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Chef John's Barbecue Chicken

Rated as 4.71 out of 5 Stars

"When it comes to barbecued chicken, everyone wants that nice thick glaze of sauce attached to the skin, and the only way to do it, is brush it on as it cooks. Therein lies the problem. Because of the sugar content, it only takes a minute for a barbecue sauce to go from brick-red to solid black. I just 'mark' the chicken's vulnerable skin side, then cook it all the way through in a closed grill, brushing on the glaze as it cooks."
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2 h servings 464
Original recipe yields 6 servings


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  1. Cut 1/2-inch deep slashes in the skin-side of each chicken half; 2 cuts in each breast, 2 in the thigh, and 1 on the leg; remove wing tips.
  2. Whisk rice vinegar, barbeque sauce, and garlic together in large bowl. Place chicken in bowl and turn to coat chicken in the marinade. Arrange chicken halves, cut-side down, in the bottom of the marinade bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  3. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat and lightly oil the grate.
  4. Remove chicken from bowl, pat chicken dry with paper towels, and discard marinade. Place chicken halves, skin-side up, on a plate and season with salt, pepper, paprika, onion powder, and cayenne pepper.
  5. Cook chicken, skin-side down, on the preheated grill for 3 to 4 minutes. Turn chicken over, close the lid of the grill, and cook, basting with remaining barbeque sauce ever 6 minutes, until no longer pink at the bone and the juices run clear, about 35 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, near the bone should read 165 degrees F (74 degrees C).


  • Partner Tip
  • Reynolds® Aluminum foil can be used to keep food moist, cook it evenly, and make clean-up easier.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving: 464 calories; 24.2 10.6 47.5 149 1583 Full nutrition

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Read all reviews 92
  1. 124 Ratings

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Most helpful positive review

This turned out great! Only thing I changed was reduced the cayenne pepper by 1/2, and used all drumsticks. I am not comfortable grilling drumsticks, so I baked mine at 425 degrees, seasoned, fo...

Most helpful critical review

This was one of the least imaginative dishes I've ever created. I served it with creamy polenta and steamed broccoli. I think I'll pitch the leftovers today. I can't even look at it. (And it was...

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Least positive

This turned out great! Only thing I changed was reduced the cayenne pepper by 1/2, and used all drumsticks. I am not comfortable grilling drumsticks, so I baked mine at 425 degrees, seasoned, fo...

Rack up another hit for Chef John! We woke up Memorial Day morning, looking for a simple grilled bbq chicken recipe..... This Is It! Super-Simple and Tasty. A Big Hit at our celebration. This re...

The chicken was good, but preparing it with the marinade is more complicated than necessary. Not sure the marinade contributed much, but if you are concerned about burning the barbecue sauce the...

Best BBQ chicken ever! Even my daughter who says she dislikes BBQ chicken has asked for this several times since I first made it. Followed the recipe exactly but found the cooking time needed to...

Really liked this and will use it again. Did it per the recipe and video other than I used leg and thigh quarters. My only adjustment is I will make is to cook the skin side down longer and at a...

I mixed the spices into the marinade. Turned out delicious.

I saw this recipe in the magazine and made it one night on a whim when we lost power for a week after a big storm. I used chicken quarters with the skin removed and prepared it as described usi...

I made this as directed, except I didn't have any rice vinegar so I used the red wine vinegar that I had. I took longer than 35 minutes, but it was the juiciest grilled chicken I've ever made! ...

This was the best BBQ chicken recipe I have ever had. My son who is not a big chicken fan raved about it and asked for seconds.