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Favorite BBQ Chicken on the Grill Recipe

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Stop the bus. Don’t you dare throw another chicken breast on the grill without first reading our Favorite BBQ Chicken Recipe that’s full of smoky flavor and still super quick and easy bbq!

A grey plate with a sliced BBQ chicken sprinkled with parsley

This BBQ chicken recipe has a secret that’s not really a secret at all, but 90% of people don’t do it. It all starts in a ziploc bag hours, or even a full day before you start grilling, and no, it’s not BBQ sauce being dumped in there. We’ve tried marinating BBQ chicken but that sauce just doesn’t soak in and flavor the chicken enough.

Our little trick is life changing.

Every year we end up having friends over for a couple of BBQ potlucks and every year we go back and forth on what meat we want to eat. We don’t always want a burger, though you should for sure check out our 2 Secrets for the Best Hamburger, your life will be changed forever.

What do you make if you’re not serving hamburgers but still need easy for BYOM potlucks?

We are always disappointed in plain BBQ chicken as it doesn’t have a ton of flavor, but adding a BBQ rub the chicken and a drizzle of oil to help it stick in a bag for as many hours as you can, up to 24 hours will flavor the chicken in a whole new way!

A grey plate with multiple grilled bbq sauce chicken breasts sprinkled with cilantro that has been chopped

How Can I Make BBQ Chicken

  • How do you make BBQ sauce chicken?

To make BBQ sauce chicken, start out by adding our Smoky BBQ Rub to a ziploc bag along with a drizzle of oil and let it sit in the fridge. When you’re ready, let the chicken sit out on the counter for 5 minutes before you stick it on a preheated grill.

  • Do you HAVE TO Preheat your Grill?

Oh yes, please preheat your grill. Just because it’s fire doesn’t mean it’s perfectly up to temp just because you turned it on. Think of it like adding chicken to a cold oven.

  • What temperature to cook BBQ chicken on a grill

Preheat your grill to high heat, then add your chicken and turn it down to medium heat, or even medium low if you have more time.

Heating your grill this way will give those beautiful grill marks on the chicken and then turning it down allows it to cook a little slower so it stays juicy!

  • How to cook BBQ chicken in the oven instead of a grill

If you don’t have a BBQ or live in an area where you can’t have a BBQ, hello NYC, then you can cook BBQ chicken in your oven instead of a grill.

You have two options;

  1. Cook in the Oven 100%
  2. Cook on a stove top and transfer to the oven.

Cooking in the oven just means placing the chicken in a pan at 350 for 30 minutes, basting with bbq sauce for the last 10 minutes.

I really like to cook stove top because I can get the color and that caramelized flavor by starting the chicken in a saute pan or grill pan. Just like the grill, start the pan at high heat, add the chicken and turn to medium heat. Once color is achieved, flip it over and repeat.

Once you have browned both sides, remove to a pan and cook at 350 for 15 to 20 minutes.

A grey plate with multiple grilled bbq sauce chicken breasts sprinkled with cilantro that has been chopped

What to Season BBQ Chicken With

You can use any store bought seasoning for BBQ chicken, but we have perfected our Smoky BBQ rub and store it in a mason jar all year round. So, pretty much you can use anything, but that would just be silly when our rub recipe is the best. 😉

When to Sauce BBQ Chicken

Here’s the trick, do not put BBQ sauce on the chicken until after you’ve flipped it for the first time. The BBQ sauce will just burn too quickly because of the sugars.

After you’ve flipped the chicken, baste it with BBQ sauce and let it cook for 3 minutes, flip and baste and turn it right back over, quickly baste that side and flip it right back for the last three minutes of cooking. We like to add a little more sauce right before serving but that’s up to you.

How Long do you Boil Chicken Before Putting it on the Grill?

One of our most frequently asked questions is about how long do you boil chicken before putting it on the grill. We don’t. Ever. Boil. Chicken before grilling. It’s an unnecessary step and you’ll lose that smoky flavor if you do that.

Can BBQ Chicken be a Little Pink?

Next up, can BBQ chicken be a little pink? Actually, technically it can. Color, according to the USDA doesn’t indicate doneness, so instead you should be more worried about it being 165 degrees farenheit. Especially with BBQ since the rubs, smoke etc all can leave a little pink on meat.

Can BBQ Chicken be Frozen?

