Barbecued Chicken with Homemade BBQ Sauce

Oh my gosh, it’s here. The. Big. Holiday. Weekend. Time to fire up the grill!! So I’m sending you off with just one more classic summertime dish—Barbecued Chicken with Homemade BBQ Sauce. Let’s get those parties started!!

It’s a given that we all love chicken on the grill right? Especially when it’s coated in a sweet and tangy finger-lickin’ glaze. It’s one of my crew’s favorites, but over the years I’ve struggled with getting it “just right”, especially when I’m serving it to a big crowd.

Not only is it kind of high maintenance for the designated griller, but it’s also a bear to time out because the outside of the chicken usually gets incinerated before the inside ever gets fully cooked through. Now I don’t know about you, but there is quite possibly nothing that grosses me out more, than underdone chicken. So no more on that subject. Sorry!


Anyhoo, for years, I’ve shied away from serving chicken for our backyard bbq shindigs because it was just too much trouble. But recently, I came up with an idea that works so well and that many of you have probably been doing for years but is a complete revelation to me—bake the chicken first in the oven so that all the griller has to do is baste with some sauce, turn a few times to achieve that nice char and serve. Brilliance, right?!!

Virtually stress-free grilling!


Now that we’ve solved our chicken woes, let’s talk barbecue sauce., cause it’s the second most important and probably controversial component here. I know that many people feel very strongly about their bbq sauce and I know there are many great brands out there, but have you ever made your own? If you haven’t, I’m going to be bossy for a minute and tell you that you really owe it to yourself to try it at least once because it’s just so darn good and so not intimidating to whip up. And the benefit is that you can tailor it to your taste and spice tolerance. This one is sweet, tangy and a little bit spicy and gives the chicken so, so much flavor! Plus, you can make it up to a week ahead of when you want to use it which makes BBQ day even more stress-free (are you noticing a theme here?)


Well my friends, on that totally chill note, I want to wish you a very happy, safe and of course, delicious, holiday weekend!!! Hope it’s special and everything you want it to be!❤️❤️❤️

Barbecued Chicken with Homemade BBQ Sauce

Makes 6-8 servings

Prep Time for Chicken: 10 minutes, plus at least 6 hours marinating time; Cook Time for Chicken: 1 hour in oven plus another 10-15 minutes on the grill; Prep Time for Sauce: 15 minutes

Looking for great grilling tips? Check out this post on Seriously Smoked


For the Chicken

  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika

  • Pinch of black pepper

  • A shake or two of cayenne pepper

  • 6 pounds bone-in chicken (any combination you like—I used split chicken breasts)

For the BBQ Sauce

  • 1 cup ketchup

  • 5 tablespoons molasses

  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

  • Generous pinch of black pepper

  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil

  • One small onion, grated on a box grater or in a food processor

  • 1 garlic clove, minced

  • 1 teaspoon chili powder

  • 1-2 shakes cayenne pepper

The Recipe

1. To make the chicken: Mix all of the spices together in a small bowl. Place the chicken on a large rimmed baking sheet and rub the spice mixture all over the pieces. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours and up to 24 hours.

2. To make the BBQ sauce: In a medium bowl, whisk together the ketchup, molasses, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard and pepper. Heat the oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat until very hot and shimmering. Add in the onion and garlic and cook until softened, for a couple of minutes but watch that the garlic does not burn. Add in the chili powder and cayenne and cook, stirring constantly for about 30 seconds. Then whisk in the ketchup mixture and turn the heat up so that the mixture comes to a boil. Lower the heat to bring the mixture to a simmer and simmer for about 5 minutes to allow it to thicken. Remove from the heat. Set aside about 2/3 cup to baste the chicken. When the remainder has come to room temperature, store in an airtight container in the fridge for about a week. The recipe will definitely make more than you need and you can certainly make this days ahead and be all ready to go.

3. Take the chicken out of the fridge about 30 minutes before you’re ready to cook it so it can warm up a little. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Place the baking sheet with the chicken into the oven and bake for 1 hour.

4. Preheat your grill and oil the grates. Remove the chicken from the oven and place it on the grill, skin side down so that it can get those nice grill marks on top. Let cook for a minute or tow and meanwhile, brush a generous amount of the sauce on the bottom side of the chicken pieces. Use a tong to flip the pieces over and baste the other side. Let cook for a few minutes and repeat the basting process, flipping the chicken in turn. Check for doneness and remove. This shouldn’t take too long as the chicken is basically all cooked from its time in the oven and you are only trying to get that nice outside char. Remove from the grill and serve with additional BBQ sauce if desired.


Note: Recipe adapted from Cooks Illustrated Revolutionary Recipes. I tinkered with proportions and the cooking technique.

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