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 low heat on the grill to cook my chicken. In fact, I completely turn one side of the grill off.
If you have a really nice grill, you may be able to adjust the heat so that it’s low enough you wouldn’t need to turn one side off. I happen to 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 be at the perfect medium low range.
Use the cooking time I reference in the recipe card below to know if your grill is the right temperature.
Note that you shouldn’t see any definite grill marks or char on the chicken until the last 5-7 minutes of cooking. If you see them before that, it’s a sign that your cooking heat is too high.
The cooking time on your grilled bbq chicken will of course vary on the size of your chicken breasts, so don’t worry if you need to practice a few times!
Another secret for getting the perfect grilled bbq chicken breast
I 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!
How to grill bbq chicken
- Preheat your grill by turning the heat up as high as it can go for a few minutes.
- After it’s heated, turn one side off or turn it down to medium low or low.
- Clean the grates and lightly dip a paper towel in oil and brush the grate of the grill to coat. Make sure that you’re holding the paper towel with your BBQ tongs instead of your hands!
- Using a pastry brush, brush one side of the chicken breast with BBQ sauce and then lay that side down on the grill grates over the heated portion of the grill.
- Brush the top half of the chicken breasts with BBQ sauce.
- Cook with the lid down until grill marks are just starting to appear- this should take about 5 minutes (if your grill is set to the proper temperature).
- Brush the top of the breasts with another light layer of BBQ sauce, flip it and then brush the side facing up.
- Continue this process of brushing BBQ sauce and flipping the chicken every 5 minutes until the internal temperature of the chicken reached 160 F degrees. This will take about 20 minutes in total.
- Once the internal temp reaches 160, brush it with a final layer of BBQ sauce and then turn the grill off.
- Let it rest for 5 minutes with the lid down and with the chicken placed on the grill grates where the heat was off. After 5 minutes are up, the internal temperature should register 165 degrees F and you can serve as desired.
What Can I Serve with Grilled BBQ Chicken?
So many things go great with BBQ chicken breasts including corn on the cob, grilled zucchini, or grilled asparagus (any grilled veggie really).
Serving your BBQ chicken with a creamy pasta or Risotto/pilaf styled rice side dish is also a fun idea. Leftover chicken can be used in a BBQ chicken quesadilla or over a BBQ chicken salad.
I spent a lot of time thinking about how to get this recipe right, can you tell?!
With so many awesome ideas you can’t possibly get bored with grilled BBQ chicken breasts! You just have to figure out how to grill BBQ chicken on your specific grill through good recipes (like this one) and through some first hand experience.
Remember, 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!
Let me know how it turns out for you!
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.
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