Dry Rub for Chicken
Dry Rubs for Chicken and Poultry
Let’s face it. Chicken is about as tasteless a piece of meat as you can find until you add the perfect dry rub. This also applies to other poultry meats such as turkey as well. But adding a good dry rub to your chicken and you have one of the easiest and best pieces of meat to cook. Poultry in inexpensive, has less fats in it, and cooks pretty darn quick compared to larger pieces of meat. It is also pretty darn versatile in that we can use it on salads, on sandwiches, and in some great casserole dishes. Sounds like the makings of some pretty darn good eating so let’s get started.
A good dry rub for a chicken will get this piece of meat from the boring to the WOW stage with just a little work. There are a couple of things that you need to be aware of in order to make the dry rub work best on the chicken. It is a bit more complicated than rolling a chicken around in a pile of dry rub and throwing it on the smoker or in the oven and we are going to cover that for you.
A chicken dry rub will be lighter on the salts and include a bit more of the savory down to earth spices such as onion and garlic. This will boost the flavor of the chicken and not overwhelm the chicken with too much salt. And there are a couple of special ways to prepare a chicken so the spices of the dry rub actually penetrate the meat. And I know you are thinking I am going to talk about brining the bird as there is a lot of discussions going around that discuss brining and what it does to the flavor of the chicken. And I do not like to have to fool around for a few hours preparing the brine, then placing the chicken in the brine and keeping the bird covered with brine while we keep it cold. Sounds like a lot of trouble and usually we just don’t have the time to do the whole brining thing. So let’s just use a great dry rub and add it to the chicken directly and we are cooking. Right?
Skin on Chicken
The key to applying the dry rub to the chicken with the skin on it is to get the rub under the skin of the chicken. This way the spices are sitting on the meat and not on the skin so they can penetrate the chicken meat without going thru the skin first.
Just take your finger and start where the skin of the chicken is not attached to the meat of the chicken and push your finger up under the skin of the chicken. Try to get to all of the areas that you can including the leg quarter and down in the drumstick of the chicken. Now you want to take your rub and push it under the skin of the chicken and move it all under the skin. Try to get it as even as possible. Listen I know it won’t be perfectly even but just do the best you can. The main goal is to get the dry rub under the skin of the chicken. If you tear the skin it is no big deal but try not to tear it. Now pull the skin back down on the chicken and sprinkle a bit of the dry rub on the skin of the chicken. This will help with making the bird pretty after it has finished cooking.
Skinless Chicken Cooking
If you are cooking skinless chicken it is always best to cook the dark pieces of the meat as these contain more oils in the meat itself and they will stay more moist than the white pieces of meat. Skinless thighs are the best of the dark meat to cook and this seems to be what a lot of the barbecue cooks are cooking these days on the competition circuit. Just sprinkle the dry rub on the meat, coating the entire piece with a nice even sprinkle of the rub. After applying the chicken dry rub cook the pieces and do not over cook them as this will dry them out. Do not over due it as this can really overpower the taste of the meat. Remember layers of flavor on the chicken will add great taste but too much of a good thing is sometimes too much for the meat.
For a skinless chicken breast it is important to first coat the chicken with a thin coat of something that contains oil. Or I like to mix the oil with the rub and then apply that to the chicken which gives you a more even distribution of the rub on the meat. You can use canola oil, peanut oil, or olive oil and then sprinkle on the dry rub. This will give the chicken breast some oil to help keep it moist during the cooking of the meat.