Rubbing Chicken The Right Way

This week we told you about the good natured rivalry over at the Schroon Lake Fish and Game Club between those who barbecue the chickens, and those who boil the lobsters, for their annual end of summer bash.

Joe Steiniger, of the chicken crew, cried fowl a few years back when the lobsters got top billing at the event. You can read Joe’s very funny post on his North Country Rambler blog.

It was in that blog post  Joe revealed one of the secrets that make the chicken he and his crew barbecue taste so good – a dry rub that is applied to the birds the night before they hit the grill.  Joe’s recipe is stunningly simple:

Standard Dry Rub Recipe:

5 parts Kosher salt.

3 parts (each) freshly ground black pepper, light brown sugar, and sweet paprika

1 part (each) dry mustard, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, dried oregano.And you can use whatever measurement you want for “a part”   --  a cup, half cup, or as Joe points out “a hat”.

Once I read the rub recipe, I had to try it. I applied it to bone in chicken thighs with the skin removed. So eager was I that  I didn’t follow Joe’s advice to let the chicken sit the night before of morning of with the rub. My chicken had barely an hour with the rub.

I grilled it over direct heat over white hot charcoal, searing each side for a few minutes, before finishing it off on the other side of the grill on indirect heat. The Weber kettle cover was on for about 20 minutes.

The chicken was stunning – extremely juicy, with the heat of the chili powder, combined with the smoky paprika and garlic and onion powders and other ingredients giving these thighs a very authentic barbecue taste. The flavors of the rub, tenderizing the meat, elevated these birds into something memorable. This rub makes the case that you really don’t need a barbecue sauce.

We did try a piece with some of the new sauce offerings from Schroon’s Mr. P’s Smoke house and the experience was enhanced by the shear heat of some kick butt peppers Mr P uses in his sauces. Yes, we do like it hot!

Got a barbecue rub or sauce recipe you wanna share? Tell us about it in comments.