A good dry rubs takes your cooking and grilling to the next level. This is the best DIY dry rub for chicken and turkey when you want the flavor of a fantastic rotisserie chicken. A dry rub, if you want the technical definition is a dry blend of seasonings, spices and sugar that you rub on meat before cooking it. A good rub is usually about 1/3 salt, 1/3 sugars and 1/3 spices. You can play with what ingredients you use. This ratio is a good rule of thumb. Use this recipe as your baseline and customize it if you want. But it is pretty awesome as it is.
Different Meats Need Different Flavors
Different flavors pair best with certain meats. Rosemary is a natural spice to use with beef or lamb but could overwhelm fish. Pork pair great with allspice, cloves, cinnamon, and ginger. Poultry is enhanced by thyme, marjoram, and dry mustard. While you can use a flavor that is unusual for a certain protein, make it an accent and not the main ingredient. Some spices are core to any dry rub. These include black pepper, paprika (either sweet or smoked or even a combination of the two), cayenne, cumin, and sea salt. Thyme is often added to this basics list to give a nod to the herbal notes.
What about Sugar?
Sugar is used in a rub to help with the bark of cooked protein. It dissolves and caramelizes on the outside of the meat giving a complex taste that is more than just sweet. You don’t have to use just white sugar, try brown sugar or turbinado sugar in the rub to deepen the flavor and color of the meat when cooked.
And Then There Is Salt…
Remember that different salts are made up of different grain structures. This means you have to pay attention to what kind of salt is listed in a recipe. Swapping out regular iodized table salt for kosher salt will make the rub way too salty. Also garlic salt, onion salt, or seasoned salt all count as salt in the 1/3 ratio.
I prefer to use kosher salt since it doesn’t have any additives and the grains are larger and more flakey so it incorporates better into food. Sea salt (I am in Utah the home of Real brand sea salt) is made from evaporated seawater and has a finer grain, is also my go-to salt.
If you are cutting back on salt for health reasons, remember that salt works in two ways: it seasons foods on its own and also enhances (think magnifies) the other flavors. So when you remove most of the salt from a recipe you will need to compensate by added other seasonings and using ingredients (like vinegar and lemon juice) to to the job of brightening the flavors.
Pepper Provides a Spark
When we think basic seasoning, we think salt and pepper. Salt seasons and enhances all flavors, and pepper sparks the heat (as in spice). Your tastebuds want that crackle of taste to provide some variety in the flavor profile. So whether a dry rub has black pepper, white pepper, or cayenne pepper to create that spark, it is important. This doesn’t mean the rub has to be spicy, adjust to your own preference. Just remember to have some sort of spark.
This recipe is my version of the best DIY dry rub for chicken and turkey. I sprinkle it on a whole chicken, or bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs or breasts or turkey parts and let it soak in and get moist-looking (about 15-20 minutes.) This lets the grill get hot and the meat loses its chill. Then onto the heat, the meats go and after a rest, you have a golden glistening taste of heaven that is pure nirvana!Print
This is the best DIY dry rub for chicken and turkey! It gives the meat a warm golden color and fabulous rotisserie flavor.
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons Kosher salt
- 1–1/2 tablespoons sweet paprika
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons lemon pepper
- 2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons parsley
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme
- Mix all ingredients together.
- Store in an airtight container.
Generously apply the best DIY Poultry Dry Rub to a whole chicken, chicken thighs, or chicken breasts and let the meat season for at least 15 minutes before cooking. The rule of thumb is 1 tablespoon of dry rub for every pound of meat.
Combine this rub with 1/2 cup neutral oil to make an easy marinade for your chicken. Great for indoor grilling or baking.
Remember to apply the dry rub between the skin and the meat to improve flavor.