This Easy and Delicious Pork Rub Recipe is Perfect for Summer Grilling

When it comes to pork, it’s safe to say that North Carolinians know a thing or three. From beginning to end, it’s almost as if cooking a pig is part of every person from the Tar Heel State’s DNA. It’s no different for chef Adam Hayes from Canyon Kitchen at Lonesome Valley, which is nestled in the town of Sapphire.

Hayes, a North Carolina native, started out as a fry cook in a sandwich shop. He caught the cooking bug and went on to spend five years as the executive chef at the Grand Bohemian Hotel in Asheville (during which time he hosted a dinner at the James Beard House in New York City and shipped up all North Carolina ingredients). He joined the team at Lonesome Valley in 2015 and has since garnered a faithful following of foodies from around the country.

Canyon Kitchen

We convinced Hayes to share his go-to pork rub recipe. In his words:

This is a great all-purpose rub that works wonderfully on pork, barbecue, and ribs. I even use it on corn and veggies, too. I like using rubs versus brines on meats in general.

I developed this barbecue rub early on in my career at one of my first jobs but felt like it could be better. I experimented at home with multiple spices and combinations. One of my all-time favorite seasonings comes from Old Towne in Charleston, South Carolina. I use this stuff on everything (currently and in my past). So, for this rub, I wanted something that was similar but worked well on all forms of meats and vegetables.

“This rub was developed specifically for pork. All things pork! Pork butt and ribs are the standards.”

It has a balance of heat, sweet, and salt. For this rub, I use Stax’s seasoning salt as the base. They are located in Greenville, South Carolina. I tried their seasoning salt at a food show many years ago and joked that the stuff must have crack in it. I was hooked immediately. Still my preferred seasoning salt.

This rub was developed specifically for pork. All things pork! Pork butt and ribs are the standards. I’ve used in a cure for bacon, rubbed this on the outside of a country ham I’ve made, used it in a brine solution for pork loin, and added it to my famous Hayes barbecue sauce. This rub is no stranger to chicken, quail, squab, Guinea hen, salmon, flounder, and beef ribs (although I don’t typically like it on beef, as it’s a little sweet for beef).

It works great on grilled vegetables. It’s a nice addition to corn pudding, casseroles of any kind, batters for frying fish and vegetables … anything really! I think this is a very universal rub. It’s handy to have in the kitchen when you are looking to add flavor to what you’re cooking. Experiment with it. You may find it enhances an already great creation.

Chef Adam Hayes’ Pork Rub Recipe

pork ribs grilling barbecue
Grandriver/Getty Images


  • 2 c blackening seasoning
  • 1 c salt
  • .5 c black pepper
  • .5 c brown sugar
  • .5 c paprika
  • ¼ c ground mustard
  • .25 c Stax’s seasoning salt
  • 3 tbsp thyme
  • 2 tbsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 bay leaves


  1. In a large bowl, add all ingredients.
  2. Gently mix until evenly distributed.
  3. Store in an air-tight container.

Article originally published November 30, 2017, by Cator Sparks. Last updated by Sam Slaughter.

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