Dynamite Smoked Chicken Rub Recipe and Seasoning Ideas

spices in spoons
To make a smoked chicken rub, combine one tablespoon garlic powder with a tablespoon of onion powder. Add a teaspoon each of cayenne pepper, ground black pepper, salt, and smoked paprika. Mix the ingredients to form a spice rub to add to smoked BBQ chicken. Most dry rubs are shelf stable and can be stored for 2-3 months.

Every Chicken Rub Needs These Ingredients

Chicken is a blank canvas, and every chicken rub needs a variety of spices to bring out the flavor of the meat.

Dry rubs need salts such as Kosher salt or sea salt. Salt penetrates the meat and helps the other spices flavor the meat.

Most BBQ rubs also include:

  • Black pepper
  • Brown sugar
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Chili powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Herbs such as rosemary, sage, thyme, and tarragon
  • Onion powder
  • Paprika

The great thing about making seasoning from scratch is you can tailor it to your tastes. Don’t be afraid to experiment with more exotic spices such as Ras El Hanout or Cinnamon to surprise your palate!

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spices in spoons

Dynamite Smoked Chicken Rub Recipe

  • Author: Sarah
  • Total Time: 10 minutes


This homemade dry rub recipe is full of flavor. Use it on a whole chicken, chicken wings, chicken legs, chicken thighs, pork steaks, turkey, or fish. Use it by itself or in addition to your favorite barbecue sauce. These rub ingredients are pantry staples, and this recipe is gluten-free!




  • Airtight container
  • Small bowl

Dry Rub

  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, optional for more heat
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 2 tbsp smoked paprika


  1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.
  2. Store dry rub in an airtight container for 2-3 months.
  3. When you’re ready to cook your chicken, lightly coat your meat in olive oil and sprinkle a few teaspoons over your meat. If cooking a whole chicken, you’ll need 1 to 2 tablespoons of rub.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes


  • Serving Size: 3kcal
  • Sugar: .6g
  • Sodium: 76mg
  • Carbohydrates: 1.1g
  • Fiber: .1g
  • Protein: .1g

How Does a Rub Keep Smoked Chicken Moist?

Dry rubs cover the skin or meat of the smoked chicken and act like a seal to keep the moisture in.

How Long Should Dry Rub Sit On Chicken?

A dry rub should sit on the chicken for at least 15 minutes. Ideally, you’d leave the rub on your chicken for 1-2 hours. Make sure to keep the chicken refrigerated and covered during this time.

You can leave the rub on for a longer time if you prefer. The longer the rub has to soak in, the more flavor your chicken will have. The maximum time to leave on a dry rub is 24 hours.

Should You Apply Dry Rub When Chicken is Cold?

Ideally, let your chicken sit at room temperature for 15-20 minutes before applying a dry rub.

Pat it dry with a paper towel, apply a bit of olive oil and rub the spice mixture on all sides of the chicken. Very cold chicken may not bond with the spices as well. Dry rub will not work on frozen chicken—it must be defrosted first.

Can You Marinate Chicken and Use a Dry Rub?

You can marinate chicken and then use a dry rub. Let the chicken soak for 1-4 hours in your favorite marinade. Remove from and discard the marinade. Mix up your favorite dry rub and cover the chicken. Your chicken will be tender, flavorful, and juicy from the marinade and spices.

Should Smoked Chicken Have Extra Dry Rub Sprinkled On Top After Smoking?

It’s really up to you. Dry rubs create a crispy crust on the surface of smoked chicken. This amount of seasoning may be enough for many people. Others may prefer a boost of extra flavor and choose to sprinkle more dry rub before eating their smoked chicken.

Can You Use Chicken Rub Seasoning on Side Dishes?

You can use chicken rub seasoning on side dishes such as grilled corn, potatoes, and smoked vegetables. Simply sprinkle a bit on top of your cooked side dish and enjoy!

Can You Use Chicken Rub on Other Smoked Meats?

You can use chicken rub on pork chops, beef, brisket, turkey, and ham! It’s versatile, and the flavors work with most meats.

Smoked Chicken Seasoning Ideas

Classic seasonings always taste good, but sometimes it’s fun to experiment with flavors!

Check out these awesome chicken rubs to spice up your weeknight dinner:


Sarah loves eating BBQ and trying new techniques on her charcoal grill and smoker. She enjoys cooking meat, fruits, and veggies on her home grill. She lives in southern Indiana with her family.

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