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 compliment the flavor of smoked turkey.

I have young children who don’t like a lot of heat, my eldest daughter loves everything to be sweet and I prefer savory over sweet. It’s hard sometimes finding the right balance but this turkey rub nails the overall happiness factor for the entire family.

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.

raw turkey breast with rub ingredients on table

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 and I like to play mad scientist.

So recently I have gone back to making my own rubs again and I’m enjoying the flexibility of adjusting the flavors to suit the family’s needs.

About The Turkey Rub

I’m a big believer in making things easy, so it doesn’t get any easier for you to read the quantities of this dry rub, toss them all into a bowl and give a quick mix, and you are done.

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

smoked turkey breast

You can scroll to the bottom of this page to get the full list of ingredients or you can keep reading and find some useful tips and tricks that may just help you BBQ better.

You will find that this is a great base rub that can be adjusted to your taste and also for use on other proteins.

Here are a few other tips:

  • 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 chilli 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 chilli into it, I do stress starting small and building up. A little goes a long way when using chilli.
  • You’ll see I have used smoked paprika if you couldn’t wait and had a sneak peek at the ingredients already; alternatively, if you find there’s too much of a smokey flavour, 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 people new to smoking, and also some who have been doing it for a while is, they actually rub on their dry rubs.

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

To aid in this, I have bought a few cheap rub shakers to transfer my own rubs into.

This tip will help with not only with this rub but any in your panty.

Now, shake them up, stir them, swing them around your head, either way, mix them up properly as the granules of different spices are all varying on size and the smaller particles tend to find themselves at the bottom of shakers, bags, and containers over time.

So shake them up before each use and you’ll get the same taste every time.

The next tip is just as important, 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 of the proteins 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.

smoked turkey

Smoked Turkey Rub

A super easy rub to make, perfectly balanced to compliment the flavor of smoked turkey
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Condiment / Sauce
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1 turkey breast
Calories: 354kcal
Author: Dean “Schuey” Schumann


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


  • Mix all ingredients well and transfer to a shaker.
  • Coat the meat evenly from a height of 12 inches.
  • Allow the rub to activate on the meat for at least 30 minutes.


How to Cook Smoked Turkey Breast on the Weber Smokey Mountain


Calories: 354kcal | Carbohydrates: 74g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 20982mg | Potassium: 1173mg | Fiber: 16g | Sugar: 39g | Vitamin A: 13935IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 268mg | Iron: 13mg
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