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North Carolina BBQ Rub

North Carolina BBQ Rub - Captures the flavors of one the oldest barbecue centers of the country with ingredients like: hickory smoked Pacific sea salt, red chile peppers, black pepper, garlic and sugar.

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North Carolina BBQ Rub

North Carolina is one of the oldest and main barbecue centers of this country.  Jim Early of the North Carolina BBQ Society, calls North Carolina the “Cradle of Cue”!  It started in the 1500’s when the Spanish introduced pigs into the Native Americans and the Southeast part of the country. As with any regional cuisine there are numerous variations (and disputes) as to what is true authentic North Carolina barbecue.  North Carolina barbecue is pork, period, although you can get chicken at most barbecue joints or shacks, as they are affectionately called.  The variations are that the East Carolina barbecue whole hog and the center, also known as Lexington, and the west, use pork shoulder or pork butt, aka Boston butt.  The sauce or “dip” as it is known, was originally made with vinegar (mostly cider), salt, red and black pepper.  In the late 1880’s, when commercially produced ketchup became available, the German immigrants in the Lexington area added ketchup to sweeten up the classic vinegar dip and since then, the feud has never stopped.  Grind this spice blend on your pork a few hours before smoking, barbecuing or oven roasting.

 Our North Carolina BBQ Rub captures those flavors.

Spice Ingredients:  hickory smoked Pacific sea salt, sugar, mustard seed, New Mexican chile peppers, garlic, crushed red chile peppers, black pepper and celery.    Click on the RECIPE tab above to read about the cooking details and instructions.. 

Please click on the RECIPE tab here to read the detailed cooking instructions.

North Carolina BBQ Rub is available in a 4 oz. spice grinder bottle and a 16 oz. refill bottle, so you can refill your spice grinder bottle, which can be reused multiple times.

North Carolina BBQ Rub Cooking Instructions

North Carolina is probably the oldest form of American barbecue and uses strictly pork, although chicken is generally also available.  The eastern half of North Carolina uses “whole hog” and the western half, also known as Lexington barbecue, after Lexington, North Carolina, uses pork shoulder.  The pork is served either pulled and chopped and sometimes sliced.  Eastern half uses a thin simple vinegar and cayenne (red) pepper sauce sometimes with other added spices and the western half adds tomato (ketchup) to that thin vinegar style sauce. There are generations of internal North Carolina debates on which style of North Carolina barbecue is the best...…Both are!

This rub captures the essence of Eastern and Western North Carolina styles of barbecue with ingredients like: Hot red pepper flakes, hickory smoked sea salt, black pepper and garlic. 

NOTE: To review and/or select the cut of pork you wish to use, please refer to the "Recommendation Guide to selecting your beef, pork, chicken, turkey or seafood" PDF, located in the Recipe link in the heading at the top of the Home page.  The pork butt is traditionally used here.

1)  To use the Grate Grinds North Carolina BBQ Rub, evenly spray or rub a little oil on all sides of your pork butt.  Then grind the rub evenly on all sides of your pork, gently pressing it onto the surface.  The amount of rub you grind on is up to your flavor preference. The more rub you grind on the pork, the more of a flavor impact the rub will have.  Figure 1, below is an example of how much rub to grind onto your pork butt, as a general rule.  You can use either a boneless or bone-in pork butt.  The bone-in will take a little longer to cook, but with this long slow cooking method, it really doesn't matter.  We generally like to cook meat with there bones in them, as it adds more flavor and moisture.

NOTE: One word of caution, these rubs are self-contained, meaning that they already have salt in them in the proper ratio to the spices and herbs, so don’t over do it with grinding the rubs or add any additional salt. 

Pork butt with North Carolina BBQ Rub

Fig. 1.  Pork butt with North Carolina BBQ Rub

2)   After you have rubbed your meat, refrigerate it and allow your rub to rest on the meat for at least 20 minutes or up to twenty-four hours.  

