Learn how to barbecue chicken that is juicy, perfectly seared, and brushed with BBQ sauce. This is an easy barbecue chicken I use to grill chicken thighs, legs, breasts, and wings. Add your favorite side dishes for a great summertime dinner.
There’s nothing better than tender, juicy, grilled chicken coated in a sweet and tangy BBQ sauce. The best part is that it’s not hard to do – with a few tips and tricks, you can make this easy BBQ chicken recipe.
I like to keep it simple – just chicken, my favorite bottled BBQ sauce, and hot grill are all you need. I’ve been grilling chicken this way for years, and it never disappoints.
- Bone-in chicken thighs and legs
- Barbecue sauce
- Salt and pepper
- Barbecue cooking spray
How to Cook Barbecue Chicken
Before you turn on the grill, spray the grates with barbecue cooking spray made for high-heat cooking. I like to use Weber Grill Spray.
When you grill chicken, you will want indirect heat and direct heat grilling zones. So, only turn on half of the burners to preheat to medium-high heat. Leave the other burners off, so you have your two grilling zones.
While the grill heats, prepare the chicken. Trim the chicken pieces to remove any large pieces of fat or skin, and then pan them dry with paper towels. Season the chicken on all sides with salt and pepper.
Once the grill is heated, it’s time to cook the chicken. I like to start on the direct heat side and then finish on the indirect heat side following these steps:
- Place the chicken on the direct and cook for 10 minutes, turning each piece once halfway through the cooking time. This step sears the chicken and creates nice grill marks.
- Move the chicken over to the indirect heat side and close the lid. Cook the chicken, turning it once, for 20 to 25 minutes.
- The last step is to move it back to the direct heat and brush each piece with the BBQ sauce. The heat will caramelize the sauce, and the chicken should only need about one to two minutes of cooking time at this point.
- Take the chicken off the grill and let it rest for 10 minutes. This will allow the juices to redistribute so when you cut into the chicken, the meat will be juicy and delicious.
Recipe and Cooking Tips
You can use this grilling method with any cut of chicken, including bone-in chicken breasts and wings. Or do a mix of chicken pieces.
Depending on the type and size, the cooking time will vary. The easiest way to know when chicken is done is to use a meat thermometer. The temperature should be 165°F in the thickest part.
Grilling times are an estimate and will vary based on how hot your grill is. Instead of depending on a time, it’s always best to rely on how the chicken looks. Cooked chicken will not be pink in the middle, and the juices will run clear.
As mentioned, use a thermometer to be sure. The first time you try it, note the time when the chicken is cooked through, and then you will know how long to cook barbecue chicken for your grill.
We prefer a lighter coating of sauce, but you can add more for a rich BBQ sauce flavor. Once you move the chicken to the indirect heat, you can brush on thin layers as it cooks. Add the last layer when you move the pieces back to the direct heat.
There are so many fantastic BBQ sauces you can find at the store. Many regional and small brand options are fun to try, too, but feel free to use your favorite homemade sauce if you have a recipe you like.
Leftover over BBQ chicken is always great. You can leave it on the bone or shred it to add to salads or use it to make sandwiches for easy lunches. It will keep for three to four days in the refrigerator.
With summer in full swing, there’s no better time to fire up the grill and give this easy barbecue chicken a try. I hope you enjoy it!
Side Dishes for Easy Barbecue Chicken
Easy Barbecue Chicken Recipe
- 2 pounds bone in chicken we used thighs and legs
- 1 – 2 cups barbecue sauce
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Barbecue cooking spray
- Spray the grills with high heat barbecue spray while grill is cool (we use Weber Grill Spray). Pre-heat the barbecue to medium high heat but only have direct heat on half of the barbecue (half the burners on or half covered with charcoal). Leave the other half unheated. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and remove any large pieces of fat or skin. Season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides.
- Place the chicken over direct heat and cook for about 10 minutes, turning once. You just want to get a sear on the chicken. Then move them to the indirect heat side of the barbecue and cook covered for 20-25 minutes turning once. The internal temperature should be 165°F. With a few minutes left to cook move the chicken back over the direct heat and apply barbecue sauce. Let cook for 1-2 minutes then flip and apply sauce to the other side. Cook for another 1-2 minutes and remove from heat.
- Let chicken rest for 10 minutes and serve!!
- Use any part of the chicken you want. We just happen to choose thighs and legs.
- Use your favorite barbecue sauce. If you want a really rich BBQ sauce flavor you can start adding on sooner and add more layers of sauce.
- Cooking times can vary so I always use an instant read meat thermometer. Check occasionally after turning.
This Easy Barbecue Chicken is a great weeknight dinner and it also makes the best protein as leftovers or even as meal prep.
Mel is an IT guy turned blogger and is discovering his love of cooking and photography. If you ever have Fantasy Football questions, he's your guy.