  • Freezer Meal BBQ Chicken

Freezer meal BBQ chicken is a big yes, just add your rub and freeze in a sealed bag for up to 2 months if you’ve used a Food Saver.

Freezing cooked chicken is a little different. Yes you can do it, but absolutely make sure you use that Food Saver I linked to above or the chicken will quickly lose flavor and will become tough.


A grey plate with multiple grilled bbq sauce chicken breasts sprinkled with cilantro that has been chopped

Can You BBQ Chicken and Beef Together?

You can bbq chicken and beef together on the same grill as long as you follow a few simple rules.

  1. Always use different utensils for flipping the different items on the grill to avoid cross contamination.
  2. Always have a Cooked and Raw plate by the grill so that no cooked food touches raw juices.
  3. Keep the meat apart on the grill so that no meat touches another raw meat.

Can You BBQ Chicken from Frozen?

You really shouldn’t BBQ chicken from frozen as the higher temperature means that you’ll be cooking the outside faster than the frozen center which can lead to over cooked, burned or undercooked meat.

How Long will BBQ Chicken Last in the Fridge?

BBQ Chicken will last in the fridge for up to 2 days after cooking if it is properly stored.

What Goes Good with BBQ Chicken?

Oh wouldn’t it be nice if someone else would always pick the sides for a BBQ? Don’t worry, I’ve totally got you covered with what goes good with BBQ chicken.

Is BBQ Chicken Healthy?

It seems like it would be, and it is to a point, is BBQ chicken healthy?

  • Is BBQ Chicken Healthy

Because of the sugar in the BBQ rub and the sugar in the BBQ sauce, it’s not perfectly healthy, but compared to a creamy chicken pasta or something, this simple grilled bbq sauce chicken is healthier so don’t fret too much.

  • Is BBQ Chicken Keto

Boy, I had to double check google on this one as I often forget what’s keto, but if you cut down on the sugar and choose a low sugar BBQ you could actually call this BBQ chicken a Keto friendly recipe.

  • Is BBQ Chicken Gluten Free

Yup! Unless you pick a BBQ sauce that for some crazy pants reason has gluten.

  • Is BBQ Chicken Paleo

Sadly BBQ chicken isn’t paleo as the sugars and such wouldn’t have been found years ago.

Favorite BBQ Chicken on the Grill Recipe


Looking for more chicken recipes? We always are too, so make sure you try our Easy Asian Orange ChickenThai Peanut Sauce Noodles and Chicken,  Easy Honey Baked Chicken or one of our summer grilled chicken recipes like, Grilled Hawaiian Chicken

If you’re looking for some delicious BBQ beans to have as a side dish, try these cowboy beans!! Or try this corn on the cob! Or these classic baked beans!


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A grey plate with a sliced BBQ chicken sprinkled with parsley

Favorite BBQ Chicken on the Grill Recipe

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Additional Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours
Servings: 4 servings
Stop the bus. Don't you dare throw another chicken breast on the grill without first reading our Favorite BBQ Chicken on the Grill Recipe that's full of smoky flavor and still super quick and easy bbq!


4-6 Tablespoons Smoky BBQ Rub


  • Add the rub, chicken breasts and a small drizzle of oil to a ziploc bag. Smoosh the chicken around in order to coat all sides with the rub. Set in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
  • Pull the chicken out of the fridge to rest for 5 minutes while you preheat the grill.
  • Heat the grill to high heat. Using oil drizzled over paper towels pinched in tongs, brush the oil on the grates of the grill.
  • Add the chicken, top side down and turn the heat to medium.
  • Cook the chicken for 4-6 minutes or until the chicken releases from the grill.
  • Flip the chicken and baste with BBQ sauce.
  • Cook for 3-4 minutes, flip the chicken and baste the other side then turn it right back over to finish cooking for 3 more minutes or until 165 degrees.
  • Set on a plate, tent with foil and serve in 5 minutes.
Nutrition Facts
Favorite BBQ Chicken on the Grill Recipe
Amount Per Serving (1 breast)
Calories 258 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Fat 6g9%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Cholesterol 145mg48%
Sodium 262mg11%
Potassium 836mg24%
Protein 48g96%
Vitamin A 68IU1%
Vitamin C 3mg4%
Calcium 11mg1%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

A grey plate with a sliced BBQ chicken sprinkled with parsley. This is our favorite BBQ Chicken Recipe.

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