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Sweet BBQ Rub for Chicken
Prep Time
10 mins
Total Time
10 mins

Sweet BBQ Rub for Chicken is a quick and easy dry BBQ rub that's perfect for adding a lot of flavor to your grilled chicken or even pork! 

Course: Seasoning
Cuisine: American
Keyword: spice rub, sweet and smokey rub, sweet BBQ rub
Author: Malinda Linnebur
  • 1/4 cup (45g) packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon each chili powder, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • 1/4 -1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  1. In a small bowl combine all ingredients. Store any leftovers in a small jar with a tight fitting lid. 

Recipe Notes

So how do you use a rub on a chicken?

Great question because there are a couple of ways you can do this. First, if you are using a large cut of meat such as a whole chicken or if you are using this on a large cut of pork (roasts) I like to apply the rub and wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2+ hours. For a smaller piece of meat (chicken pieces, pork chops...) just apply it shortly before grilling. 

To apply the rub dry the meat well with a paper towel. Sprinkle all sides of the meat with the spice rub coating it well then gently press the rub into the meat. You can also smear a small amount of olive oil on the meat after drying it. Then sprinkle with spice rub and rub it into the meat. I like to use a little oil when I am cooking dryer cuts of meat. 

Sweet and smokey rub recipe

This dry BBQ rub has a subtle smokey flavor to it. Don't worry it's not overwhelming just a subtle hint. It comes from smoked paprika but if you don't like it don't worry just omit it. It will still taste great without it. 

Also, this rub is very customizable. If you want more heat feel free to up the amount of cayenne pepper. If there is a spice you really don't like just omit it or replace it with something similar. Having said that don't substitute the dark brown sugar or the kosher salt. Both are the vital components to a basic sweet rub. 

What to serve with this BBQ chicken?

I have several options for you!