BBQ Chicken is the easiest summer dinner! Make this 5-ingredient recipe for the best grilled bone-in chicken with crispy skin and your favorite barbecue sauce.
Summer is made for grilling. It’s the best way to make a simple dinner bursting with flavor. BBQ Chicken is such a classic, and it’s my personal summer fav. It’s smokey, saucy, and juicy. This bone-in chicken recipe is easy enough for a quick dinner on a busy night and fancy enough for your big summer cookout.
If you love this simple grilled chicken recipe, try this beer can chicken, grilled spatchcock chicken, Peruvian chicken recipe, or this easy Mexican chicken marinade.
Are you planning the menu for a 4th of July Celebration? Check out this gorgeous red, white and blue cake!
Why You’ll Love this Recipe
- Full of flavor. This juicy grilled chicken is smokey and sweet with any kind of BBQ sauce you love! You can even add more flavor with some chili powder or paprika, too.
- Impressive but easy. Grilled chicken always looks so fancy but it’s a mostly hands-off recipe. Let the grill do the work for the best BBQ chicken this summer.
- Perfect for meal prep. I grill every weekend in the summer and use the leftover BBQ chicken for my lunch salads all week long. There are so many ways to use this succulent chicken.
- Whole chicken: I like to use a whole chicken for this budget-friendly recipe. When I have the time, I always use a simple chicken brine! It adds so much flavor and moisture deep into the chicken.
- Olive oil: For the crispiest chicken skin, use a little olive oil before grilling! It also helps the seasonings stick to the bird.
- Salt and pepper: I keep it simple with this seasoning to let the BBQ sauce shine. However, I always add salt and pepper to my meat before grilling.
- Barbecue sauce: You can use your favorite sauce, whether it’s store-bought or homemade.
Complete list of ingredients and amounts can be found in the recipe card below.
How to Make Grilled BBQ Chicken
Follow these steps for the best BBQ chicken on the grill for the summer:
- Season the chicken. First, rub olive oil all over the chicken, and season them with salt and pepper.
- Preheat the grill. Then, preheat your grill so that one side is on medium-high to high heat and the other side on medium to low indirect heat.
- Prep the grill. Before you start cooking, be sure your grill grates are clean. I also add a neutral oil to the grates like avocado oil.
- Grill chicken. Next, put the chicken skin-side down on the grates on the hot side. Grill the pieces uncovered until you get nice grill marks and the skin releases from the grates easily.
- Move chicken. Now, flip the chicken and move the pieces to the cooler side of the grill. Turn the grill down to about 300°F/150°C and close the grill.
- Baste with BBQ sauce. Cover all the chicken pieces with your favorite barbecue sauce and keep cooking until the white meat is 165°F/74°C internally and the dark meat is 175°F/80°C. Grilled chicken breasts and thighs will take longer than wings and legs.
- Sear and rest. Once the chicken is almost done, move the pieces back to the hot side of the grill for a couple minutes for a beautiful char. Rest the chicken a few minutes before serving.
Use any chicken parts that you like for this recipe. A whole chicken is cheaper to buy, it’s easy to cut into 8-10 pieces and you can use the carcass for homemade stock.
Tips and Tricks
Grilling can be daunting, but it’s so easy to master if you follow a few simple tips:
- Use your oven. Out of charcoal? Sudden rain storm? You can easily convert this to an oven-baked recipe! I like to sear it on the stovetop before finishing the chicken in the oven. Once it’s about halfway cooked, baste it in BBQ sauce and cook until done.
- Marinate it. This 5-ingredient recipe is great, but a simple marinade can make it even better! Marinating chicken in a simple mix of oil, vinegar, lemon juice, and some seasonings adds even more flavor deep into the meat. You can marinate chicken up to overnight.
- Prep your grill. This simple step is one of the most important! You always want to grill on perfectly cleaned grates to avoid that burnt flavor. I always oil my grates, too, to keep the skin from sticking and ripping when I flip the chicken.
- Use multiple heat zones. The best BBQ chicken needs high and low heat to get that beautiful char without drying out. Start with your high, direct heat section, then move the chicken to a lower heat to roast until done. This keeps the juices trapped in the chicken and out of your fire.
What to Serve with BBQ Chicken
I love iced tea, and this strawberry iced tea is my summer staple! It’s made with all natural ingredients and is so refreshing.
I also love a light, fruity appetizer. This fruit salsa with homemade cinnamon chips is so easy to make! Everyone at your pool party will love this dip recipe.
While you’re grilling, let your guests munch on this easy shrimp ceviche. Succulent shrimp are marinated in fresh citrus juice for a simple summer appetizer that’s ready in just 30 minutes.
For dessert, I suggest Blackberry Cobbler. It’s so perfect for summer when the berries are fresh!
Frequently Asked Questions
When you’re cooking chicken, it’s more about internal temperature than cook time. Always use a meat thermometer to make sure the thickest part of your chicken reaches at least 165°F/74°C before resting. That saves you from any surprise pink chicken!
For the best grilled BBQ chicken, you want to cook the sauce into the meat. But when do you add it? I always cook my chicken naked first, then add the sauce about halfway through cooking.
If you want to ensure you have a super moist grilled chicken, use a brine or marinade first. That locks even more moisture into the chicken — especially wings and chicken breasts, which can dry out. Also, move the chicken to a cooler zone of your grill to cook after the initial sear.
Other Easy Recipes I Love
You’re ready to impress your guests at the next pool party with this amazing grilled chicken recipe! No matter what summer side dishes you serve with it, everyone loves a great BBQ chicken dinner. Make sure to Pin this recipe so more people can enjoy it too!
- 1 3-4 pound whole chicken cut into 8 pieces or skin-on bone-in chicken parts
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 cup barbecue sauce store bought or homemade
- Coat the chicken parts in olive oil, season with salt and pepper.
- Preheat the grill to medium heat, one side must be on high heat and there should also be a cool side (indirect heat).
- Clean and oil the grill grates.
- Place the chicken pieces on the hot side of the grill, skin side down to sear the skin.
- And grill uncovered for about 6-8 minutes until you get nice grill marks and the skin releases easily without being stuck to the grill grates. Keep an eye on the chicken not to let the chicken skin burn.
- Flip and move the chicken to the cooler side, reduce the heat to about 300°F and cook covered for 15 minutes.
- Baste the chicken with barbecue sauce, cover and grill for 20-25 more minutes. Remember that the chicken wings take less time than chicken thighs or breast.
- The chicken is done with the internal temp of the chicken breast is 165°F/74°C, and 175°F/80°C at the thigh.
- Before pulling of the grill, give the chicken a final sear by placing them on the hot side and blacken them over heat for a couple of minutes.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
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