Are you tired of dried out baked, roasted, or grilled chicken? Are you wondering how to lock in that tasty and moist juice?
Throw out marinades, oils, and lemons, and look into using a dry rub instead!
Why Use a Dry Rub?
A dry rub (especially in combination with dry brining) seals the skin against moisture loss.
Basically, it dries out the skin of the chicken and traps juicy goodness on the inside rather than allowing it to escape.
Here’s the deal:
You want to make your own seasoning mixture with bulk spices rather than buying a commercial product.
A commercial product will be mostly salt. Why pay premium prices for salt?
Moreover, this technique is best used with dry brining, which introduces salt into the meat well before the rub is added. If salt is in your mixture, the poultry will be way too salty when it’s finished.
This colorful mixture is suitable for:
- Whole Chicken
- Wings and Drumlets
- Cornish Hens
Pretty much, if it clucks, crows, or gobbles, it’s fair game to be brined and rubbed.
You can use this recipe to flavor poultry prepared via a wide range of cooking methods, including baking, roasting, grilling and smoking, and even deep frying. (Deep fried turkey, anyone?)
This recipe contains the following ingredients (the links go to Amazon to help you find them):
- Ground Mustard
- Granulated Garlic
- Ground Black Pepper
- Onion Powder
- Dried Ground Thyme
- Dark Brown Sugar (pick this up at your local grocery store – it’s too pricey online)
Note that I used 1/4 cup of dried thyme leaves but ground leaves (as linked above) would be better for a rub. If you use ground thyme, consider reducing the amount to 3 tablespoons.
All-Purpose Dry Rub for Chicken Recipe
Bonus Recipe: Dry Brined and Rubbed Roasted Chicken
An easy way to cook your chicken is a simple roast in the oven. I dry brined a chicken for 24 hours, added the rub, and roasted her in a large convection toaster oven (I used my beloved Breville Smart Oven Pro).
- 3-4 oz. flaky sea salt (not coarse but not super fine either; that being said, use what ya got)
- 3-4 oz. Mike’s All-Purpose Dry Rub For Chicken
Step 1 – Dry Brining
You’ll want to dry brine your bird with sea salt for a minimum of six hours – 24 is even better.
Step 2 – Add the Rub
Transfer your bird to a clean baking pan and pour a bit of the rub over the skin.
Spread the rub generously over the bird, making sure to get into all cracks and crevices.
Once both sides of the bird have sufficient coverage, place the fowl on its breast with the back right-side up. If needed, temporarily remove the bird and knock any loose material into the trash.
Step 3 – Bake/Roast
Preheat the oven or convection toaster oven to 350°F and set the timer for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Once the temperature is up to par, place the pan into the oven and go have a beer/glass of wine (or two… who am I kidding? … three).
Step 3 – Let Cool and Dig In!
Once the bird reaches 180°F (in about 75 minutes – check with a meat thermometer), remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool. At this temperature and for this duration, the seasonings on top will slightly blacken. This is a good thing, as it tells you that the sugar in the rub has fully caramelized.
You will find that you have a super crispy crust with truly juicy meat. And flavors that will absolutely floor you.
Trust me, once you start dry brining and using a dry rub, you’ll never cook chicken with anything else.
Even the breast is super moist with this method.
Also, as previously mentioned, you can use this technique for roasting/baking, smoking, and grilling.
What about you? Do you have any favorite poultry dry brine recommendations?
And if you love this homemade seasoning mix, be sure to take a gander at my favorite pork version.
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Photos by Mike Quinn, © Foodal / Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details.
About Mike Quinn
Mike Quinn spent 20 years in the US Army and traveled extensively all over the world. As part of his military service, Mike sampled coffee and tea from all virtually every geographic region, from the beans from the plantation of an El Salvadorian Army Colonel to "Chi" in Iraq to Turkish Coffee in the Turkish Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. He spent nearly a decade in the Republic of Korea where he was exposed to all forms of traditional teas. Mike formerly owned and operated Cup And Brew, an online espresso and coffee equipment retail operation.