Sweet Heat Rub for Chicken or Pork

Sweet Heat Rub for Chicken or Pork

I’m a fiend for anything a little sweet and a little spicy. And when it comes in the form of a rub that works well with chicken and pork? Sold. If you’re the same way, this Sweet Heat Rub for Chicken or Pork is gonna be right up your alley.

Sweet Heat Rub for Chicken or Pork

Sweet Heat Rub for Chicken or Pork


This rub is absolutely fabulous on Chicken or Pork. It’s one of my fave rubs to have in the kitchen. Just sprinkle on this rub whenever you’re inspired and let the magic happen. Or better yet, sprinkle it on when you’re not inspired! It’s a great thing to reach for when you want some flavor, you want it easy and you want it now!

About Sweet Heat Rub for Chicken or Pork:

This is a super easy rub made from common kitchen staples so it’s easy to toss it together. It has a little heat, not overpowering, but just enough to balance out the sweet. The flavor of this rub rings out clear and true. There are no herbs in this rub, which can add flavor but also can muddy up the flavors, adding an earthiness – and that’s not what this rub is about.

There is one item in this rub that might not be in everyone’s spice cupboard, and that’s dry mustard powder. You’re gonna find that I use it often in rubs and spice blends and in items like deviled eggs and many summer-type salads like potato salad. It gives a zip that’s just not easily replicated by prepared mustard. I like it so much it’s included in my Top Secret Super Stealth Arsenal of Ingredients.

You can make this rub with any Chili Powder. A common chili powder from the spice aisle works great. You might want to use a special blend from the store or your own homemade one (if you’re into making rubs!) or you might like to go with a single type of chili powder – a powder made from a specific dried chili.

Ancho is mild and earthy and works great here. Chipotle brings its own searing heat to the table.

Sweet Heat Rub for Chicken or Pork

Sweet Heat Rub for Chicken or Pork

Using Sweet Heat Rub for Chicken or Pork:

I love this rub used in combination with a sweeter barbecue sauce. It’s fab with my Honey Chipotle. If you’re going with store-bought, try it with Sweet Baby Ray’s – and no they aren’t paying me to name them! But maybe they should, lol!

Sprinkle this on anything you’d like to light up when getting dinner on the table – maybe on some chops or chicken breast that you’re gonna bake or saute.

Try it on vegetables (it’s great with grilled corn), or try it on fruit. It’s a fun thing to add to grilled pineapple or peaches.

I think you’ll love Sweet Heat Rub on ribs or pork shoulder and you’ll love it, too, on a beer can chicken or an oven-roasted one.

While I usually use this rub dry, lately I’ve been making a paste by adding a bit of oil and spreading it under the skin of a whole chicken to be roasted or one of my favorite spatchcocked chickens. Since chickens like this are usually cooked for longer time periods at a higher heat, spreading the mixture under the skin does three things.

  • One, it adds a lot of flavor both to the skin and to the chicken meat itself.
  • It also helps make for a super crispy skin, especially when that skin is rubbed with a little oil before cooking.
  • Lastly, it prevents any potential burning because of the higher sugar content of the rub.

What will you put your Sweet Heat Rub for Chicken or Pork on?


I always love it when someone uses my recipe, plays with it, tinkers away, and comes up with their own variations! If you do so, be sure to comment below!

Feel free to tinker with the type of chili powder or make any tweaks you’d like. I, of course, think it’s perfect as is! 🙂

Saving Money on this Seasoning:

While I love going to spice shops and exploring what they have to offer, I generally stay away from their mixes and blends! The same goes at the grocery store. I might be inspired by what I see, but blends can be made at home (and customized, too) for a fraction of the cost of store-bought.

Making your own spice rubs is a sure way to not only control the salt content but to not pay for salt! It’s so cheap, a lot of producers like to add salt almost as a filler.

Most of the common ingredients (paprika, chili powder, garlic and onion powder, pepper) can be bought in larger jars from your grocery or big box store, which will save you some money.

If you’d like to see some of my other Spice Blends, check out my collection of Spice, Herb, and Flavor Packets Substitutes.

Sweet Heat Rub for Chicken or Pork

Sweet Heat Rub for Chicken or Pork


Sweet Heat Rub for Chicken or Pork

  • Author: mollie kirby
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1 1/2 cups 1x
  • Category: Spices & Herbs


  • 5 tablespoons sugar (brown or white)
  • 2 tablespoons Kosher salt (or see Morton’s conversion table)
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder (or choose an individual chili powder, like ancho)
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons celery salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard


Mix together, store in a jar in a dark cupboard. Use sprinkled or rubbed on chicken or pork.

Keywords: Barbecue, chicken rub, pork rub, rib rub, rub, Spice & Herb Blends

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I’ll be taking this recipe to Fiesta Friday, hosted this week by Quinn @ Dad What’s 4 Dinner and Monika @ Everyday Healthy Recipes.

A little sweet & a little heat make this Sweet Heat Rub for Chicken or Pork compelling! I dare you to not fiend for anything made with it! #SweetHeat #Barbecue Rub #ChickenRub #PorkRub


20 thoughts on “Sweet Heat Rub for Chicken or Pork

  1. This is a fabulous blend of spices, definitely very handy to have stored in the cupboard to use with white meats. Thank you for sharing with FF:)

  2. I really like your ‘arsenal’ of spices. And, I will be sure to add the mustard. I add hot mustard powder to my potato salad. Even non- potato salad fans love my potato salad. The secret is partly the mustard powder (and I add 1/4-1/2 cup of sour cream.)…Great looking pictures too!!!💗 💗 💗

    • Oh, that sounds wonderful! Sometimes potato salad can be a little slimy, so I love the sour cream tip. When you say “hot” mustard, do you mean like a Coleman’s mustard? I always add a little mustard powder, too, but now I can see I have to up my game. Great tips!! 🙂

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