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Perfect Smoked Chicken Rub


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Looking for a delicious smoked chicken rub you can make at home? THIS IS IT! Amazing on smoked, grilled or roasted chicken, this rub is the perfect seasoning for chicken!

Folks, this is THE rub. Most of us that love to smoke meat spend quite a bit of money on barbecue rubs, trying to find the right combo. And they aren't cheap! Here in Kansas City, you'll find hundreds of barbecue rubs on the shelves because love our barbecue! And, everyone has a "secret recipe." Well today I'm sharing my secret smoked chicken rub!

Warning! This chicken rub recipe has some kick to it. But don't worry, it's easy to fix if you don't like spicy food! I have some suggestions below: 

Modifications for Smoked Chicken Rub: 

  • If you don't like spicy food, completely omit or lessen the cayenne pepper. 
  • Add 2-3 tablespoons or brown sugar to provide a sweet balance and help to form a caramelized crust. 
  • Kick up the garlic for a more garlicky flavor 
  • If you do not have white pepper on hand, substitute black pepper. It will be fine! White pepper has a milder flavor, but otherwise provides a similar flavor. 

Smoked Chicken Rub

This smoked chicken rub is excellent on other proteins as well.

But, it packs powerful flavor, so choose a substantial protein that can hold up to it.

It would overwhelm scallops, if you catch my drift! Here are some other ways to use this rub recipe: 

Alternate uses for Smoked Chicken Rub:

  1. Rub on a turkey breast. This is a delicious smoked turkey breast rub. Try it instead of Italian dressing and seasoning in this Grilled Turkey Breast recipe!
  2. Rub on salmon, but add a few tablespoons of brown sugar. This makes a great smoked salmon rub. Substitute it for the rub in this Smoked Salmon Recipe!
  3. Rub on fatty, meaty cuts of pork like pork butts and shoulders. This makes a great pulled pork rub. Use it instead of the seasoning listed in this slow cooker pulled pork recipe!
  4. And, you can use it on Smoked Chicken Breast or Smoked Chicken Quarters! 

Smoked Chicken Rub

I hope that you enjoy this seasoning for chicken. If you use it on something other than chicken, let me know how it was in the comments!

Homemade Chicken Seasoning - Chicken Spice Rub


Perfect Smoked Chicken Rub

Smoked Chicken Rub

This smoked chicken rub recipe creates enough rub for about 2 whole chickens.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes


  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons paprika*
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar 
  • 1.5 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, but recommended)**


  1. Combine ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Apply to your favorite meat before cooking.


*Smoked paprika is great, if you have it on hand! Otherwise, use normal paprika.

**If you don't like spicy foods, add just a dash of cayenne pepper instead of the amount called for.

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Thursday 15th of April 2021

made this and smoked some and baked some both good smoked GREAT Thanks

Michelle Goth

Wednesday 21st of April 2021

LOVE to hear that. Thanks Glenn!


Sunday 28th of March 2021

I'm going to try this today I'll let you know how it turns out. Thanks for your recipe looking forward to a great result!

Michelle Goth

Tuesday 30th of March 2021

Hope it turned out great!


Thursday 28th of January 2021

Just wanted to say thanks for your recipe - I tried it on some leg quarters (bone in and skin on) and breasts (boneless and skinless) I was smoking today and it came out great!

Michelle Goth

Friday 29th of January 2021

Lance, that is awesome! I'm so glad it turned out for you. Thanks for letting me know! :)

Smoked Pulled Pork - Perfect Every Time! - Blackberry Babe

Friday 17th of April 2020

[…] Perfect Smoked Chicken Rub […]


Friday 20th of March 2020

Thank you for sharing the recipe. Personally, I would alter it by either adding or substituting entirely regular paprika for the smoked one. I use it daily and doubt it would spoil your otherwise great recipe.... :)


Michelle Goth

Friday 20th of March 2020

I wholeheartedly agree with you! I love smoked paprika too. I've used it as well, and yes, fabulous!

For readers looking at this comment, use what you have, but yes, smoked paprika is delicious in this!

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