My buddy Clay is an expert marksman and threatens to shoot any terrorist who dares to sneak any Cumin into his North Carolina BBQ. As we noted before, there is a general absence of "Rubs" in Carolina BBQ. As always there are exceptions to any rule. That being said you're going to have to drive around quite a bit in the Old North State to find it.
His family in Brunswick County place their pork in molasses brines before smoking. That's fine if you're only doing 1 or 2. When you do 50+lbs of butts like I do, it's a bit of a logistical nightmare. So I stole a technique from Pitmaster Adam Perry Lang and created a moisturizing agent to bind the Rub to the meat. This is my base rub of which I'll add other spices that fit my mood. The recipe is purposefully easy to remember as I myself hate reaching for a book. If you can remember equal parts brown sugar, paprika, white sugar, and garlic powder you'll be just fine. Fair warning, no Cumin allowed, Clay is watching and he rarely misses.
½ Cup of Brown Sugar
½ Cup of White Sugar
½ Cup of Paprika
1 Cup of Garlic Powder
2 Tablespoons of Thyme
2 Tablespoons of Black Pepper
2 Tablespoon of Cayenne
2 Parts molasses
1 Part Water
Few dashes of Worcestershire to keep it interesting
Step 1: Take your Butts and salt them all over. If it looks like too much salt double it. Let her sit around for a few minutes. Fear not the salt! It's a big piece of meat.
Step 2: Sprinkle over your Moisterizer and massage it into the meat
Step 3: Coat your butt with the rub and go start your fire.
Step 4: Fire's ready, you're sitting around 240-250F. Reapply some rub, toss her on your smoker with your choice of wood. Let her smoke for 12 hours at 225F. You'll know you're done when the blade bone starts sticking out. For the duration of the cooking just feed the wood, drink beer and smoke cigars. Do not peak, baste, squirt with apple juice etc.
Step 5: Remove from smoker, pull out the blade bone (should pull clean). Chop and dress with a vinegar pepper sauce. Have a good time.