roasted chicken thighs with mediterranean-style dry-rub mixtureroasted chicken thighs with mediterranean-style dry-rub mixtureroasted chicken thighs with mediterranean-style dry-rub mixtureroasted chicken thighs with mediterranean-style dry-rub mixtureroasted chicken thighs with mediterranean-style dry-rub mixtureroasted chicken thighs with mediterranean-style dry-rub mixtureroasted chicken thighs with mediterranean-style dry-rub mixtureroasted chicken thighs with mediterranean-style dry-rub mixture

… composed of a blend of dried aromatic herbs, onion and garlic powders, dried lemon zests and of course salt, ground green peppercorns and the most interesting secret ingredient of baking powder, for even crispier skin, all finely ground into a an herbal and zesty Mediterranean powder for dry-basting overnight before roasting.

What is a dry rub or dry marinade or dry baste and why use it instead of a liquid marinade or wet baste on foods to be later cooked ? 

The big advantage of dry rubs is that they don't add any additional moisture to the exterior of a piece of meat the way that a marinade does. Whenever you apply heat to chicken thighs, chops or ribs, the moisture on the surface needs to evaporate before a crust and sear can start to develop, so dousing them in liquid beforehand doesn't make much sense.

A dry rub, which is, naturally dry, is going to allow you to attain that beautifully crisp crust, and even a caramelized crust, if there’s sugar added in that dry rub mixture, which is often the case for more summery barbecue dry rub preparations.

Mediterranean flavor blends for different preparations often include lemon juice, fresh aromatic herbs, garlic, onion and a variety of different spices, either mild or powerful. The difference here is that all the ingredients are dried, thus perfect for the colder wintery months.

This relatively simple and straightforward herbal & zesty dry basting mix focuses on complementing the natural tastiness of roasted chicken thighs, without overpowering it.

The addition of baking powder included in this mix, will remove any remaining moisture in the skins to tighten the skins around the meat and seal in all the flavors, while crisping the outer skin to its maximum without drying out the underlying meat.

The best approach is to finely chop the dried herbs first in a food processor and then grind them even more, using an empty pepper mill and finally combining the crushed herbs with the salt, ground peppercorns, onion and garlic and baking powders in a mortar and pestle to grind them until they become an even finer powder.

This is obviously what takes the longest to do, so I always make double to quadruple the amount of dry rub mixture needed, because it’s easier to get a better and finer grind in a small food-processor when it is more filled-up as opposed to emptier.

If you’ve made enough of the dry rub mixture for several meal preparations, simply store the excess in a jar, to save you the preparation time for the next time you make this dish.

To prepare the chicken thighs, lemon juice is the first step, which helps to prepare the skin, tightening it up, until drier, to receive the powdery dry-baste mixture and once that is done, resting time, uncovered on a rack and in a cold and dry environment, such as the refrigerator, is ideal and could go from a minimum of 12 hours or up to 36 hours maximum, but 24 hours is the easiest to organize in people’s daily schedules.

Be clever and make more of this simple mixture, so that half the job is already done, the next time you have a craving for Mediterranean-style roasted chicken, whether thighs, wings, drumsticks or even whole … :)

roasted chicken thighs with mediterranean-style dry-rub mixture


8 pieces x 100 grams each


meat preparation :

  • 1 kg (8-10) chicken thighs (with the skin on)
  • 30-45 ml (2-3 tbsp) fresh lemon juice

dry rub mixture (30 grams) :

  • 12,5 grams (1 tbsp) fine sea salt (or 2 tsp fine sea salt + 1 ½ tsp smoked salt)
  • 1 gram (¼ tsp) baking powder
  • 1 gram (1 tsp) onion powder
  • 1 gram (1 tsp) garlic powder
  • 1 gram (½ tsp) ground green peppercorns
  • 1 gram (1 tsp) dried lemon zest (from 1 tbsp or 3 grams fresh lemon zest)
  • 12,5 grams (4 tbsp) dried aromatic herbs mix (1,5 grams or 1 ¼ tsp each of dried oregano, thyme, rosemary, savory, tarragon, sage, basil, parsley, mint and 1 whole bay leaf)


  • preheat the oven to 180°C
  • zest the lemons and place the zests on a small baking sheet covered with baking paper, turn off the oven and bake for 3 minutes maximum until drier, then verify if the zests are dry enough and if not, open the oven door and let the zests cool down in the oven for a few more minutes, then remove and transfer to a little container
  • place the room temperature chicken thighs on a rack over a baking pan and juice the zested lemons and either brush the chicken thighs with the lemon juice or spray them with the lemon juice on all sides, then recuperate the excess juice on the bottom of the pan and spray or brush again and set aside for 30-45 minutes until dry again
  • measure out your dry rub ingredients and set everything aside
  • place all the dried herbs in a small food-processor and pulse until much finer (if you don’t have a small food-processor, you can use an empty pepper mill, but it takes longer)
  • *note : this mixture of herbs resembles the well-known “herbes de provence” blend so feel free to use that instead of measuring everything out yourself …
  • when the dried herbs are finer, combine them with the ground peppercorns, onion and garlic powders, baking powder and salt and use a mortar and pestle to grind them until very fine (the salt helps to grind everything finer)
  • measure out the amount you need for your preparation and store the remaining dry rub in a small jar (you will need approximately 30 grams or 4 tbsp of fine powder for each kilogram of meat used)
  • dry the baking pan that is under the rack with the chicken thighs  (to recuperate the excess dry rub powder that will fall off the chicken thighs) and use a small strainer or sieve to sprinkle the chicken thighs with the dry-rub mixture on all sides, then continue sprinkling the chicken thighs with the mixture and recuperate the powder that has not adhered and sprinkle again until all the amount needed is used
  • place the rack with the chicken thighs in the refrigerator and let sit for 12 hours minimum or up to 36 hours maximum before roasting
  • remove the rack of dry-rubbed chicken thighs from the refrigerator and let them come to room temperature for at least 30 minutes, placed on top of a large baking pan
  • preheat the oven to 230°C at broil with the rack in the middle and broil the chicken thighs for 15 minutes, then flip over the chicken thighs to broil  the undersides for another 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 200°C, switch from broiling to baking, flip the chicken thighs over again and roast for an additional 15-20 minutes until well-cooked
  • *note : if you prefer, you can broil the chicken thighs at 230°C on the upper rack for only 5-7 minutes on one side and then 5-7 minutes on the other side and then switch to the middle rack, flip them over and bake at 200°C for another 30 minutes … 
  • remove from the oven and serve with a simple green salad or partly pre-boiled and seasoned vegetables that you can roast in a pan under the rack of chicken thighs as they are roasting too.