DIY BBQ rub would make a perfect gift for the BBQ-obsessed on your list. Pulled pork in the South is more than a picnic staple; it is an institution. Southerners guard their barbeque recipes so close, you’d think they were printed on hundred dollar bills. I get it. It’s a serious thing to bequeath a treasure to the world. My mother spent most of her youth in North Carolina and Virginia. I grew up eating only North Carolina style pulled pork; consequently, it’s my BBQ of choice.
When I make pulled pork, I rub a Boston Butt (a pork shoulder blade) with this spice rub–paprika, mustard, brown sugar, cumin, red pepper, and salt and pepper. I let it sit overnight, covered in the fridge, and then bring it to room temperature before sticking it in a low (250 degree) oven for 6 hours (if you have a Green Egg, you can smoke it for the same amount of time at 250 degrees). The brown sugar in the rub caramelizes the outside of the pork, which, chopped into the meat, provides a perfect contrast to the juicy pork. You could also use this mix for chicken or pork tenderloin.
Dial down the spice (the cayenne and red pepper) if you like. It makes a perfect gift in a pretty jar and tied up with a bow. Add a tag with cooking directions or just the ingredients, and you have a lovely, inexpensive holiday gift.
A sweet and savory rub for a pork shoulder (Boston Butt).
- 3 tablespoons paprika
- 2 tablespoons cumin
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons dry mustard
- 3 tablespoons sea salt
- 1 tablespoon cracked pepper
- 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper