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Grilled Dry Rub Chicken Legs

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I really can’t have a backyard barbecue these days without Grilled Dry Rub Chicken Legs! Ten different spices blend together to create what really might be the most flavorful dry rub I’ve ever tasted. If you’re looking to grill some seriously mouthwatering chicken legs, this is the recipe you need to use!

Chicken legs are cooked on a black grill.

Guys, it’s time – and I think you know what time I mean. It’s summertime, and that means it’s grilling time!

Soak up some sun and enjoy some chicken legs fresh off the grill, and make sure they’re seasoned to absolute perfection with this easy, yet oh-so bold dry rub recipe.

This dry rub contains sweet ingredients like rich brown sugar, and spicy ingredients like cayenne pepper, just to name a couple. There truly is something in there for everyone with this recipe! There are dried herbs that create an earthy undertone to the rub, while ingredients like smoked paprika powder really compliment the grilled goodness of the chicken legs.

I wouldn’t describe this dry rub as sweet, nor would I describe it spicy. Really, it meets somewhere in the middle to create a savory mix that’s indescribably delicious.

When you use this dry rub on your chicken legs at a backyard barbecue, they might get even more attention than the usual crowd favorites like steak and ribs!

Additionally, you can make this dry rub in bulk to keep in your spice cabinet and use on a variety of different proteins and vegetables!

Chicken legs are finished grilling, and parts of them are blackened.


  • Brown sugar – You can use light or dark brown sugar.
  • Salt – Kosher salt works best for this dry rub.
  • Black pepper – Always use freshly ground black pepper for the best flavor.
  • Onion powder – The sweet onion flavor this provides the rub is complimentary to the brown sugar, and helps to balance the other more savory flavors.
  • Garlic powder – If you want to add just a pinch extra, go for it! I love garlic too. Just be careful not to go overboard, as garlic powder can overpower the other ingredients.
  • Smoked paprika powder – The delicate smoked flavor that this paprika provides is SO mouthwatering, especially on grilled chicken legs!
  • Dried parsley – This brightly flavored dried herb helps to enhance the other flavors in this rub.
  • Dried thyme – Although dried thyme can taste pretty sharp, it blends perfectly with the other herbs in this recipe.
  • Dried oregano – Oregano can be quite pungent, so be careful not to add too much!
  • Cayenne pepper – For a spicier batch of grilled chicken legs, double the amount of cayenne pepper.
  • Chicken legs – I use bone-in, skin-on chicken legs and they always turn out perfect. Just be sure to pat them dry with a paper towel.
Grilled chicken legs are placed on a sheet of parchment paper.

Can I use another cut of chicken?

Yes, definitely. Boneless, skinless chicken thighs would be great or boneless, skinless chicken breasts!

How long will the dry rub stay fresh?

In an airtight container at room temperature, your blend of seasonings should stay fresh for up to 2 weeks. Try to keep in in a cool, dark spot away from direct sunlight.

If you have any leftover grilled chicken legs, they’ll stay fresh in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

A bite of a chicken leg has been removed to show perfectly cooked white meat.

How do I know when my chicken legs are fully cooked?

The rule of thumb when grilling chicken is to always use a meat thermometer!

When the chicken reads at 165°F, it’s fully cooked and safe to eat.

Make sure to check the meat around the bone; that’s usually where it takes longest to cook.

A big batch of chicken legs is cooked and ready to eat.

Impress everyone at the barbecue with these other grilled favorites!

Grilled Peri Peri Chicken Drumsticks

Salted Lime Butter Grilled Shrimp Skewers

Grilled Flank Steak with Chimichurri

Triple Mushroom and Herb Grilled Pizza

Grilled Beef Satay

Grilled Dry Rub Chicken Legs

Ten different spices blend together to create what really might be the most flavorful dry rub I've ever tasted. If you're looking to grill some seriously mouthwatering chicken legs, this is the recipe you need to use!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 10 chicken legs
Author: Julie Chiou
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  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoon smoked paprika powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 ½ pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken legs, (about 10 legs), damp dry by patting with a paper towel

The default measuring system for this website is US Customary. Unit conversions are provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. While we strive to provide accurate unit conversions, please be aware that there may be some discrepancies.



  • Preheat the grill to medium heat and oil the grates.
  • Mix the brown sugar, salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika powder, parsley, thyme, oregano and cayenne powder together in a shallow bowl then dredge each of the chicken legs in the spice rub until all of the sides are coated.
  • Grill the legs on the grill on all three sides or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 °F
  • Serve with freshly chopped parsley if desired.

Recipe Notes

This chicken can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.


Serving: 1 chicken leg | Calories: 262 kcal | Carbohydrates: 18 g | Protein: 15 g | Fat: 15 g | Saturated Fat: 4 g | Trans Fat: 1 g | Cholesterol: 84 mg | Sodium: 430 mg | Potassium: 231 mg | Fiber: 1 g | Sugar: 16 g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: grilled chicken, grilling
Recipe Rating


Sunday 20th of March 2022

Great recipe. I grilled indirect most of the time, and the direct the last 5, half the time on each side. Great blend of spices!


Sunday 18th of July 2021

I enjoyed this recipe very much!! I was a little worried that I’d have trouble grilling with a brown sugar based rub due to flame flare ups but no issues! The end product was slightly sweet but not overwhelming and also savory and tasty! I will definitely use this again! Thank you 😊