Favorite Barbecue Chicken Recipe

Background and History of Barbecue Chicken

Barbecue chicken is a beloved dish with a rich history rooted in American cuisine, particularly in the Southern United States. Barbecue, or “BBQ,” refers to the method of slow-cooking meat over indirect heat, often using wood smoke to infuse a distinct flavor. Barbecue chicken became popular in the mid-20th century as outdoor grilling gained popularity. This dish typically features chicken pieces coated in a tangy, sweet, and smoky sauce, making it a favorite at cookouts, family gatherings, and summer celebrations.


4 servings


  • Preparation Time: 15 minutes
  • Marinating Time: 1 hour (optional but recommended)
  • Cooking Time: 35-45 minutes
  • Total Time: 50-60 minutes (excluding marinating time)


  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken drumsticks
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce (store-bought or homemade)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, for a bit of heat)


Prepare the Chicken

Pat the chicken thighs and drumsticks dry with paper towels.

Rub the chicken with olive oil, ensuring it is well coated.

Season the Chicken

In a small bowl, mix together the salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and cayenne pepper.

Rub the seasoning mixture all over the chicken pieces.

Marinate (Optional)

If time allows, marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour to enhance the flavors.

Preheat the Grill

Preheat your grill to medium-high heat (around 375-400°F).

Grill the Chicken

Place the chicken on the grill, skin side down.

Grill for 5-7 minutes per side to achieve a nice sear.

Cook with Indirect Heat

Move the chicken to indirect heat (cooler part of the grill) to prevent burning.

Continue grilling, covered, for 25-35 minutes, turning occasionally.

Apply Barbecue Sauce

Brush the chicken generously with barbecue sauce during the last 10 minutes of cooking.

Turn the chicken frequently to avoid burning the sauce.

Check for Doneness

Use a meat thermometer to ensure the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F.


Remove the chicken from the grill and let it rest for a few minutes before serving.

Serve with extra barbecue sauce on the side.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

  • Calories: 450
  • Total Fat: 28g
  • Saturated Fat: 7g
  • Cholesterol: 150mg
  • Sodium: 800mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 10g
  • Dietary Fiber: 1g
  • Sugars: 8g
  • Protein: 35g


  • Chicken Parts: Feel free to use other chicken parts such as breasts or wings, adjusting the cooking time accordingly.
  • Barbecue Sauce: Homemade barbecue sauce can be made with ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and spices.
  • Cooking Methods: This recipe can also be made using an oven or stovetop grill pan if a grill is not available.

Allergy Warning

  • Gluten: Some barbecue sauces may contain gluten. Check the label or use a gluten-free barbecue sauce if you have gluten sensitivity.
  • Allergens in Sauce: Commercial barbecue sauces may contain allergens like soy, corn, or mustard. Verify the ingredients if you have specific allergies.
  • Chicken: Ensure no cross-contamination if you have a poultry allergy.

What are the ingredients of chicken barbecue?

The basic ingredients for chicken barbecue include chicken pieces (such as thighs, drumsticks, or breasts), olive oil, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, and barbecue sauce. Additional spices and herbs can be added to taste.

What part of chicken is best for the barbecue?

Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs and drumsticks are ideal for barbecuing because they stay moist and flavorful during cooking. Chicken breasts can also be used but may require careful cooking to prevent drying out.

What goes well with barbecue chicken?

Barbecue chicken pairs well with classic sides like coleslaw, corn on the cob, baked beans, potato salad, grilled vegetables, and cornbread. Fresh salads and light, refreshing beverages also complement the smoky flavors.

How do you barbecue chicken and keep it moist?

To keep barbecue chicken moist, marinate the chicken beforehand, cook it over indirect heat, and use a meat thermometer to avoid overcooking. Basting with barbecue sauce during the last few minutes of grilling also helps retain moisture.

How to make barbeque chicken skin crispy?

To achieve crispy skin on barbecue chicken, start by grilling the chicken skin side down over direct heat to render the fat and create a sear. Then, move the chicken to indirect heat to finish cooking, ensuring the skin remains crispy.

What makes BBQ chicken chewy?

BBQ chicken can become chewy if it is overcooked, cooked too quickly at high temperatures, or if it is not marinated properly. Using the right cooking method and checking the internal temperature can prevent this.

Why is BBQ chicken so dry?

BBQ chicken can become dry if it is cooked for too long or at too high a temperature. Ensuring the chicken is cooked over indirect heat and using a meat thermometer to check for doneness can help maintain its moisture.

What is the secret to tender chicken?

The secret to tender chicken lies in proper marination, cooking at the right temperature, and not overcooking. Using acidic ingredients like lemon juice or vinegar in the marinade can also help break down proteins and tenderize the meat.

How to make chicken very soft and tender?

To make chicken very soft and tender, marinate it in a mixture containing yogurt, buttermilk, or lemon juice, which helps to break down the proteins. Cooking slowly at a moderate temperature and avoiding overcooking are also key.

What liquid tenderizes chicken?

Buttermilk, yogurt, lemon juice, and vinegar are effective liquids for tenderizing chicken. These acidic liquids help to break down the proteins in the meat, resulting in a tender texture.

What is the best ingredient to tenderize chicken?

Buttermilk is often considered one of the best ingredients for tenderizing chicken. It contains acids and enzymes that help break down the muscle fibers, making the chicken tender and flavorful.

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Fitzroy Neville, the culinary maestro behind this site, boasts the impressive title of Cooking Prodigy. With a natural flair for the culinary arts, Fitzroy brings innovation and expertise to the world of pet cuisine. His site is a haven for pet owners seeking imaginative and nutritious recipes to delight their furry companions. Fitzroy's passion for transforming pet meals into culinary experiences is evident in the creative and delectable content he shares. For those looking to elevate their pets' dining experience, Fitzroy Neville's site is a testament to the artistry and skill of a true cooking prodigy dedicated to pampering our four-legged friends.