The BEST Sweet Rub for Pork and Chicken

90 reviews

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A good sweet pork rub is ESSENTIAL to have in your grilling arsenal, and this rub hits all the right notes. Bring a burst of flavor to your pulled pork and smoked pork recipes with this signature sweet rub.

Bowl of sweet rub with a bottle of Hey Grill Hey Sweet Rub in the background with text overlay - Best Sweet Rub.

Sweet Pork Rub

Some pitmasters go to the grave protecting their signature spice rub recipes. I’m not that kind of person. I’m all about the love and want to share this complete deliciousness with all of you! I seriously love making my own rubs and spice mixtures for the grill, and this sweet rub is my all-time go-to favorite.

This sweet rub is good on everything, I swear. (And believe me, I’ve tried it on just about everything!) From Smoked Pulled Pork to Grilled Pork Chops, this rub is amazing on just about any smoked pork recipe. Oh, and using it as a pork chop rub? AMAZING!

And this rub isn’t just for pork! I’ve used it on chicken, vegetables, and even Smoked Mac and Cheese! If you’ve been following along with Hey Grill Hey for a while, you know were’ simply obsessed with this rub.

Dry Rub for Pork (And So Much More!)

Making this pork rub is a cinch. Once you have all the ingredients on hand, I suggest making a batch (or two!) and bottling some up for later use. You can also make these to give to your friends and neighbors as gifts.

If you have extra rub leftover, no worries. I can go through one batch just on a couple of pulled pork shoulders, so don’t be worried that you won’t use it all. In fact, if you’re cooking a lot, just double it to be safe and save the rest for later.

All ingredients for sweet rub in a bowl.

Ingredients for Pork Rub

Here’s what you’ll need to pull out of the pantry (or pick up from the store) prior to mixing this sweet rub. Only 8 ingredients stand between you and the best pork rub in the history of BBQ (full ingredient amounts are available in the recipe card below).

  1. Dark brown sugar
  2. Coarse sea salt
  3. Cracked black pepper
  4. Smoked paprika
  5. Garlic powder
  6. Onion powder
  7. Ground mustard
  8. Cayenne pepper

Quick Note: This recipe calls for smoked paprika. This is a pretty big deal and adds quite a bit of flavor to the rub. There are a TON of varieties of paprika at all different price points, but for the best flavor, I always choose smoked paprika that is a rich red color. Sometimes paprika will also be labeled hot or sweet, you can pick the spice level you prefer! If it’s not labeled with anything but “paprika” it is likely mild and pretty bland and won’t add anything to your spice mixture other than color.

How to Make Sweet Pork Rub

It’s beyond easy to make your own sweet rub at home. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Combine. Simply mix all ingredients in a bowl and use a fork to break up any clumps. No fancy blenders or mixers are needed here!
  2. Use or store. Once you have your pork rub mixed up, it’s ready to be used immediately, or you can store it in an airtight container in your pantry. I like to store my spices and seasonings in these glass spice containers, but anything with a lid will do. This rub can be stored in your pantry for around a month, but it’s likely the rub won’t last that long (wink, wink).

If you’re looking to stock up on this delicious sweet rub without lifting a finger (well, I suppose you have to use a few to order it online), we sell Sweet Rub pre-made online at the Hey Grill Hey Store.

Tips for Making Pork Rub

Before you dive into making this rub, I have a few tips to help you get the most out of your efforts.

  • Make it in advance. It can be frustrating to have a big pork butt ready to go on the smoker, and you find yourself out of sweet rub. I always recommend making a batch of this sweet rub at least a day in advance so you have it ready to go anytime.
  • Double (or triple) the batch. This stuff goes FAST. Not only will you find yourself using it on just about any pork available, but you’ll quickly see how frequently I use in it a variety of recipes on this site. Double or triple the batch the first time you make it so there’s plenty to go around.
  • Adjust the heat. This rub doesn’t have a lot of ingredients, but you can play around with them a bit to get this sweet pork rub exactly to your liking. If you like things a bit spicier, increase the cayenne pepper. If you’re feeding a family with a lot of children (or just folks who prefer a milder flavor), cut the cayenne in half.

Is there anything special you did with your rub that you’d like to share? Leave us a comment below!

More Pork Rub Recipes

I’m a big fan of having a variety of rubs on hand for any type of meat I’m tossing on the BBQ. Check out a few of our most popular BBQ rubs below.

