Grilled BBQ Chicken is a must have recipe for warm summer nights! Meaty chicken pieces are slathered in a tasty bbq sauce and grilled until tender and juicy with a deliciously crisp sticky skin!

This is the perfect barbecued chicken recipe for a cookout served alongside a classic potato salad or your favorite pasta salad recipe. It’s the king of summer entrees!

Grilled BBQ chicken on a plate with a fork and parsley as garnish

How Long to BBQ Chicken

This recipe uses bone in chicken (breast, thighs, legs) which take a bit longer than boneless grilled chicken breasts. Bone-In chicken will generally take about 35-45 minutes to cook through.

Meat is expensive and I always want to make sure it’s cooked right (not over and not under). I strongly suggest a meat thermometer to make sure it’s cooked and to make sure you don’t overcook it so it stays tender and juicy! When taking the temperature of chicken, be certain to keep the thermometer away from the cavity or near any bones for an accurate reading.

BBQ Chicken Temperature: The FDA recommends that bbq chicken reaches 165°F at the thickest point.

Chicken pieces being brushed with BBQ sauce on the BBQ

How to Make BBQ Chicken

Making bone-in chicken takes longer than making grilled or Oven Baked Chicken Breasts but the results are tender and juicy!

In this barbecue chicken recipe, the first 15 minutes will brown the outer skin and the next 20 to 30 minutes will finish the cooking process. Sugars can burn at high heat so adding the sauce later will keep the chicken from burning on the grill while producing a nice sweet sticky grilled skin!

Preheat the grill to medium heat to make sure it is ready to evenly cook before adding your bird. Brush the grate with oil (I use olive oil but any will do) so the skin doesn’t stick. I usually pour a little bit of oil on a paper towel and use tongs to quickly rub the oil onto the grate.

To Grill BBQ Chicken:

  1. Season your chicken with salt and pepper.
  2. Barbecue the chicken with the skin side down for about 15 minutes. Turn it over and baste with BBQ Chicken Sauce (make your own homemade barbecue sauce or use pre-made).
  3. Cook an additional 20 to 30 minutes, constantly basting with the sauce.

Grilled BBQ chicken on a plate with parsley on top

To Tell if BBQ Chicken is Done…

Always check the internal temperature using a meat thermometer (165°) and make sure the juices run clear and not pink. When it’s done, remove your BBQ chicken and let it rest on a plate for a few minutes before serving.

Got Leftovers?

If there’s any left, your BBQ chicken will last 3-4 days in the refrigerator or a couple months in the freezer!

Don’t forget, you can use leftover BBQ chicken to top a caesar salad, a baked potato, to make a wrap or sandwich or even on nachos with some guacamole, sour cream and shredded cheddar!

Let’s Get Grilling!

Grilled BBQ chicken on a plate with a fork and parsley as garnish
5 from 31 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Grilled BBQ Chicken

Slathered in barbecue sauce, this grilled BBQ chicken is easy to season, grill and serve!
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 6 servings
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  • 1 whole chicken cut into pieces (3-4 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 cups barbecue sauce


  • Preheat grill to medium heat.
  • Rub chicken with olive oil and season with salt & pepper to taste.
  • Cook chicken skin side down on an oiled grate for 15 minutes.
  • Turn over, baste with barbecue sauce. Cook an additional 20-30 minutes continuing to brush with sauce (breast should reach 165°F and thighs should reach 175°F).
  • Rest 5 minutes before serving.


5 from 31 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 478 | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 95mg | Sodium: 1068mg | Potassium: 461mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 32g | Vitamin A: 390IU | Vitamin C: 2.6mg | Calcium: 45mg | Iron: 1.7mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Main Course
Cuisine American

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Holly Nilsson is the creator of Spend With Pennies, where she creates easy, comforting recipes made for real life. With a passion for nostalgic flavors and simplified techniques, Holly helps busy home cooks create delicious meals that always work. She is also the author of “Everyday Comfort,” which promises to inspire even more hearty, home-cooked meals.
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5 from 31 votes (25 ratings without comment)

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  1. Made this exactly as directed tonight, and it was GREAT! Thanks for taking a seemingly overwhelming task (grilling a whole chicken) and making it easy (and delicious). This was so juicy, and the skin had a beautiful char. My whole family was raving. Thanks for sharing!5 stars

  2. Tried this tonight. Came out perfect. Nice char on the outside. Chicken was very moist, cooked perfectly. This recipe is definitely a keeper.5 stars

  3. I love this grilled bbq chicken recipe and i found this recipe really easy to make and very delicious in taste. Thanks for sharing this grilled bbq chicken recipe. 5 stars

  4. Hi
    This recipe is so simple and delicious . I am planing to do this weekend. One quick question. should I close the lid while cooking thighs?

    1. Hi Raksha, I would recommend it. Closing the lid will keep a more consistent temperature on your grill and allow the chicken to cook more evenly!

  5. Woooow…..Homemade!!! It’s the only thing that taste good! And so easy to do…

    I think I will look for these and try your recipe this weekend. Thank you for sharing!

    Dang Thai from Embeya!5 stars

    1. Can’t wait for you to start enjoying these yummy recipes either Shirley. Have fun cooking!

  6. I love your recipes Holly. Theres only one problem. I’m a 74 yr. old widow who lives alone in an apartment bldg. I can’t own a barbeque nor use one. (company rules) Is there another recipe you have where I can make it in my oven?

    1. They sell indoor grills. I have one and I love it.
      Or use the recipe but just bake in oven.
      Good Luck!