Smoked Turkey Rub

Use this smoked turkey rub to impart a savory bbq flavor to any poultry dish.
smoked turkey rub

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This bbq turkey rub is super easy to make and is perfectly balanced to complement the flavor of smoked turkey.

Sometimes it’s hard finding the right balance to suit everyone, but this turkey rub pretty much nails it.

Why I make my own rubs

Over the years I have loved experimenting with flavor profiles when making my own rubs. I then went through a stage of buying commercial rubs.

I figured if these people were winning competitions with their recipes, they must be good.

Well, they are but I also know most of the ingredients they use, if not all of them, are readily available in my own pantry.

So what’s in this turkey rub?

This is a great base rub that can be adjusted to your tastes and also can be used on other proteins.

It’s a mix of smoked paprika, brown sugar, salt, pepper, thyme, rosemary, mustard powder, garlic powder, and onion powder.

smoked turkey breast
If you want to see this turkey rub in action check out our smoked turkey breast recipe.

Here are a few tips on how to tweak it:

  • This rub is perfect for turkey and chicken alike, if you wish to use it on pork, double the paprika, and sugar quantities and add a little chili to taste, I recommend starting with a ¼ teaspoon of cayenne at first.
  • Alternatively, if you feel it is lacking the ‘kick you in the pants’ type heat that you like, you can add some chili into it, I do stress starting small and building up. A little goes a long way when using chili.
  • If you find there’s too much of a smokey flavor, you can use normal paprika, or to give a slightly sweeter taste, go the sweet paprika.
  • If you want to use this on beef, remove the sugar and double the salt and pepper amounts used and half the paprika and you’ll be good to go.

Using The Rub

I think the most common mistake for people new to smoking, and also some who have been doing it for a while is, they actually rub on their dry rubs.

bowl of rub and white plate with raw turkey breast on it

Don’t do it, a dry rub should be evenly sprinkled from a distance of around 12″ above the protein to get a uniform and even coverage over the meat.

Make sure you shake the rub up before each use and you’ll get the same taste every time.

raw turkey breast coated in rub on a white plate
Allow the rub to sit on the meat for at least 30 minutes to start activating with the outer part of your protein.

In reality, you should remove the meat from your fridge, trim it if needed and apply the rub while it is cold and then leave it to get to room temperature, which usually takes an hour or so.

This is plenty of time for the rub to activate, drawing moisture from the protein’s outermost layer to help bind the rub to it.


For storage purposes, I tend to transfer any remaining rub into an airtight container as the sugar content generally cakes up and the whole rub turns into a spice brick, you can loosen this up with a fork but by storing it correctly, you eliminate the needs to loosen it the next time you need it.

We have a great range of homemade rubs you can try

smoked turkey rub

Smoked Turkey Rub

A super easy rub to make, perfectly balanced to compliment the flavor of smoked turkey
4.95 from 20 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Condiment / Sauce
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1 turkey breast
Calories: 345kcal
Author: Jordan Hanger


  • 4 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp  salt flakes
  • 2 tbsp black pepper finely ground
  • 1 tbsp Thyme dried
  • 1 tbsp Rosemary dried
  • 1 tbsp mustard powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp onion powder


  • Mix all ingredients well.
  • Coat the meat evenly.
  • Allow the rub to activate on the meat for at least 30 minutes.
  • Store in an airtight jar.


Calories: 345kcal | Carbohydrates: 74g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 20973mg | Potassium: 1128mg | Fiber: 17g | Sugar: 39g | Vitamin A: 14254IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 266mg | Iron: 11mg
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