Find out the secret for how to make tender and juicy grilled BBQ chicken! No long brining steps, just a simple grilling method for perfect BBQ chicken.
Grilled BBQ chicken is one of those things that can either be fantastic, or dry and disgusting. As I’ve said before, I’m not a big fan of cooking meat and then slathering it in BBQ sauce. It just isn’t right! This recipe takes the ease of grilled BBQ chicken but changes up the method so that you end up with tender and juicy chicken that’s infused with the flavor of your sauce.
The secret to getting juicy grilled BBQ chicken is a combination of slower cooking, and consistent basting in with the sauce. I use a low heat on the grill, in fact I completely turn one side off. If you have a really nice grill, you may be able to adjust the heat low enough you won’t need to turn one side off. I use a pretty old grill that tends to overheat so leaving one side on and turning one side off really evens out the temperature to the perfect medium low.
Use the cooking time I reference in the recipe to know if your grill is the right temperature. You shouldn’t see any definite grill marks or charring until the last 5-7 minutes of cooking. If you see them before that, it’s too high. The cooking time will of course vary based on the size of your chicken breasts, so don’t worry if you need to practice a few times!
I also turn the grilled BBQ chicken and baste it in the sauce frequently during cooking. This does two things. First, it keeps the chicken from drying out by always having a “protective” coating of sauce on it. Second, it really helps infuse the BBQ sauce flavor into the chicken instead of just having it sit on top of the meat. You can actually call this grilled BBQ chicken, not chicken with BBQ sauce!
I spent a lot of time thinking about how to get this recipe right, can you tell?! Let me know how it turns out for you! Grilling can be a little more challenging than regular cooking because gauging your grill’s temperature isn’t always very accurate. Just get out there and practice, no one will complain about you grilling more frequently!
The Secret for the Best Grilled BBQ Chicken
- 1/2 cup BBQ sauce your favorite
- 4 chicken breasts boneless, skinless
- Preheat your grill by turning it on as high as it will go for a few minutes.
- After it's heated, turn one side off and one side on medium low or low.
- Clean the grates and lightly dip a paper towel in oil and brush the grate, holding the paper towel with tongs.
- Using a pastry brush, brush one side of the chicken with a light layer of BBQ sauce and place that side down over the heated part of the grill.
- Brush the top side with BBQ sauce.
- Cook with the lid down until grill marks are just starting to appear, if your grill is the correct temperature this should take about 5 minutes.
- Brush top with another light layer of BBQ sauce, flip and brush again.
- Continue this process of brushing with BBQ sauce and flipping the chicken about every 5 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F. This will take about 20 minutes.
- When the internal temperature is 160 degrees, brush with a final layer of BBQ sauce and turn the grill off.
- Let rest for 5 minutes with the lid down on the side of the grill where the heat was off originally. After 5 minutes, the internal temperature should register 165 degrees F.