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BBQ Rub: Georgia Clay

This recipe for pulled pork includes Georgia Clay BBQ rub.

This recipe for pulled pork includes Georgia Clay BBQ rub.

BBQ Pork Recipes

I tried out a new BBQ rub, called Georgia Clay BBQ rub, and I want to share it with you. My friends, my family, and I enjoy BBQ pork recipes. We all have grills and smokers, and at least one of us barbecues on the weekends. Sometimes it’s done on a gas grill, but more often, it’s done on a meat smoker or on a charcoal grill. We all like BBQ chicken, grilled seafood, BBQ turkey, smoked beef brisket, and steaks, but pork is our favorite meat for smoking. Pork seems to take on the smoky flavor better than other meats, and this is certainly true with a BBQ pork roast. Of course, this is just my opinion, but it’s shared by many of my fellow southerners. In the South, BBQ pork recipes are huge, and formulating the perfect BBQ rub is an art!

There are lots of great recipes for pork shoulder.

There are lots of great recipes for pork shoulder.

Recipes for Pork Shoulder

I often employ recipes for pork shoulder. Since we enjoy entertaining family members and friends, we go through a lot of pork shoulders, or Boston butts, as we often call them. Pork butts are a tasty, economical way to feed a crowd. We sometimes find them on sale for $1.29 per pound, which is a great bargain. A butt is almost all meat, with just one bone – the blade bone. Even at the regular price, pork butts are a good value.

You can find lots of recipes for pork shoulder, and the meat can be successfully prepared via a variety of cooking methods. They can be baked in the oven, slow cooked in a crock pot, cooked on a smoker, or cooked on a grill using indirect heat. The pork roast can be seasoned with herbs and spices, covered with a sweet glaze, or immersed in barbecue sauce. Pork shoulder is also the preferred cut for pulled pork and pulled pork sandwiches.

Pork is our favorite smoked meat.

Pork is our favorite smoked meat.

Smoked Meat

What is it about smoked meat that so many people love? I’ve often wondered about this. Maybe it reminds us of some hidden memory and takes us back to a time when our ancestors cooked everything over or near an open fire. Perhaps it’s due to the fact that smoked meats are cooked outdoors, without messing up our kitchens. Or maybe, since smoked meat is cooked “low and slow” over some type of BBQ wood, the flesh turns out moist, juicy, smoky, and delicious!

Practically any type of flesh can be cooked on smokers. I already mentioned some of the smoked meats we typically enjoy, but in addition to those, we’ve also smoked fish, venison roasts, geese, and doves. One of our favorite smoked meats might surprise you – cured ham. When I first heard of this, I was skeptical, but after trying it, we were sold. My family would disown me if I didn’t include a ham cooked over pecan wood at our annual Thanksgiving feast.

In the South, smokers are practically required by law.

In the South, smokers are practically required by law.


How do meat lovers survive without smokers? Okay, this sounds like a gross exaggeration, but I really don’t understand why every carnivore on the planet doesn’t have a smoker of some sort. We use our Brinkmann all the time! Ours is electric, so it’s very easy to use. We just fill the water pan, place some BBQ wood on the burner, and plug it in. Once the meat is on, we only check it only once – about halfway through the expected cooking time.

We’ve used other types of meat smokers in the past, including charcoal smokers and homemade BBQ pits. An electric smoker, however, if by far the easiest to use. It also delivers regular, consistent heat, so there’s not a lot of guesswork. This is true even if the smoker doesn’t include a thermostat. Ours doesn’t, and we’ve never had any trouble turning out some awesome smoked meats!


Wood for smoking meat should be soaked in water first.

Wood for smoking meat should be soaked in water first.

BBQ Wood

You’ll have to decide on a wood for smoking meat, called BBQ wood. The choices are pretty amazing! They range from hardwoods like oak and hickory, to fruitwoods like apple, peach, plum, cherry, and orange. There are also some more exotic types of wood for smoking meat, like grapevine and pieces of whiskey-soaked barrels.

If you’re new to meat smoking, you’ll probably want to do some experimenting to discover which smoke flavors you like best. We’ve found that pecan works well with just about anything. We cut and dry our own pecan wood for meat smoking, by the way. It gives a wonderful flavor to just about everything, and we especially like to use pecan BBQ wood with our recipes for pulled pork.

If you’re not an experienced meat smoker, be careful with the amount if wood you use. It’s better to have not enough smoky flavor than to have too much. As you get some cooking time under your BBQ apron, you’ll figure out just the right amount of BBQ wood to use.

BBQ Wood:


With a BBQ pork shoulder recipe, you’ll need a good BBQ rub. I usually prefer dry rubs with a BBQ pork roast, but for our July Fourth cookout, I used something different. I’d been thinking about using prepared mustard as a base for my wet rub, so I made one for a butt we cooked. We cooked three butts, by the way.

A wet BBQ rub that uses an acidic liquid like vinegar allows the seasonings to penetrate the flesh. Since mustard contains vinegar, it works as a good vehicle for the dry spices. Once I added the dry ingredients to the yellow mustard, I noticed that it strongly resembled Georgia clay, so now I refer to it as my Georgia clay rub.

I was a little worried that the mustard rub would make my BBQ pulled pork recipe taste too “mustardy,” but it didn’t. The meat was awesome, and almost every shred was gobbled up. Next time you’re planning on some pulled pork or on a BBQ pork roast, give this Georgia Clay BBQ rub a try!

