flavor to the pork, paprika also helps to form a crust on the meat as it cooks, which can add texture and depth of flavor to the finished dish. You can use sweet paprika for a milder flavor or hot paprika for a spicier kick.
- Garlic powder:
Garlic powder adds a savory, garlicky flavor to the meat. Garlic powder is made from dried garlic that has been ground into a fine powder. It can be a convenient and easy way to add garlic flavor to dishes, as it doesn’t require peeling and chopping fresh garlic. You can adjust the amount to suit your taste when using garlic powder in a rub for pulled pork. You can also use fresh garlic in the rub if you prefer, but be aware that it may have a different level of intensity than garlic powder.
- Onion powder:
Onion powder enhances the savory flavor of the meat. Onion powder is made from the dried onion that has been ground into a fine powder. It can be a convenient and easy way to add onion flavor to dishes, as it doesn’t require peeling and chopping fresh onions. You can adjust the amount to suit your taste when using onion powder in a rub for pulled pork. You can also use fresh onions in the rub if you prefer, but be aware that they may have a different level of intensity than onion powder.
- Chili powder:
Chili powder adds a slight heat to the meat. Chili powder is a blend of ground chili peppers and other spices, such as cumin, garlic powder, and oregano. It can vary in heat level, depending on the type of peppers used and the proportions of the other spices. You can adjust the amount to suit your desired heat level when using chili powder in a rub for pulled pork. You can also use other ground chili peppers, such as cayenne pepper or chipotle powder, to give the pork a different level of heat.
Cumin gives the pork a warm, earthy flavor. Cumin is native to the Middle East and is commonly used in a variety of cuisines around the world. It has a strong, slightly bitter flavor and a warm, somewhat sweet aroma. You can adjust the amount to suit your taste when using cumin in a rub for pulled pork. You can also use other spices with a warm, earthy flavor, such as coriander or fennel seeds, to give the pork a different flavor profile.
Salt enhances the other ingredients’ flavor and helps draw moisture out of the pork. Salt is a natural flavor that can help to bring out the flavors of the other ingredients in the rub. It can also help to season the pork and give it a more balanced flavor. When using salt in a rub for pulled pork, it’s essential to be mindful of the amount you use, as too much can make the pork overly salty. You can use different types of salt, such as kosher or sea salt, to give the pork a different flavor profile.
How to make a simple rub for pulled pork:
- Mix 1/4 cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of paprika, 1 tablespoon garlic powder, 1 tablespoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon chili powder, and 1 teaspoon cumin.
- Rub the mixture onto the pork and let it marinate in the fridge for at least 5 or 24 hours.
- Cook the pork using your preferred method (such as in a slow cooker or smoker) until it is tender and easy to shred.
How to apply a dry rub to a pork shoulder:
- Mix the rub ingredients in a small bowl until well combined.
- Place the pork shoulder on a clean work surface.
- Use your hands to rub the dry rub evenly over the surface of the pork shoulder, making sure to get it into all the crevices and corners.
- Place the pork shoulder in a large resealable plastic bag or a covered container.
- Refrigerate the pork shoulder for at least 4 hours, or up to 24 hours, to allow the rub to penetrate the meat and add flavor.
- When you are ready to cook the shoulder, remove it from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature.
- Preheat your grill, smoker, or oven according to your cooking method.
- Place the pork shoulder in the smoker or in the oven and cook it according to your desired method until it is tender and reaches a core temperature of at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Remove the pork shoulder and let it rest for 20-30 minutes before serving. Enjoy!