This homemade barbecue chicken rub is sweet, savory, and a little spicy! Use this seasoning blend to make the very best, most flavorful chicken drumsticks ever. Ramp up the barbecue flavor this summer with this easy recipe.
One of the joys of summer is using the grill for dinner and eating it outside. The sound of the meat sizzling on the grill, and the smell of delicious grilled chicken or beef are some of my favorite things about the summer months.
One of our favorite meals to have on the barbecue is grilled chicken legs that have been rubbed with a delicious barbecue spice rub.
This special blend is one that Darryl created years ago, and it’s one of our very favorites! It’s a little spicy, and a little sweet, and it has a ton of flavor.
We like it on drumsticks, thighs, or chicken breasts, but it’s also delicious on barbecue spareribs. Adjust the spice level to your taste by adding a little cayenne pepper if you’d like it hotter.
What is a dry rub?
A dry rub is a blend of spices, sugar, and salt that you rub on chicken, beef, or pork. This blend of seasonings adds a ton of flavor to whatever you’re grilling.
How to make barbecue chicken rub:
- A good spice rub is salty, sweet, and savory. This recipe uses brown sugar, salt, pepper, and spices like onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, and chili powder.
- Combine the spices in an airtight jar. Place the lid on the jar and shake well.
- Rub the spice blend on whatever meat you are grilling. It’s perfect for ribs, chicken, and more. If you’re grilling chicken legs or thighs, make sure to get some under the skin for extra flavor.
This spice rub should stay fresh for about two months in a cupboard or pantry. Store this blend in an airtight jar, and you will always have grill seasoning on hand when you need it! The brown sugar may cause it to stick together if you store it, so always give it a good shake or stir before you use it.
If you’d like to give this recipe as a gift, you can double the batch to give it in a half pint size jar, or make the recipe as is and give it in a 4 ounce glass jar.
How to make seasoned chicken legs on the grill:
- Place the chicken drumsticks in a large bowl, and drizzle olive oil over them.
- Pour the barbecue seasoning over the chicken legs.
- Use your hands to rub the seasoning all over the chicken, making sure to get some underneath the skin for extra flavor. Let the meat sit for about 10 minutes to absorb the flavor.
- Grill over medium heat for about 10 minutes, turning once, then reduce heat to low. Grill until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 175 degrees.
How to tell if chicken is done:
The juices of the chicken should run clear, not pink. You will need to check the internal temperature of the chicken with a meat thermometer. Chicken is safe to eat at 165 degrees, but for chicken legs, the flavor and texture is better if they reach about 175 degrees F. If you are cooking boneless chicken breasts, 165 degrees F should be about right. This article has more tips on how to make sure your chicken is done perfectly.
What to serve with barbecued chicken:
- Creamy Potato Salad with Bacon
- Garden Salad with Avocado Dressing
- Rainbow Roasted Vegetables
- Potato Chips and Dairy Free Chip Dip
- Perfectly Seasoned Roasted Potatoes
Watch the video below to see how to use this seasoning blend on grilled chicken breasts:
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.
Easy Barbecue Chicken Rub.
You'll love this sweet and savory barbecue chicken rub! Take a few minutes to make this spice blend and enjoy the most delicious grilled chicken ever!
For the barbecue seasoning:
- 2 ½ Tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 Tablespoons cumin
- 1 Tablespoon chili powder
- 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 Tablespoon onion powder
- 1 Tablespoon paprika
- ½ Tablespoon salt
- ¼ Tablespoon black pepper
For the chicken:
- 16 chicken drumsticks
- ⅓ cup olive oil
Make the barbecue spice rub:
Combine all dry ingredients in an airtight jar.
Shake or stir to mix well.
Grill the chicken:
Preheat the grill to medium heat.
Place the chicken drumsticks in a large bowl and pour the olive oil over them. Toss to coat.
Sprinkle the seasoning over the drumsticks. Use your hands to evenly distribute the seasoning, pulling back the skin and making sure some spice rub gets under the skin.
Let the chicken sit with the spice rub on it for about 10 minutes.
Place the seasoned chicken legs on the preheated grill. Cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes, turning once.
Put the heat to low, and continue to cook for about 30 minutes, until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 175 degrees when read with a meat thermometer.
Remove the chicken from the grill, and let it rest for about 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
Serving size is 2 drumsticks with barbecue seasoning and olive oil.
You can make this blend ahead of time and store in an airtight jar in a cupboard or pantry. This seasoning blend should stay fresh for about 2 months in an airtight container.
The brown sugar may make this spice rub clump together. Just use a knife to break it apart.
This post was originally published in June 2010. It has been updated with a new recipe and photos.
mmmm sounds yummy!
i just checked out your shop, kelly, and you make beautiful jewelry! i’m so glad you commented on my blog… it’s fun to see new pretty blogs and ‘meet’ talented gals. love your work!!!
My son, the in-house chef, is going to love this!
mmmm thanks so much for sharing. I’ll have to try this out sometime!
hope you have a fabulous day. :)