Georgia Clay BBQ rub

Georgia Clay BBQ rub

Rate my BBQ rub! Thanks!

Cook Time

Prep timeReady inYields

5 min

5 min

for 5-7 pound pork butt


  • 1/2 cup prepared yellow mustard
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoons mild paprika
  • 2 teaspoons garlic salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne


  1. Rinse pork shoulder and dry with paper towels.
  2. Combine all ingredients and rub meat all over.
  3. Wrap the meat in plastic food wrap or foil and leave in the fridge overnight – or longer. I left mine in the fridge to cure for around 30 hours this time.
Apply the BBQ rub all over the meat.

Apply the BBQ rub all over the meat.

Wrap the meat and let it cure in the fridge overnight.

Wrap the meat and let it cure in the fridge overnight.

pulling the pork

pulling the pork

pulled pork

pulled pork

My tossing sauce for pulled pork.

My tossing sauce for pulled pork.

Combine the tossing sauce with the shredded meat.

Combine the tossing sauce with the shredded meat.

Pulled pork with BBQ sauce.

Pulled pork with BBQ sauce.

Recipe for Pulled Pork

After the meat has been in the fridge overnight, take it out and leave it at room temperature while you prepare your smoker. Place some BBQ wood that’s been soaked in water for a couple of hours on the burner. Fill the water pan and plug in the smoker. When the smoker has been going for around 20 minutes, place the pork butt on the top rack, fat-side up. Close the cooker. After four or five hours, check the smoker to see if more water and wood are needed.

Cooking time for a BBQ pork roast will vary. For a BBQ pork roast that’s going to be served sliced, cook the meat until the internal temperature is 165 degrees. For recipes for pulled pork, however, the meat needs to be cooked longer in order to make the muscle fibers separate more easily. For a recipe for pulled pork, cook until the internal temp is 185 degrees.

Once you take the pork off the smoker, wrap it in foil. After about 15 minutes, place the pork roast in a large pan and pull out the blade bone. Remove the layer of fat, if you wish. Cut the butt into large chunks. Use two regular dinner forks to shred the fibers of the meat.

For this pulled pork recipe, I creating what I call a “tossing sauce.” Once all the pork has been pulled, I mix it with my tossing sauce. The recipe is below:

Tossing Sauce

½ cup apple cider vinegar

1/3 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce OR Dale’s Seasoning

2 tablespoons melted butter

1 tablespoon hot sauce

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground cloves

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a jar. Close lid and shake until ingredients are blended. Sprinkle on shredded pork and stir to distribute.

pulled pork with just the tossing sauce

pulled pork with just the tossing sauce

pulled pork sandwiches

pulled pork sandwiches

Pulled Pork Sandwiches

The meat is now ready for pulled pork sandwiches – unless you want to take the extra step of combining the meat with a finishing barbecue sauce. For our Fourth celebration, we served the pulled pork mixed with just the tossing sauce. We provided several different barbecue sauces so that our guests could choose their own BBQ sauce for their pulled pork sandwiches, but several chose to eat their pork just as it was, without a finishing sauce. Really, the pork was flavorful enough not to need a thick sauce, at all. The Georgia Clay BBQ rub proved to be a big hit!

Take the poll! Thanks!


Catherine Dean from Milledgeville, Georgia on October 21, 2012:

Looks great! I am from GA so I love the name. Wish we had a smoker. I cooked my butts in the slow cooker with liquid smoke. Great pictures to go with your words.

Karen Metz from Michigan on October 21, 2012:

Oh my this sounds VERY good! I will have to plan on getting a pork shoulder soon and try it!! Thanks for the recipe!

Valerie Washington from Tempe, Arizona on October 20, 2012:

Oh, my goodness!! This looks delish! I am pinning to Pinterest and tweeting as well. Great job! I grew up on BBQ and we try to grill food as much as possible, though I don't have a smoker (will have to check that out).

Voted up!

Southernmapart on October 02, 2012:

Real down-home cookin' .

Robin Edmondson from San Francisco on July 17, 2012:

My husband made me pulled pork for Mother's Day two years ago. At the time, I thought it was more of a gift for him, but it was incredible. He started cooking it in the wee hours of the morning and paired it with cole slaw - yummy! It is a great way to feed a lot of people. I'm passing on your Georgia Clay recipe to him. It sounds fantastic. ;)

Mmargie1966 from Gainesville, GA on July 13, 2012:

I'm salivating! I love pork! I have to admit, you got me with the Georgia clay rub title. My first thought was "ew, I have to see what this is" - lol

Voted up and shared!

DeBorrah K Ogans on July 06, 2012:

Habee, Wonderful! Great ideas! Sounds and looks tender & scrumptuous! Hmmm. How about shipping me a taste to California.... Must try! Hollee, Thank you for sharing!

drbj and sherry from south Florida on July 05, 2012:

Well, I am salivating again, Holle, and it's your photos of that smoked butt and the 'Georgia clay' rub that did it. This recipe is a winner, m'dear.

Jill Spencer from United States on July 05, 2012:

We just bought a smoker. Haven't even used it yet. (It's too doggone hot outside!) I'm bookmarking this hub so that I can come back to it when the weather's a bit cooler. Good one!

Marcy Goodfleisch from Planet Earth on July 05, 2012:

I hope to use your BBQ sauce recipe for chicken (I don't eat pork) - it sounds delicious, and I've never yet made homemade sauce for grilling. Thanks for sharing another of your terrific recipes!

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