Elevate your backyard BBQ game with this Smoked Chicken Rub! This perfect blend of spices tastes amazing on any cut of roasted, grilled, and smoked chicken!
My husband loves buying meat rubs.
Almost as much as he loves buying excessive amounts of meat at one time. (My poor overloaded deep freezer.)
We have an entire shelf in our spice cabinet devoted to nothing but “steakhouse blends,” “premium seasonings,” and “smoke rubs.” He uses them once, and then they usually sit there, ignored until they clump up and I deep clean the whole shelf.
Can anyone else relate?
I’m tired of wasting money on things I can easily make myself! I’ve decided to make it my mission to find the perfect blend of herbs and spices for every type of meat, and I really think I’ve nailed this smoked chicken seasoning!
This page includes step by step instructions, as well as tips and notes. If you’d like to skip all that, feel free to scroll down to the full, printable recipe card at the bottom of the post.
While you can get away with grilling a steak seasoning with only salt and pepper, some meats need a little extra something.
You know…like chicken.
Chicken is delicious when it’s seasoned well and cooked properly, but oh my can it be bland.
This is where having a smoked chicken rub recipe comes in handy.
A dry rub is a blend of spices and herbs specifically designed to enhance the flavor of chicken when smoked or grilled. It adds depth, smokiness, and an irresistible taste to the meat.
The best part about this chicken rub is that you can use it…
- On any cut of chicken
- Whether it has skin or not
- For any type of cooking method – you don’t need to own a smoker to enjoy it!
And as a bonus – this smoke rub works well on other kinds of meats, too!
I can almost guarantee that you have most, if not all, of the things you need for this rub recipe! Most prebuilt spice racks come with all of these!
- Garlic powder – this rub is heavy on garlic. If you love it like we do, then this recipe is for you!
- Paprika – we like smoked (obvs), but regular, sweet, or hot paprika will also work here.
- Brown sugar – just a little bit of sweet to help caramelize the chicken. Feel free to add a bit more if you want!
- Dried thyme – probably the most subtle-tasting herb, it’s a welcome addition to just about any dish.
- Onion powder – gives this rub amazing depth of flavor, just like the ubiquitous onion it’s made from.
- Kosher salt – we like chunky salt in everything, but table salt will do.
- Cayenne pepper – a little heat does wonders for chicken! You can reduce or omit this if you don’t like spice.
- Chili powder – add a little more of this if you drop the cayenne!
- Black pepper – we have also made this rub with white pepper, and it works wonderfully!
- Cumin – my little secret! This earthy spice rounds out the flavor blend in the rub.
For exact ingredient measurements and recipe instructions, scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom of the post!
How to make smoked chicken rub
This is literally the easiest recipe on this website.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine all of the herbs and seasonings.
- Use the rub as desired, storing any extra in a resealable container.
Can I use a smoked chicken rub for other meats?
You sure can! While I curated this rub specifically for chicken (like my BBQ grilled chicken leg quarters, drumsticks, and thighs), it’s still a dry rub that can be used on other meats! Try it on a whole slow roasted chicken, a holiday turkey, or on chicken breast for slow cooked pulled chicken.
The flavor profile on this rub would also be great on pork. Season your pork roasts for an epic pulled pork sandwich. Sprinkle it on pork belly for pork belly sliders, or try it on some slow cooked pork chops.
You can even experiment on hearty seafood like grilled salmon. Even tofu or grilled veggies would benefit from a smoky twist!
How do I use a smoked chicken rub?
Simply! Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and generously apply the rub to the skin or directly on the meat. Be sure to evenly cover all sides. Allow the seasoned chicken to sit for at least 30 minutes. This allows the flavors to penetrate the meat before smoking.
How long can this dry rub be stored?
If you make a hefty batch, store the chicken rub in a cool, dry place in a labeled, airtight container. For the best flavor, use it within 6 to 12 months. Luckily, it’s so easy to throw together that you can make it as you need it! This ensures the freshest taste.
Amazing sides to serve with your smoked meats!
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Smoked Chicken Rub
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 1 ½ tablespoons smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- In a small mixing bowl, combine seasonings. Use as desired, storing any extra in a resealable container.