Homemade BBQ Chicken Rub

Homemade BBQ Chicken Rub features a mix of brown sugar, salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, and smoked paprika for a flavorful homemade spice rub.

Summer is BBQ season for us. Kevin even commented last night that we hadn’t used the oven for a main course in a while. I realized how true that is, but also that it is totally normal for me to cook outside more often than not during this time of year for a couple of reasons.

I’m not sure which reason is the most important or driving factor:

That I don’t want to put extra heat in the house by turning the oven on when it already seems like the air conditioner is running nonstop, or that with “summer” recipes to cook like ribs, brisket, easy smoked chicken or turkey, burgers, grilled steaks or brats, and grilled chicken, there really isn’t much space for popping a casserole on a roast in the oven.

We’ve been eating like that all summer. Often, I’ll even cook our veggies on the grill and more than once I’ve made garlic bread on the grill.

Part of it, too, I think is that with all the landscaping we’ve done all summer it was just natural to be outside. And now that the backyard is done, I like going out there in the evening to take it all in, enjoy the view, take care of my plants, and even to have a place to play with Bailey.

I love being in our backyard, so why wouldn’t I want to cook out there when the weather is nice and warm?

Summer might be officially over, but our grilling game is still going strong.

One of the things I’ve made a few times this summer is BBQ Chicken using this super easy and homemade BBQ Chicken Rub. Last summer I made a Homemade Southwestern Pork Rub and used it quite a bit that I was inspired to come up with a version that I thought tasted great on chicken.

I’m sure that you could use this BBQ Chicken Rub on meats other than chicken if you wanted to. Last summer I definitely used the pork rub on a few other things (grilled skirt steak and these Smokey Grilled Sweet Potato Wedges), but I’ve only used it so far on BBQ Chicken.

I definitely think it would be work experimenting to create a BBQ Pulled Chicken version of Crockpot Mexican Chicken to use for Pulled Chicken Sliders, like these Honey Pecan BBQ Sauce Chicken Sliders. I’ll report back if I try it and it is a success.

Homemade spice mixes, like this BBQ Chicken Rub, are simple to prepare and customize according to your personal preferences. This particular recipe has brown sugar, salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, and smoked paprika.

I love how you have total control over what goes into the mix. If you don’t like a particular flavor, you can leave it out. If you want something more peppery, then you can add more pepper. Or if you’re watching your sodium intake, you can decrease the amount of salt.

I love that this BBQ Chicken Rub stores well in a jar so that you can make a large batch ahead of time and use it throughout the year. Homemade seasoning mixes make great homemade pantry staples and serve as a homemade gift for the BBQ lover in your life.


If you want to try your hand at making a few more homemade spice mixes for your pantry or gifting purposes, here are a few recipes that you might want to check out:

Spicy Taco Seasoning is perfect to keep on hand to make taco nights super quick.

I think this Cajun Spice Mix would be really good on chicken!

Zesty Italian Seasoning Mix would go great on a variety of meats, but I’m also thinking it would make some really delicious herbed dipping oil!

I like the idea of this Homemade Ranch Seasoning. I would sprinkle it all over my Homemade Microwave Popcorn!

What are your favorite homemade spice mixes?

BBQ Chicken Rub

Yield: 2 cups

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 0 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Homemade BBQ Chicken Rub features a mix of brown sugar, salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, and smoked paprika for a flavorful homemade spice rub.


  • 1 1/4 cups Brown Sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons Chili Powder
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons Kosher Salt
  • 1 tablespoon Cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Smoked Paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder


Add the brown sugar, black pepper, chili powder, kosher salt, cumin, smoked paprika, and garlic powder to a medium sized mixing bowl. Using a wire whisk, mix until well combined.

Alternatively, you may sift the spices together with a mesh strainer or flour sifter or another method is to add all of the ingredients to a food processor and process until well mixed.

After combining, transfer the mixture into a clean, dry container that has a lid (such as a glass jar). Store the Homemade BBQ Chicken Rub covered in a cool, dry place, such as a pantry or spice cabinet.


Use this as a dry rub on chicken drumsticks or on a whole chicken (make sure to get some under the skin and inside the cavity for a whole chicken). Cook the meat on your grill or smoker as you normally would.