Ultimate Grilled Barbecue Chicken: Easy & Delicious Recipe

Ultimate Grilled Barbecue Chicken: Easy & Delicious Recipe

Discover the secrets to making mouthwatering barbecue chicken with juicy meat and a tantalizing sweet and sticky glaze.

Barbecue chicken is a beloved summertime favorite that doesn’t quite fit the traditional definition of Southern barbecue. While it may not involve the slow breakdown of connective tissues like ribs or brisket, this dish still captures the essence of outdoor cooking with its smoky flavor and irresistible sauce.

The key to perfect barbecue chicken lies in understanding the cooking process. We’ll use a large bird to ensure it has plenty of time to absorb those delicious smoky flavors without drying out.

The Magic of Barbecue Chicken

‘This recipe creates chicken that’s richly seasoned, with a sweet-and-tangy exterior and deep smokiness. The meat remains ultra-tender and juicy, while the skin develops a mouthwatering crisp and char.’

By using a two-level indirect fire and applying barbecue sauce in layers, we’ll achieve that coveted lacquered finish with complex caramelized notes. The result is a dish that will have everyone at your cookout coming back for seconds!

Irresistible Smoky BBQ Chicken Recipe


  • 1 whole large chicken, about 6 to 8 pounds
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced on a Microplane grater
  • 2 cups Kansas City-style barbecue sauce, or your favorite barbecue sauce
  • 2 chunks hardwood, soaked in water for 30 minutes


  1. Prepare the chicken: Pat dry with paper towels. Place breast-side-down on a large cutting board. Remove the backbone using sharp kitchen shears. Flip the chicken over, lay it flat, and press firmly on the breast to flatten. For stability, insert a skewer horizontally through the thighs and breast. Tuck wing tips behind the back. Season generously with salt and pepper.
  2. Create the rub: In a small bowl, combine salt, brown sugar, black pepper, chile powder, ground coriander seeds, and garlic. Mix with your fingertips until well blended. Spread this mixture evenly over all surfaces of the chicken.
  3. Prepare the grill: Light one chimney full of charcoal. Once the coals are covered with gray ash, arrange them on one half of the coal grate. For gas grills, set half the burners to high heat. Place the cooking grate, cover the grill, and preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grate. Add soaked hardwood chunks to the coals or over the lit burners.
  4. Grill the chicken: Place the chicken skin-side up on the cooler side of the grill, with legs pointing towards the hotter side. Close the grill and cook until the thickest part reaches 120°F (49°C). Brush the top with barbecue sauce, cover, and cook for 5 minutes. Repeat this process, cooking until the breast reaches 135°F (57°C). Flip the chicken skin-side down over the coals, brush with more sauce, and cook covered until it’s beautifully browned and the breast registers 150°F (66°C). If it starts to burn, move it to the cooler side to finish cooking. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before carving and serving.


This recipe is designed for a large chicken. Using a smaller bird may result in dry meat, so stick with the 6-8 pound size for best results.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
334 Calories
12g Fat
41g Carbs
14g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 334
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 12g 16%
Saturated Fat 3g 17%
Cholesterol 65mg 22%
Sodium 1662mg 72%
Total Carbohydrate 41g 15%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 33g
Protein 14g
Vitamin C 3mg 14%
Calcium 47mg 4%
Iron 2mg 10%
Potassium 390mg 8%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

You may also like: