Truthfully, I always make my spice rub just a little differently each time, depending on what I have on hand. As long as you include a good dose of chili powder and/or any kind of paprika and some brown sugar, you’re on your way. Salt in spice rubs is optional. Most often it is included, in pretty good quantities, but I prefer to keep the salt proportionally lower and to also add a bit of salt directly to the chicken before putting on the rub. But if you don’t have some of these spices, leave them out or try your hand at your own custom mix. Or simple buy a good rub.

Makes about ½ cup

  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons paprika (or 1 each paprika and smoked paprika)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder

1. Combine the brown sugar, spices, and salt in a small bowl and mix together well. Store in an air-tight container at room temperature for several weeks.