Hello, Spiced BBQ Chicken Rub

The days are getting longer and the skies are getting (sporadically) drier up here in the Pacific Northwest. And for me that means it’s time to bust out the Weber and get grilling!

My favorite thing to grill is chicken. But not just any chicken. Chicken rubbed in the best spiced rub I have ever tasted. Ever. My Aunt introduced me to this rub at a family reunion in Bass Lake a few years back. My Aunt and Uncle barbecued a few chickens from their harvest and it was the best I’ve ever tasted. In. My. Life. I had to be cut off and then rolled to bed. They had raised the chickens themselves (organic and free range to the max), which makes the quality unbeatable. But, they also used a homemade rub that was total perfection.

Since the reunion, every chicken I have barbecued has been rubbed down with this mixture. As instructed by my Aunt, who is basically a professional chicken handler, I always choose skin-on, bone-in… which has contributed to my experience in extinguishing grease fires too.

As far as grilling preferences go, I am a huge fan of charcoal grilling. The taste just cannot be beat. And while it’s more time consuming than a gas grill and requires a little more practice and strategy, it results in the tastiest food. We bought a Weber grill when our gas barbecue crapped out two years ago and haven’t looked back.

Recipe: The Best Spiced Chicken Rub

  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (adjust depending on how you like heat)
  • zest of 1 whole lemon
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil

Mix all of these ingredients in a bowl. The rub will keep for about a week in the fridge. But I always use it all in one batch.

As far as preparing the chicken for the grill, I follow these steps:

  1. Start with bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces. I like to cook an entire chicken so we have a variety of meats and leftovers.
  2. Rinse the chicken with water and pat it dry.
  3. Apply the rub all over the chicken pieces. Really rub the heck out of it – all over, both sides, under the skin, over the skin, etc. You get it.
  4. I let it marinade for as long as possible, but often only have 30 minutes or so.
  5. Heat the grill to Medium (my Uncle would say Low) and cook, flipping once.
  6. The cook time will depend on the size of your pieces. Use a poultry thermometer if you’re struggling to figure out when the chicken is ready. Look for a temp of 165 degrees.

Because the rub is a little too spicy for my kids, I usually throw a few Applegate Organic hot dogs onto the grill for them. Plus, it leaves more chicken for moi!

Tip: Did you know your butcher will cut a whole chicken up for for free?! I recently found this out when I was complaining to the butcher about how much I dislike cutting up my whole chicken, but that I do it because it’s worth the cost savings. He said, “Give me 5 minutes. How do you want it cut?” Glory glory! Why didn’t I start complaining three years ago?! Anyways, it’s a win win. You buy a whole, organic chicken (saving a few bucks a pound) and the butcher does the dirty work. I even ask them to toss the neck and bits for me.

Cheers to longer days and outdoor grilling!


How do you grill? Gas or charcoal?

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