Sweet Pork Rub Recipe

Here’s hoping you’re head over heels in love with this rub. Whether you use it as a pork chop rub, a pulled pork rub, or just an all-around multipurpose sweet rub, you’ll be sure to get a lot of use out of it!

Watch the video below and I’ll show you how I make my signature sweet rub recipe at home. I’m here to help you make better BBQ, feed the people you love, and become a backyard BBQ hero. Check out more of my smoking and grilling recipe videos on YouTubeInstagram, or our Facebook Page.

The BEST Sweet Rub for Pork and Chicken

By: Susie Bulloch
4.98 from 90 votes
A good sweet pork rub is ESSENTIAL to have in your grilling arsenal, and this rub hits all the right notes. Bring a burst of flavor to your pulled pork and smoked pork recipes with this signature sweet rub.
Prep Time5 minutes
Total Time5 minutes
Servings12 servings


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  • ¼ cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon coarse sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons cracked black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika (hot or mild, whichever you prefer)
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper


  • Mix. Combine all of the ingredients for the rub in a small bowl. Stir well to combine, using a fork to break up any clumps.
  • Use or store. Store BBQ sweet rub in an airtight container. This rub will last in your cupboard for up to a month.


Purchase a bottle of Hey Grill Hey Sweet Rub here:


Calories: 23kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 2mg | Potassium: 27mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 199IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 7mg | Iron: 1mg

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

Like this? Leave a comment below!

**This post was originally published April 2016. It has since been updated with more information and helpful tips. The recipe remains the same.



Susie is the BBQ Brain behind the Hey Grill Hey website. Her passion for smoked meats and developing fun, new recipes have landed her on the Food Network, cooking turkeys with Shaq, and on a couple of Guinness World Records. When she’s not grilling, she is hanging out with Todd and their three kids, preferably outdoors!

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Recipe Rating

Reader Reviews

286 Reviews

  1. Steve Anderson says:

    A perfect combo of sweet, salty and a bit spicy (I added 2 teaspoons of chipotle pepper) for added smoke and heat. Will be my go to for ribs. Will give it a test eat with chicken soon! Keep up the excellent work at Hey Grill Hey.

  2. Melissa says:

    An excellent dry rub! I love to use it on pork ribs that I vacuum seal in foodsaver bags for 24 or more hrs in the fridge, before smoking on the Traeger.
    I do use coconut sugar in place of the brown sugar due to a diabetic in the household and it tastes no different. Thank you for a great ‘Sweet Rub’ recipe Susie!

  3. Steven Owen Bradshaw says:

    Excellent flavor! Easy to make.

  4. Dave Freeman says:

    I have made this numerous times and use it on just about everything. Very versatile rub/seasonsing.

  5. Tim says:

    I have a lot of bland paprika on hand. Do you have any suggestions on how to add a smoke element to my ordinary paprika to get the smoked paprika flavor?

    1. Brenda says:

      If you watch the video, you could add some liquid smoke to the olive oil she puts in the plastic bag, before sprinkling the rub in. That should make up for the missing smoke taste in the regular paprika .

  6. John says:

    I wish so much that I could lay claim to this sheer work of art! Everybody who tries it truly enjoys it. After about 3 years of regular use, it has become a staple, and my favorite go-to rub. I find smoking food for others both fun but anxiety inducing, with a rub like this though, it takes that pressure off. It’s going to taste great every time. Thank you for sharing it!

    PS – I am relieved you listed regular paprika in the video… because that is what I have been using since I found the recipe. I have felt a smidge bad for modifying the original, but not any more! 😉 Cheers!

  7. Gunnar says:

    This rub is sooooo dang good. By far better than anything else you can buy. I like that you can buy a couple of bottles for ease as well as make some if you need it quickly. Either way this is a great rub for using on chicken and pork. Honestly, I have a hard time trying anything else since I like this rub so much.

  8. Scotty says:

    This is now my go to rub! Pork butt magic! Love it! Love it! Love it! Thanks for the recipe.

  9. Larry says:

    Awesome! Ya gotta have it.

  10. John Beck says:

    Very Very good!! Was running low on my favorite rub. Fire & Smoke Society Pork Perfect. Found this doing a quick search and I may have a new favorite. I also like that I always have these spices on hand therefore I will always have this rub at the ready.