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Quick Rub for Roast or Grilled Chicken

July 2, 2015

By Kath Dedon


I’ve become a huge fan of rubs. Rubs are a great way to quickly add a lot of flavor to grilled or roasted meats. There’s no need to plan ahead to marinate the meat. A good rub makes summer meals super simple.

I recently tried my hand at Tom Douglas’ rub for salmon and it was fantastic. Inspired by that experience, I wanted to come up with a rub for chicken.

I found a rub from Bon Appétit online. They call it 4-3-2-1 Spice Rub. The numbers refer to tablespoons: 4 tablespoons kosher salt, 3 tablespoons light brown sugar, 2 tablespoons paprika, 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper. That seemed like a good place to start, but I wondered if that much salt was necessary.

I’ve played around with it over the past month. I roasted a spatchcocked chicken. (It was my first time spatchcocking. It’s very easy to do with good poultry shears.) I grilled chicken thighs over indirect heat. And most recently, I roasted chicken thighs in the oven. This Quick Rub for Roast or Grilled Chicken proved to be excellent each time.

Using half as much salt as Bon Appétit used, the rub was still excellent. I have Aleppo pepper and I used that. I don’t know if it makes a real difference. If you can’t find it, just substitute ground ancho pepper or some other ground pepper with moderate heat.

So here it is. I think it’s ready for prime time. If you try this Quick Rub for Roast or Grilled Chicken, please let me know what you think.


Rub for Roast or Grilled Chicken


Quick Rub for Roast or Grilled Chicken

(Inspired by Tom Douglas’ Chicken Rub and Bon Appétit’s 4-3-2-1 Spice Rub)


(print the recipe)


Makes about ½ cup


3 tablespoons maple sugar (I like the flavor that maple sugar contributes, but you can substitute brown sugar.)

2 tablespoons smoked paprika

2 tablespoons kosher salt

1½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper (or substitute ancho pepper)

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon granulated garlic


1. Combine all of the ingredients and store the rub in a jar.

Measured in the bowl


Chicken Rub spices mixed together


2. To use, generously sprinkle some rub over chicken and rub it into the skin. Roast or grill the chicken.


Chicken thighs skin-side down in an oiled cast iron skillet. I spread the rub on this side.

rub on bottom of chicken thighs


I turned the thighs skin-side up and generously sprinkled the rub on each one.

rub on top of thighs


I then rubbed the rub in, covering the thighs.

rubbed in


Ready for the oven! I roasted them in a preheated 450 degree oven for about 30 minutes.

ready to roast


Here’s proof that I did spatchcock a chicken. This one’s ready to go into the oven. Chickens cook faster when spatchcocked; this was a big bird and it took about 45 minutes at 450 degrees.

spatchcocked chicken


Happy 4th of July Weekend! 

Rub for Roast or Grilled Chicken 2

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Dave permalink
    July 3, 2015 4:03 am

    Just a reminder that when using Kosher salt as opposed to table salt, 2 tsp of Kosher salt equals 1 tsp of regular table salt so what seems like a lot of salt really isn’t.

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