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Carolina Pulled Pork Rub

If you are looking for a simple and fantastic Carolina pulled pork rub, then look no further! This recipe is quick and easy but packs a nice punch. You can alter the amount of cayenne used in this recipe to suit your needs.

Considered the oldest form of barbecue in the United States, Carolina barbecue is centered around pulled pork and whole hog cooking. This barbecue style starts with a simple rub. Then, the meat is cooked for a long time over low heat and coated in a vinegar mop or spritz. Once cooked, the meat is pulled or chopped and served.

What you’ll need for Carolina pulled pork rub:

  • White sugar
  • Black pepper
  • Chili powder mild
  • Sea salt
  • Mustard powder
  • Cayenne
applying rub

Making and using the rub:

Place all the ingredients into a medium-sized bowl and whisk together. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in a cupboard for future use.

How much Carolina pulled pork rub do I need?

Aim for 1 tablespoon of rub per pound of meat. This means that if you need to season an 8-9 pound bone-in pork roast, you will need roughly 1/2-2/3 cup of rub.

To use:
Some folks like to apply a thin layer of yellow mustard onto their pork shoulders before applying the rub. I do this half of the time, but it depends on the rub I’m using and the flavor profile I’m after. So, do what works best for you!
You can apply the rub by hand, as pictured above, or transfer the rub to a large metal shaker and apply it that way. Then cook your pork as directed.

Double or triple this recipe if you plan to make more than one pork shoulder or a small whole hog.

Want to make your pulled pork better? Try these pork marinade injection recipes:

This is a fantastic Carolina-inspired pulled pork spice rub. It’s quick and easy but packs a punch.  Alter the amount of cayenne used in this recipe to suit your needs. Then amp it up for spice lovers and tone it down for others.  The choice is yours.

Carolina Pulled Pork Rub

Carolina Pulled Pork Rub

5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Rubs
Cuisine: American BBQ
Keyword: pork rub, pulled pork, pulled pork rub
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 90kcal


  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup fine ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup chili powder mild
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon mustard powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne


  • Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and apply to pork roast. Cook as directed.
  • This recipe makes enough for 1 large roast. Double or triple this recipe for multiple cooks or a larger cookout. If making ahead of time, store this pulled pork rub in an air tight container in the cupboard for up to 6 months. Rub works great in injection marinades.


Photo by: Sabrina Baksh


Calories: 90kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 0.4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1908mg | Potassium: 338mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 3133IU | Vitamin C: 0.4mg | Calcium: 80mg | Iron: 3mg

Not the Pulled Pork Rub you were looking for? Try looking at my list of the Best Pulled Pork Rub Recipes!

Derrick Riches
Derrick Riches

I began writing about Barbecue & Grilling in 1997 with one mission, to help the backyard chef have the best experience possible.



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