Dry rub for chicken and salmon

Joined Mar 18, 2013
Usually, when I have time, I would fire up my charcoal grill and smoke chicken, brisket, salmon... low and slow.
Recently I bought Masterbuilt electric smoker for more convenient use. Couple days ago I brined the chicken overnight. Next day I split the chicken into halves. On one half I used just salt and pepper. And on the second I used as a dry rub (I found in my cupboard, who knows when I bought it :lol: ) McCormick's Memphis Pit BBQ. It ended good, nice taste. But, I would like to have a rub that I can (re)create any time I need it. In general I don't like the "already prepared" mixes/spices/food.

So, can you suggest a dry rub recipe?

Thanks for any help.



Staff member
Joined Mar 29, 2002
For those two, you might enjoy a Sumac heavy Za'atar. Or just buy whatever za'atar you can and add some extra sumac.

Nothing wrong with Lemon Pepper either. I prefer a no salt variety so I can salt to my taste.

You might enjoy

It walks you through building a rub to your taste. Then you can craft something on the fly that matches your food and mood.
Joined Mar 18, 2013
For those two, you might enjoy a Sumac heavy Za'atar. Or just buy whatever za'atar you can and add some extra sumac...
Hm... Never used (never heard of, to be honest) the Sumac or Zaatar spices...
Something less exotic? :)
Joined May 19, 2014
Ras El Hanout is an awesome rub for grilled chicken, goat, beef etc. You can find it online pretty much anywhere. Exotic is relative to where you are. A simple grilled meat rub is usually (but not always), salt, sugar, garlic (granulated is my go to), chili powder.
I'm sure others will chime in with their own ideas. Happy Grilling!
Joined Nov 5, 2007
A lot of commercially available rubs go pretty heavy on the sugar, as do a lot of recipes. The sugar does help the appearance, as it gives a nice, carmelized glaze to the product.

Here's what I use:

Hoosier Q Rib Rub as of 29-dec-05:

2 T sugar
2 T kosher salt
2 T paprika
1 T onion powder
1 T cumin
1 T dry mustard
1 T granulated garlic
1 T basil
1 T ground allspice
1 T Hot Shot pepper mix

The 'Hot Shot' is basically a 50/50 mix of ground black pepper and cayenne.

Joined Apr 3, 2008
Hm... Never used (never heard of, to be honest) the Sumac or Zaatar spices...
Something less exotic? :)
It's not that exotic dear, it's pretty standard and easy to find. Very very good.

This is not a rub but I made a miso glazed salmon last week that was amazing!!
Joined Sep 5, 2008
Personally I don't like using pre-made rubs or rub recipes as I find them good tasting but limiting. I remember buying tony cachere's creole rub for a while but after a few months I realized that absolutely everything I grilled, be it pork, chicken, beef or salmon, had the same flavor profile!!

So now I've bought a bunch of spices and every time I cook I mix them up however I feel that day.

From memory... I use:

• Garlic granules
• Powdered onion
• Paprika
• Smoked Paprika
• Chili flakes
• Smoked Chili flakes
• Cayenne
• Chipotle powder
• Mustard powder
• Turmeric powder
• Lemon peel powder
• Orange peel powder
• Coriander seeds
• Fennel seeds
• Mustard seeds
• Cumin seeds
• Dried oregano
• Herbes de Provence
• Cardamom pods
• Black peppercorns
• White peppercorns
• Green peppercorns
• Long pepper
• Cloves (whole cloves)
• Star anise (whole pods)
• Cinnamon (whole sticks)
• Nutmeg (whole nuts)
• Dried chilis
• Saffron
• Allspice

So the idea generally starts with a flavor profile based on a country or region. For example (but completely mix and match-abled and customizable):

garlic powder + onion powder + paprika + mustard

white peppercorn + coriander + chili

Saffron + orange or lemon peel + Smoked paprika

Oregano + Cumin + Smoked paprika

Star anise + Cinnamon + Cloves + Fennel

The seeds / peppercorns / pods I first toast in a dry skillet and then pound with a mortar and pestle.

That's actually my favorite part about cooking, where I feel like I can be very creative, and right away it makes the whole kitchen smell delicious.

I often mix those rubs with fresh or wet ingredients such as herbs (parsley, oregano, sage, thyme, cilantro, savory, dill, chives), acids (rice wine vinegar, lime, lemon), fats (yogurt, oil, duck fat), sweets (sugar, honey, palm sugar, muscovado sugar) and umami (soy sauce, fish sauce, worcestershire).

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