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.

Try this BBQ dry rub on your favorite cut of chicken! I recommend chicken drumsticks, a whole chicken, or skin-on bone-in chicken breasts.

bbq chicken rub on silver spoon

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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 (especially since we bought our Traeger Pellet Grill!), 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, or turkey, burgers, grilled steaks or brats, and grilled chicken there really isn’t much space for popping a casserole or a roast in the oven.

Hot casseroles don’t even really sound that good to me this time of year anyway. We’ve been eating like that all summer. Often, I’ll even cook our veggies on the grill. More than once I’ve made garlic bread on the grill.

Anything I can do to not turn the oven on!

Summer meals are definitely some of my favorites to make (and to eat!). Part of it, too, 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 spending the evening in our backyard to take it all in. It is relaxing to 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?

bbq dry rub in glass container next to spoon

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Creating This BBQ Chicken Rub

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. We used it quite a bit that I was inspired to come up with a version that I thought tasted great on chicken.

The most common way that I use this bbq dry rub is when I make this Easy Smoked Chicken, but you could use it with plenty of other recipes as well. And I’m sure that you could use this BBQ Chicken Rub on meats other than chicken if you wanted to.

I have definitely used the pork rub on a few other things (grilled skirt steak and these Smokey Grilled Sweet Potato Wedges).

So far I’ve only used this dry rub for chicken 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.

BBQ Chicken Rub Recipe

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BBQ Chicken Rub Ingredients

This particular recipe has:

  • brown sugar
  • salt
  • pepper
  • garlic powder
  • cumin
  • chili powder
  • and smoked paprika

How to Make Chicken Rub

Homemade spice mixes, like this BBQ Chicken Rub, are simple to prepare and customize according to your personal preferences.

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.

To make this BBQ chicken rub recipe, simply combine all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine.

I love that this dry rub for chicken stores well in a jar so that you can make a large batch ahead of time and use it throughout the year.

My favorite jars for this Homemade BBQ Chicken Rub are these cute Weck Jars! I adore them for storing all of my homemade spice mixes. They’re sturdy, attractive, and stack easily.

More Homemade Spices

If you want to try your hand at making a few more homemade spice mixes, besides this Homemade BBQ Chicken Rub, 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 Garlic Herb Peppercorn Dry Brine is incredible on turkey.

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!

This Homemade Ranch Seasoning is also an all-purpose mix that pairs well with almost anything.

Garlic Herb Salt can be used on salads, croutons, homemade popcorn, and more!

What are your favorite homemade spice mixes?

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BBQ Chicken Rub

BBQ Chicken Rub

Yield: 2 cups
Prep Time: 5 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
  • 1 - 3 tablespoons Freshly Ground Black Pepper, depending on heat preferences
  • 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


  1. Add the brown sugar, black pepper, chili powder, kosher salt, cumin, smoked paprika, and garlic powder to a medium sized mixing bowl.
  2. Using a wire whisk, mix until well combined.
  3. 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.
  4. After combining, transfer the mixture into a clean, dry container that has a lid (such as a glass jar).
  5. 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.

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Nutrition Information
Yield 32 Serving Size 1
Amount Per ServingCalories 32 Total Fat 0g Saturated Fat 0g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 0g Cholesterol 0mg Sodium 516mg Carbohydrates 8g Fiber 0g Sugar 7g Protein 0g
GoodLifeEats.com offers recipe nutritional information as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although GoodLifeEats.com makes every effort to provide accurate information, these figures are only estimates.

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Homemade Spice Blend Recipes

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

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.

Get the Recipe

Homemade Southwestern Pork Rub

Homemade Southwestern Pork Rub features a mix of brown sugar, garlic powder, oregano, chili powder, cumin, pepper, smoked paprika, onion powder, salt and pepper for a flavorful spice rub.

Get the Recipe

Homemade Garlic Herb Salt

Add this recipe for homemade garlic herb salt to your spice cabinet and you’ll never need to purchase garlic herb salt from the grocery store again. Plus, homemade spice blends are super easy to customize exactly how you like! Click HERE to save this recipe for Homemade Garlic Herb Salt! It seems like every January […]

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Garlic Herb Peppercorn Dry Brine for Turkey

This recipe for Garlic Herb Peppercorn Dry Brine is full of flavor and will make your turkey shine on Thanksgiving! Dry brining a turkey is really simple and produces juicy, seasoned turkey meat.

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Spicy Taco Seasoning

A bulk recipe of Spicy Taco Seasoning so you can have it on hand for any needed Mexican food craving!

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