Sweet Heat Rub for Chicken or Pork
A little spicy, a little sweet - and a little magic!

I’m a fiend for anything a little sweet and a little spicy. And when it comes in the form of a rub that works well with chicken and pork? Sold.

Sweet Heat Rub for Chicken or Pork
Sweet Heat Rub for Chicken or Pork

This is a super easy rub made from common kitchen staples, and it’s flavor rings out clear, partially because there are no herbs. Don’t get me wrong, herbs are great in rubs but they do make the flavors of a rub a bit muddled and earthy.

Don’t overlook the mustard powder in this rub, either. It brings a little magic to the table – which is why it’s included in my Top Secret Super Stealth Arsenal of Ingredients.

For the chili powder, a common place grocery store chili powder is nice but if you’d like, go with a single chili. Ancho is great. Chipotle brings its own intense heat. I think this rub is at it’s best when combined with a sweeter barbecue sauce like my Honey Chipotle.

Sweet Heat Rub for Pork or Chicken

  • Servings: abt 1 1/2 cups
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 5 tablespoons sugar (brown or white)
  • 2 tablespoons Kosher salt (or see Morton’s conversion table)
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder (or choose an individual chili powder, like ancho)
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons celery salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

Mix together, store in a jar in a dark cupboard. Use sprinkled or rubbed on chicken or pork.

If you’d like to see more of my spice & herb blends, check out Spice, Herb & Flavor Packet Substitutes. I’m adding as I go along!


I’ll be taking this recipe to Fiesta Friday, hosted this week by Quinn @ Dad What’s 4 Dinner and Monika @ Everyday Healthy Recipes.



20 Comments on “Sweet Heat Rub for Chicken or Pork

  1. What a great rub! I just picked up a pork butt that was on sale super cheap at the store. I’ll have to rub it with this!

    • I think you’ll love it! And try that bbq sauce, Carlee! It was surprisingly not too hot, although it did have personality!

  2. This is a fabulous blend of spices, definitely very handy to have stored in the cupboard to use with white meats. Thank you for sharing with FF:)

  3. I love Ancho chile powder! I have all of this, with the exception of my brown sugar that has turned into a rock, lol. I do have regular white sugar, though. Great spice rub, thanks!

    • I love it, too! Put a piece of bread in with the brown sugar and it will soften overnight. Maybe two if it’s really, really hard.

      • Ooh good tip, thanks! I usually try a minute or too at a time in the micro but if I overdo it then I have a melted mess that can’t be recovered.

  4. Going to make this rub, love it. I have some dried chili’s I need to grind into powder and this would be the perfect way to use. As always Mollie a wonderful recipe.

  5. I really like your ‘arsenal’ of spices. And, I will be sure to add the mustard. I add hot mustard powder to my potato salad. Even non- potato salad fans love my potato salad. The secret is partly the mustard powder (and I add 1/4-1/2 cup of sour cream.)…Great looking pictures too!!!💗 💗 💗

    • Oh, that sounds wonderful! Sometimes potato salad can be a little slimy, so I love the sour cream tip. When you say “hot” mustard, do you mean like a Coleman’s mustard? I always add a little mustard powder, too, but now I can see I have to up my game. Great tips!! 🙂

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