Smoked Pork Loin Dry Rub Recipe

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This Smoked Pork Loin Dry Rub Recipe is all about striking the perfect balance of flavors that elevate a simple cut of meat into something extraordinary. The lean and tender nature of pork loin lends a perfect canvas for a strong and bold dry rub. The thick fat cap on the pork loin gives it amazing flavor as it renders, and the smoked pork loin rub brings an amazing crust to the meat.

Smoked pork loin dry rub in airtight container with spoon digging in.

This rub is a masterful blend of sweet and spicy. The brown sugar caramelizes just enough to give it a wonderful crust, while the smoked paprika, garlic, and a hint of cayenne add layers of warmth and depth. It is the perfect flavor profile to turn those summer BBQs or Sunday gameday get-togethers into something that everyone will remember!

Check out this smoked pork loin dry rub recipe featured in our recipe for how to BBQ pork loin, and see our other smoked pork loin recipe for a variation on this delicious cut of meat.

👍 Why Make Your Own Pork Loin Rub?

  • Customizable Heat: Make your own smoked pork loin dry rub so you can customize it to your liking. Love a fiery kick? Add a bit more cayenne pepper. Do you prefer it milder? Use bell pepper powder instead.
  • Perfectly Balanced Flavors: This rub recipe has been crafted to perfectly balance the sweet and spicy elements. The sweetness of the brown sugar pairs beautifully with the smoky paprika and the subtle heat from the spices without overpowering the meat.
  • Freshness and Quality: Know exactly what goes into your rub when you make your own. This means fresher and more vibrant flavors.
  • Versatility Beyond Pork: While this rub is perfect for pork loin, it is also great on chicken, vegetables, and seafood.
  • Long Shelf Life: Homemade rubs can be stored for months, retaining their flavor potency. Make a larger batch and store it in an airtight container.

🗒️ Pork Loin Dry Rub Ingredients

This dry rub seasoning recipe uses easy-to-find ingredients. Don’t forget to scroll down to the recipe card for all of the details, including quantities.

  • Brown Sugar: Adds sweetness to the pork lion that caramelizes beautifully when cooked, creating a delicious crust.
  • Smoked Paprika: Gives a smoky flavor that is a welcome addition to your BBQ and complements the natural flavors of the pork.
  • Garlic Powder: Offers a robust, earthy taste that is a staple in many savory rubs, enhancing the overall depth of flavor.
  • Onion Powder: Provides a slight sweetness and a mild, aromatic flavor that pairs well with the other spices.
  • Ground Black Pepper: Adds a sharp flavor and gives the rub a classic kick.
  • Kosher Salt: Essential for seasoning, it helps to intensify all the flavors in the rub and ensures the pork loin is well-seasoned.
  • Cayenne Pepper: Brings a spicy heat to the rub, which can be adjusted according to taste for a more or less fiery profile.
  • Dried Thyme: Offers a subtle, earthy tone with a slight minty flavor, adding a layer of complexity to the rub.
  • Cumin: Contributes a warm, earthy flavor with a hint of citrus, providing a nice balance to the sweeter components.
  • Mustard Powder: Gives a tangy and slightly spicy flavor, creating a more dynamic taste in the rub.
Ingredients for pork dry rub: brown sugar, black pepper, kosher salt, cayenne, thyme, cumin, mustard, paprika, garlic, onion.

👨‍🍳 How To Make Dry Rub

Here’s what you can expect when making a homemade dry rub. Be sure to refer to the recipe card for the step-by-step instructions and additional tips.

  1. Mix together the seasonings for the smoked pork loin rub. Use a fork or whisk to break up any clumps.
  2. Use immediately or transfer to an airtight container for storage.

🤔 Dry Rub Substitutions and Variations

  • Mix Up The Paprika: For a less smoky and slightly sweeter profile, sweet paprika can replace smoked paprika, still offering great color and flavor.
  • Sugar Substitute: For a different kind of sweetness, honey powder or maple sugar can be used in place of brown sugar, adding a unique twist of flavors.
  • Smoky Heat: To maintain the heat level but add a smoky note, chipotle powder can be a great substitute for cayenne pepper.
  • Herb Variations: Swap out thyme for other dried herbs like rosemary or oregano for a different aromatic profile.
  • Citrus Zest: Add a bit of citrus zest to the mix for a fresh, zesty flavor that complements the pork beautifully.

