This BBQ chicken is chicken pieces that are grilled or baked until juicy and tender, then coated in BBQ sauce and cooked until caramelized. An easy dinner option with minimal ingredients that is always a big hit!
BBQ chicken is a summer staple for good reason – it’s a great way to feed a crowd, simple to make, and goes well with a variety of side dishes. I’ve also provided an option for baked BBQ chicken that’s great to make all year round.
How do you make BBQ chicken?
This recipe starts with bone-in, skin on chicken pieces. You can buy an assortment of your favorite cuts of chicken, or cut a whole chicken into 8 pieces. The chicken pieces are brushed with a little oil and seasoned with salt and pepper, then they go onto the grill. Once the chicken is cooked most of the way through, brush some BBQ sauce over the top. Continue to cook the chicken until it is done, then add a final coating of BBQ sauce and serve.
Tips for the perfect BBQ chicken
- I typically make this recipe with chicken thighs and drumsticks as they are inexpensive and have a lot of flavor. If you use chicken breasts, you may want to cut them in half crosswise so that they cook at the same rate as the smaller chicken pieces.
- You can use any type of BBQ sauce that you like. I typically make my own homemade BBQ sauce, but a high quality store bought sauce is also a great choice.
- This chicken makes great leftovers. You can reheat it in a covered dish in the oven, or in the microwave.
- Looking for even more flavor? Try coating your chicken pieces with BBQ rub before they hit the grill.
- If you don’t have an outdoor grill or it’s too cold to barbecue, use an indoor grill pan or the oven. To cook this chicken in the oven, simply roast it at high heat, brush on sauce towards the end, then broil until the sauce is caramelized.
How long do you barbecue chicken for?
Bone-in skin-on chicken pieces take about 30-40 minutes to cook through. You’ll want to cook the chicken until it’s almost done, then add the sauce during the last 5 minutes of the cooking time. If you add the sauce too soon, it may burn due to the sugar content.
How do you know when chicken is done?
Chicken is safe to eat when a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 165 degrees F. The chicken should not be pink inside, and the juices should run clear. I use a digital thermometer with a remote so that I can monitor the progress of the chicken as it cooks. When the chicken reaches about 160 degrees F, I brush on the BBQ sauce and finish the cooking process.
What can you make with BBQ chicken?
I always make a double batch of chicken so that I have leftovers for another meal! Here are some great options to use up any extra chicken.
- Pulled Chicken Sandwiches
- Chicken Chili
This recipe is a classic for good reason. I love how easy it is to make, and my family and friends love that sweet and smoky flavor!
More recipes you’ll enjoy
- Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken Thighs
- Garlic Butter Grilled Mushrooms
- Grilled Zucchini
- Potato Foil Packets
- Grilled Chicken Breast
BBQ Chicken Video
- 3 pounds bone in, skin on chicken pieces
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups BBQ sauce homemade or store bought, divided use
- Heat a grill to medium heat. Brush the vegetable oil over the chicken pieces and season them generously on both sides with salt and pepper.
- Place the chicken on the grill. Cook for 30-35 minutes, turning occasionally, or until the internal temperature registers at least 160 degrees F.
- Brush half of the BBQ sauce over the chicken pieces. Cook for another 4-5 minutes, turning occasionally, until chicken is cooked through and the internal temperature is at least 165 degrees F.
- Brush the remaining sauce over the chicken and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Let the chicken rest for 5-7 minutes, then serve.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with foil and coat with cooking spray.
- Brush the vegetable oil over the chicken pieces and season them generously on both sides with salt and pepper.
- Bake the chicken for 35 minutes. Brush half the sauce over the chicken. Turn on the broiler and broil for 3-5 minutes or until chicken is browned and caramelized and the internal temperature of the meat is at least 165 degrees F.
- Brush the remaining sauce over the chicken, then serve.