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Homemade Pulled Pork Rub

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Homemade Pulled Pork Rub is amazing on any smoked or barbecue pork dish! See the recipe here.

BBQ Pork Rub

Homemade Pulled Pork Rub

For several years now, we've smoked a pork shoulder for dinner occasionally! We started buying this cut of meat a while back since it's inexpensive and of course feeds a lot of people.

Some may argue that a pork shoulder isn't a good cut of meat for barbecue, but honestly I beg to differ! It's all in the rub you're using, and how thoroughly it's cooked! Give this Homemade Pulled Pork Rub a try for your next game day meal.

Why spend money on store-bought spice rubs when you can make your own for so much cheaper?!?  AND, when you make your own you can also know exactly what is going in to it and can even decide to use Organic if desired! I love using organic spices when I can. This recipe was submitted by my father – in -law who loves to grill. You could even use this rub on an indoor George Foreman Grill if you live in an apartment or even your slow cooker.

Whip up a batch of this delicious Spice Rub and keep it on hand for all of your summer BBQ needs! You could also try our Sweet Baked Beans Recipe for a side dish. Nice thing about this rub is that it's easy to tweak. For example if I'm making pulled pork tacos I might add 1/4 tsp of cumin. If I'm doing ribs I might add 1/4 tsp of cinnamon or cocoa powder. I have been know to add all those at once! You can easily adjust it to fit your tastes.

Homemade Pulled Pork Seasoning Bowl

Make It:

This pork rub has all the usual elements… you need some sweet and spicy of course! 

I will double or triple a batch to be able to keep this in the pantry, ready to go.  One recipe should cover one pork shoulder or 1-2 racks of ribs.

Homemade Pulled Pork Seasoning Mix 2

Mix the rub well and pour via kitchen funnel into a mason jar. Don't forget to label the top!!I have to say, I am really bad at skipping on the label. I always think I will recognize it by the smell or just where I put it. Nope! I tend to forget. If you get several DIY mixes and line them up together in the kitchen, chances are eventually they will get mixed up. Save yourself the trouble by labeling. I will usually just write on the top of the mason jar with a sharpie, but you can find some  decorative labels here.

Homemade Pulled Pork Seasoning Jar

To Use Your Homemade Pulled Pork Rub:

Scroll down to the recipe below for full instructions, but basically you will pat dry, add olive oil or yellow mustard, and then cover in the prepared rub. I've also tried using mayonnaise, but pork shoulders have a lot of fat already and I feel like they don't need any more added oils!

I use a large dish like a 9×13 Pyrex dish, so it keeps the mess to a minimum. Insert Temperature Probe into meat after it's seasoned.

I try to prepare the pork shoulder the night before, so it's ready to go on the smoker the next morning. 

Smoked Pulled Pork

Smoking the Pork with Homemade Pulled Pork Rub

The rub will become the “bark” on the outside of your pork shoulder. This is what gives it all the flavor, so be sure all areas of the meat are covered.

Next, smoke with fat cap up on the Komado Smoker or Electric Smoker until internal temp reaches 195-200 degrees. The closer to 200 the better. This may take anywhere from 12-16 hours, so be patient! Depending on when you need the meat ready, you may have to start it in the smoker very early in the morning, or even the day before.

I'm not a pork expert by any means, but just after making dozens of these over the years, I know it's best if the internal temp reaches at least 198. The temp goes up a couple degrees as the meat rests.

While cooking, the meat can “stall” its temp around 165-167 degrees F. At this point we wrap it in foil tightly. 

When you remove the pork from the smoker be careful, since a lot of the fats have broken down at this point and the meat is softer. Use heat-resistant gloves or a good grilling set of tongs so it doesn't fall apart!

Our Experience with Smokers:

I think the Komado gives meat an amazing flavor.  It's a charcoal smoker, so also doubles as a grill if you only have it in the budget (or limited space on the patio) for one thing. Preheat your smoker using the upper and lower vents, and then set your pork inside.  The nice thing about the Komado is that you don't have to mess with a water pan or adjusting it frequently.  You do have to monitor your temperature well to keep it from overheating or cooling off over time.

We add more wood chips a few hours into smoking it, but that's optional. We try to keep the smoker hovering around 240 degrees.

Note: This is not a sponsored post in any way but we also love the Smokin-It electric smoker. We've had ours for several years and use it weekly on average.  Check it it out here. (from CQ Team)

Preparing the Pork:

Print your recipe for all details but you will basically let the meat rest and then shred it using meat claws, two forks, or just your hands. Be sure to use a nice wide cutting board

That's it! You can add some of the drippings back into it, or just leave without any sauce.

We like to add our own BBQ sauce later. Serve with slaw, veggies, on sandwiches and more!

Homemade Pork Rub and Pulled Pork

Homemade Pulled Pork Seasoning Jar Featured

This easy pork rub will have you wanting to make barbecue at home!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes


  • 4 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon Ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp of cumin (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp of cinnamon (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp of cocoa powder (optional)
  • -----
  • 1 Pork Shoulder, bone-in preferred
  • 2 TBSP Yellow Mustard


    Mix dry rub according to recipe. Seal and label.


Instructions For Pulled Pork:

    Take the pork shoulder and pat dry in a shallow dish or large cutting board.

    Put the pork shoulder in the dish and coat with about 1-2 Tbsp of yellow mustard. You can alternately use olive oil or Mayonnaise.

    Next, use about 1/4 cup of your rub to gently shake over the pork shoulder on the top and sides. Before you flip over the meat, "rub" the seasoning into the pork.

    Insert Internal Temp Thermometer for Smoker.

    The mustard coating will hold it on, and then you can flip over and coat the other side. Some of it will come off into the 9x13 pan, but you can just pick it up and rub onto any sides that need more rub.

    Smoke at about 240 for 12-14 hours with preferred chips., until internal meat temp is 198-200 degrees F.

    If meat stops climbing in temp for longer than 20-30 minutes, consider wrapping in foil tightly. You can remove the pork shoulder from the smoker breifly to wrap, or just cover well. Close the smoker and let the meat continue cooking.

    After meat reaches desired temp, remove and make sure it's wrapped tightly in foil. Let rest 30 minutes.

    Shred into small bits, that can be stacked on a sandwich. Mix to allow bark to be evenly distributed through pulled pork mixture.

    If desired, add back in meat drippings from inside of the foil, or 1-2 TBSP preferred barbecue sauce.

    Serve immediately or cover and keep warm in a slow cooker, Instant Pot, or Stoneware dish.

    Refrigerate after 2-3 hours/and any leftovers.


This dry rub can be also used for Pork Ribs, BBQ Pork Chops, Pork Loin, and More!

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment if you love this recipe!

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