Grilled BBQ Chicken

Grilled BBQ Chicken is an easy guide with tips on how to grill juicy, flavorful bbq chicken breast, thighs, legs and wings on a gas grill!

over head view grilled bbq chicken on platter

It isn’t summer without barbecued chicken.  And I’ve been making it a lot the past month as I’ve been working diligently on the recipes for my bourbon bbq sauce and this grilled bbq chicken.

There are definitely worse things than eating excessive amounts of bbq chicken. šŸ™‚

front view of grilled bbq chicken on a white platter

Grilled BBQ Chicken

This grilled barbecue chicken recipe results in juicy, finger lickin’ good bbq chicken.  My bourbon bbq sauce is sweet, smoky and flavorful, and you may never want to buy store bought again.

Just to be clear — this recipe isn’t the slow roasted and smoked bbq chicken that you’ll get at a barbecue joint.  It’s simply grilled chicken basted with barbecue sauce.

This bbq chicken will be the hit of all of your summer barbecues and potlucks, and is guaranteed to outshine even the best side dishes.

All of you potato and pasta salad lovers may think that’s a bold statement, but trust me. šŸ™‚

What are the best cuts of chicken to grill?

The most forgiving cuts of chicken are:

  • bone-in breast
  • thighs
  • legs
  • wings 

Basically, any piece of chicken with a bone is easier to achieve the juicy bbq chicken that everyone craves.  The bone also adds flavor!

My suggestion is to buy a whole chicken and break it down as it’s the most cost effective, and it gives people options.  Everyone has their favorite cut of chicken!

If you’d rather not buy a whole chicken, pick up a variety of your favorite cuts of chicken.

If you prefer to cook boneless, skinless chicken breast, pound it out to an even thickness of 1/2 – 3/4″ for best results.

overhead view of grilled bbq chicken on a platter with sauce and basting brush

How to season BBQ chicken

Typically, I season my barbecue chicken with just salt and pepper, but a dry rub is also a great way to add more flavor. 

Every now and then I’ll use my bbq dry rub, or use your favorite.

Do you put BBQ sauce on chicken before you grill it?

You shouldn’t put bbq sauce on chicken before grilling as it will more than likely burn.  

I slather the barbecue sauce over the chicken when there is roughly 10-15 minutes of cooking time left.

front view of grilled bbq chicken thigh on a platter

What temperature to cook BBQ chicken on the grill?

You’ll achieve amazing grill marks on your chicken if you preheat the grill to high heat.  Once hot, place the seasoned chicken on the grill and reduce the heat to medium.  Continue to cook on medium until the chicken is cooked through. 

Once you’ve basted the chicken with barbecue sauce, you can reduce the heat to medium low if you’re worried about the chicken burning, or even turn off one burner and cook the chicken over indirect heat. 

Cooking time will be longer if you reduce the heat or cook it over indirect heat.

How long does it take to cook BBQ chicken on the grill?

The cooking time for bbq chicken varies depending on the cuts of chicken that you use.  Bone-in always takes a considerable amount of time longer, but also results in the juiciest, most flavorful chicken.

Below are the grilling times for each different cut of chicken at a temperature of 350 degrees:

  • bone-in chicken breast:  30-40 minutes depending on size, and boneless chicken breast takes 12-16 minutes, pounded to even thickness for more even cooking
  • chicken thighs:  boneless chicken thighs take 12-15 minutes and bone-in take 20-25 minutes
  • chicken legs: 30-40 minutes
  • chicken wings: 10-15 minutes

overhead view of grilled bbq chicken on a platter with parsley

How can you tell when grilled chicken is done?

The best way to determine whether grilled barbecue chicken is cooked through is by using an instant-read thermometer.  

Insert the thermometer into the chicken breast or the thickest part of the leg or thigh without touching the bone.  The chicken is done when the internal temperature is 165 degrees.

I use this instant-read thermometer (this is not an affiliate link).

You can tell when bbq chicken legs are almost done as the meat starts to pull away from the bone.

Recipe tips and substitutions

  • Leave the chicken out at room temperature for 30 minutes to one hour before cooking for more even cooking.
  • If using skin-on chicken, a dry brine is a great way to get even juicier, more flavorful chicken!  Simply salt the chicken all over 1-2 days in advance and leave uncovered in the fridge until your ready to barbecue.
  • If at any point your chicken starts to burn or you encounter a flare-up, turn down the heat, or turn off one burner completely and cook the chicken over indirect heat until it’s done.
  • BBQ chicken will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.

close up front view of grilled bbq chicken thigh

Love to grill?  See all of my Grilling recipes.

More grilled chicken recipes:

Grilled chicken thighs

Greek chicken souvlaki

Grilled pesto chicken

Tequila lime chicken

Serve this BBQ chicken with the following sides!

Broccoli Slaw Salad

Grilled corn on the cob

Grilled sweet potato salad

Summer succotash

Grilled BBQ Chicken

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Grilled BBQ Chicken is an easy guide with tips on how to grill juicy, flavorful bbq chicken breast, thighs and legs on a gas grill!

Grilled BBQ Chicken

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds chicken (whole chicken cut into 8 pieces, or a combination of chicken breast, legs and thighs
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup homemade bbq sauce or store bought

Instructions

  1. Salt and pepper the chicken generously or apply a dry rub, and place on the counter to bring to room temperature for 30 minutes to one hour before grilling.
  2. Preheat the grill over high heat. Place the chicken on the grill and lower the temperature to medium.
  3. Brush the chicken with the bbq sauce during the last 10-15 minutes of cooking time.
  4. Chicken is done when an instant-read thermometer is inserted into the breast or thickest part of leg or thigh without touching the bone and registers 165 degrees.
  5. Chicken breast:Ā  bone-in chicken breast takes 30-40 minutes depending on size; boneless chicken breast takes 12-16 minutes per side, pounded to even thickness for more even cooking
  6. Chicken thighs:Ā  boneless chicken thighs take 12-15 minutes and bone-in take 20-25 minutes
  7. Chicken legs: 30-40 minutes
  8. Chicken wings: 10-15 minutes
  9. Remove chicken from heat and let rest covered loosely with foil for 5-10 minutes.
  10. Serve and enjoy!

Notes

  • Bone-in chicken breast is much more forgiving than boneless. The cooking time is longer, but it's guaranteed to be juicy every time!
  • Purchasing a whole chicken and breaking it down is the most cost effective. You can also have your butcher do it for you!
  • Leave the chicken out at room temperature for 30 minutes to one hour before cooking for more even cooking.
  • If using skin-on chicken, a dry brine is a great way to get even juicier, more flavorful chicken!Ā  Simply salt the chicken all over 1-2 days in advance and leave uncovered in the fridge until your ready to barbecue.
  • If at any point your chicken starts to burn or you encounter a flare-up, turn down the heat, or turn off one burner completely and cook the chicken over indirect heat until it's done.
  • BBQ chicken will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 643 Total Fat: 34g Saturated Fat: 10g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 21g Cholesterol: 257mg Sodium: 571mg Carbohydrates: 15g Fiber: 0g Sugar: 12g Protein: 66g
Nutrition information is mean to be an estimate only. The numbers will vary based on the quantity consumed, brands used and substitutions that are made.

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