NOTE:  Always buy your meats from a quality reputable stores.  Keep all meat under refrigeration as much as possible during preparation.  Don’t leave any meats out at room temperature for more than 30 minutes, except when you are ready to cook it.  Then let it just reach room temperature prior to cooking, but don’t let time exceed an hour.  Food safe guidelines recommend that any proteins (meats in this case) are not exposed to the “Temperature Danger Zone” (40 F. to 140 F) for more than 4 hours for its entire journey to you cooking it.  We are informing you of these food safety guidelines, because we want you to have a wonderful flavorful safe food experience, every time.

Barbecuing your pork butt is a low heat, slow roasting method and it can be done in a smoker, barbecue grill or even an oven, technically. 

SMOKER:

Preheat your smoker to 250-275° F.  Place your seasoned pork butt away from the direct heat source or the smoke box. Rotate your pork every two hours to keep the smoking and temperature evenly around the pork butt.  Remember to resupply your smoking medium so the temperature remains constant throughout the cooking time.  The cooking times can very from 6 to 12 hours.  It really depends on the temperature and type of smoker you have and the amount of pork you are smoking. (Final cooking instructions are below)

BARBECUE/GRILL OR OVEN: 

1)  Turn on all the gas knobs or get all the barbecue coals hot  to 400°F. to 450ºF. so the meat will sear rapidly sealing in the juices caused by this initial high heat process. Once up to the preheat temperature, turn off the gas burners on one side of the grill or move the coals to one side of the grill and place the pork butt meat on on the clean, oiled side of the grill with no gas or coals directly under the meat.  This is called indirect cooking.   Searing the pork should take around 15 to 25 minutes, depending on the size of your pork butt and the type and temperature of your grill.  During this searing process the temperature should slowly drop down and then adjust it to around 275º F. to 300ºF.

2)  After your pork has a nice light brown crust, turn the burners down or adjust the coals to maintain the heat at 250-275°F .  Now your job is not to touch the meat or open the lid or door too often.  Have a beer or soda, mow the lawn, watch a football game!  The time it takes to barbecue a boneless pork butt depends completely on the temperature of oven, grill or smoker and the size of the pork butt.  To barbecue your pork butt properly, allow at least 10 to 14 hours.  The key to the correct doneness of your slow cooked meat is to get the internal temperature (with an instant read thermometer) of the meat up to 190ºF., but not more.  You can get there in four hours if you push the temperature way up, but the pork will dry out when you cook it quickly like that, So Don't!

Remember, the key to barbecuing is:” LOW & SLOW”!  If the heat is too high, the meat will dry out and be tough.  You want your prized center of the table BBQ North Carolina pork butt to be moist and tender.

 Pork butt barbecuing on the grill

Fig. 2. Pork butt barbecuing on the grill.

ALL COOKING METHODS:

Once your pork butt has reached 190ºF, remove it from the smoker, grill or oven and let it "rest" under a foil tent.  There is an activity that takes place now called “carryover cooking”.  Once your food is removed from the heat source, it will continue to cook for 5 to 10 minutes for smaller cuts, 15 to 20 minutes for larger cuts of meat.  The retained heat in the meat continues the cooking process for a few more minutes, as the meat cools down. Part of this resting period is to also allow the internal liquids in the meat, which are forced to the center by the intense cooking heat, to redistribute themselves back throughout the meat, before you slice it.  If you are too impatient those wonderful flavorful juices will end up on your cutting board instead inside your roast pork.

 Barbecued pork butt with North Carolina BBQ Rub

  Fig. 3.  Barbecued sliced Pork Butt with North Carolina BBQ Rub.

For service, you could slice the pork butt as shown in Figure 3, or shred it by pulling it with your hands or forks or you could chop in up as chopped barbecue pork!  Happy barbecuing and enjoy "The Cue"!

 If you are looking for more cooking details please read the "Specific Instructions on Barbecuing, Grilled and Oven Roasting" PDF located in the Recipe heading at the top of the Home page.


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