😉 Tips for Dry Rub Perfection

  • Maximize Shelf Life: Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months. Use fresh spices for a longer-lasting flavor.
  • Preventing Clumping: Add a few grains of uncooked rice to the container to absorb excess moisture and keep the dry rub from clumping.
  • Fixing Clumped Dry Rub: Break up any clumps with a fork or pulse in a food processor or blender until it is smooth and homogenous.
  • Proper Application: Ensure the meat is dry, then generously massage the rub in, letting it sit for at least 15-30 minutes before smoking for optimal flavor infusion.
  • Pair this rub with a brine or marinade for a juicy pork loin packed full of flavor! Check out our recipe for this smoked pork loin brine recipe.

🫙 Storing Dry Rub

Store your dry rub spice in an airtight container, like a Mason jar, to keep it fresh and moisture-free. Ground spices stay potent for 2-3 years, but for the best flavor, use this rub within 6 months.

To prevent clumping, especially from brown sugar, give the container a shake now and then. This keeps the rub free-flowing and ready for your next BBQ.

You can throw in a few grains of white rice to work as a moisture-absorbing desiccant. Just be sure not to put the rice on the meat when using the rub!

❓Spicy Questions and Answers

How long should rub be on pork before cooking?

Let the pork sit for at least 30-60 minutes after applying the dry rub. This gives the seasoning plenty of time to work its magic. I usually season the meat and then preheat my smoker before throwing on the pork. This is generally enough time for the dry rub to do its thing.

How to season pork tenderloin for smoker?

Trim any excess fat from the pork loin or tenderloin. A little extra fat is fine since it will render and be tasty once it is smoked. After trimming, sprinkle the dry rub on the meat over your butcher block or counter. Then, roll the pork loin over and sprinkle on more dry rub. Apply some pressure to press the seasoning into the meat and let it adhere.

How do you keep pork loin moist when smoking?

In order to ensure that your pork loin is moist and juicy, you need to smoke it until it reaches the correct internal temperature of 140°F to 145°F. If it cooks much longer, it will dry out.

Smoked pork loin dry rub in glass container with a tablespoon of seasoning next to it.

🌶️ The Last Hot Take

This smoked pork loin dry rub recipe is your secret weapon for unforgettable BBQs. With its easy preparation and customizable flavors, it’s designed to give punch up the flavor. Remember to store it right to keep those flavors vibrant for your next barbecue. Happy grilling, and get ready to enjoy the rich, mouthwatering taste that this rub brings to your pork loin!


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Smoked pork loin dry rub in airtight container with spoon digging in.
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Smoked Pork Loin Dry Rub Recipe

This Smoked Pork Loin Dry Rub Recipe combines sweet brown sugar with a spicy kick from cayenne and the smoky essence of paprika to create a perfectly balanced coating for your pork loin. It's easy to mix up in just minutes and can be stored for future grilling adventures. Ideal for enhancing the natural flavors of pork, this rub ensures a caramelized, flavorful crust every time.
If you have extra, plan to use the leftovers on your other favorite proteins. It goes well on chicken and tastes delicious with veggies!
Course: Rubs and Seasonings
Cuisine: American
Prep: 5 minutes
Total: 5 minutes
Servings: 20


  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper, freshly ground
  • 2 tablespoons Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder


  • In a large bowl, combine the ingredients and mix with a fork or whisk. Be sure to break up any clumps and combine the ingredients completely.
  • Use the dry rub immediately and transfer any leftovers to an airtight container.


  • Ground spices retain most of their flavor for 2-3 years. This dry rub should last for at least 6 months in an airtight container. The brown sugar may cause clumps to form or cause the dry rub to harden over time.
  • If clumps form in the dry rub, just pour it into a blender or processor and pulse it a few times until it is smooth and homogenous again.


Serving: 1g, Calories: 28kcal, Carbohydrates: 7g, Protein: 0.3g, Fat: 0.2g, Saturated Fat: 0.03g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g, Sodium: 701mg, Potassium: 43mg, Fiber: 0.5g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 391IU, Vitamin C: 0.2mg, Calcium: 11mg, Iron: 0.4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Tried this recipe?Mention @alicensetogrill or tag #alicensetogrill!

About Joshua Boquist

Josh is an outdoor enthusiast and food fanatic. A License To Grill is his passion project where the outdoors intersects food - grilling, smoking, and all things tasty!

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