Smoked Chicken Rub Recipe Kicks Up The Flavor

If you like it spicy, you'll love this smoked chicken rub recipe. A blend of several herbs and spices along with a bit of good ol' cayenne pepper gives this one an unforgettable kick of flavor.

Bowl Full Of Spicy Chicken Dry Rub

Adds Great Flavor to Smoked, Grilled or Baked Chickens

This rub isn't just for smoked chickens. It's adaptable, and can be used to season your grilled chicken, and birds cooked in the oven.

Use it on whole chickens, or to season breasts and thighs. It'll add the flavor you want.

Whole Chicken Seasoned With Aromatic Smoked Chicken Rub

This whole bird was seasoned generously with my smoked chicken rub recipe, and is now ready to go into my Masterbuilt smoker.

Putting It All Together - The Smoked Chicken Rub Recipe Ingredients and Directions

For the chicken rub, you'll need...

  • 4 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon (or to taste) of cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage

Combine all of the ingredients well. If the herbs are whole, break them up in a mortar and pestle, or rub them vigorously between your hands. Season the chicken on all sides.

Let it rest in the fridge for an hour before smoking to give the flavors time to absorb. For more flavorful breast meat, put the chicken dry rub under the skin, right against the flesh.

How To Make a Great Tasting Smoked Whole Chicken

Whole Chicken, Seasoned With Piquant Smoked Chicken Dry Rub, In a Masterbuilt Smoker

I used a batch of my smoked chicken rub on that plump bird pictured above. After rinsing and trimming the bird it was seasoned with a few tablespoons of the dry rub mixture. 

I was sure to get it into the nooks and crannies where the legs and wings attach to the body. About one tablespoon was distributed evenly inside the body cavity.

When I have the time, I brine whole chickens before seasoning and smoking. However, I was hungry and in a hurry so I skipped that step this time around.

Stringless Trussing Method For Whole Chickens

Next I used my stringless trussing technique on the legs - one cut with a knife and a little shoving is all it takes. Select one of the pictures below to view the larger format image.

After trussing, the whole chicken went into my Masterbuilt digital electric smoker. Cooking temperature was then set to its maximum of 275˚ Fahrenheit.

Three additions of applewood chips and three hours later, the thigh temperature reached 175 degrees. Perfectly done with great flavor imparted by the smoked chicken rub!

Sometimes I Spatchcock Chickens For The Smoker

Spatchcock Style Chicken Being Smoked In a Weber Smoky Mountain Cooker Near Moab, Utah

I often prepare chickens spatchcock style for smoking. It makes it easy to season all surfaces of the bird for maximum flavor.


With a sturdy pair of kitchen shears, cut along each side of the backbone and remove it.

Spread the rib cage open and press the chicken flat.

Trim off excess skin and fat.

That's all there is to prepping a chicken spatchcock style. In this form the seasonings and smoke easily reach all sides of the chicken. It also decreases the cooking time a bit to boot. And save the backbone and trimmed away scraps for the stock pot.

Graphic showing a close up of an herb rich chicken rub at the top, and a whole chicken seasoned with the rub below.