The best BBQ chicken breast recipe doesn’t call for complicated marinades or rubs. It’s all about this easy on-the-grill or in-the-oven cooking method sweetened with BBQ sauce for moist and juicy barbecue chicken breasts every time.
BBQ chicken, whether cooked on the grill or baked in the oven, is one of those dinners nobody at the table will complain about. Unless it’s dry and overcooked. But that is NOT this recipe. It’s a basic anyone can easily master, so that they too can claim their BBQ chicken is the best on the block.
This recipe is simple and it’s ready quick. There’s no extra time needed for marinades or fancy rubs. All you need is good quality chicken breasts, a hot grill or oven, and your favorite BBQ sauce to slather.
Grab the napkins my friends. Let’s cook us some barbecue chicken.
Boneless Chicken Breast or Bone-in Chicken Breast?
Boneless chicken breasts won’t have as much flavor as the bone-in/skin-on variety. That’s why basting in BBQ sauce at the end of the cooking time is where you’ll find a lot of flavor. And when seasoned and cooked correctly, even my recipe for basic sauce-less grilled chicken breasts can taste flavorful and juicy every time.
Most chicken eaters prefer the white meat of chicken breasts. So for chicken that’s cooked quick, I use basic, skinless, boneless chicken breasts. Of course you can use this same cooking method for skin-on, bone-in BBQ chicken breasts, or for legs and thighs too. The technique is the same, the cooking times will vary.
Larger chicken breasts do not always translate to better chicken. Bigger breasts take longer to cook, and cook unevenly or overcook. Look for chicken breasts that are between 6 to 9 ounces per piece. If you’re chicken breasts are thin on the ends and fat in the middle, trim the thin ends off so they don’t crisp and burn..
If you want an extra fast BBQ chicken breast, slice your boneless breasts in half lengthwise to make two thin cutlets. They’ll cook in half the time.
What’s the Difference Between Grilling and Barbecue?
What’s meant by bbq chicken? Is it grilled or is it barbecue? And what the bid dif? The difference between barbecued chicken and grilled chicken is largely a difference in symantics—and where you position the lid.
BBQ chicken is cooked with the lid of the grill closed to create an oven effect, so the heat circulates around the protein and cooks slower from all sides. Grilling is cooking with the lid open and over a higher, more direct heat source. That’s where you’ll get that sear so delicious on steaks and burgers.
But when you’re using on BBQ sauce on chicken, a hot, direct heat source is NOT what you want. Unless you like your BBQ chicken barbecue sauce charred and burned.
How Long to Cook BBQ Chicken
Whether you cook this BBQ chicken on the grill or in the oven, you’ll want to cook the chicken nearly all the way through before adding the BBQ sauce at the end. Sauces like BBQ sauce contain a fair amount of sugar that can easily burn. Adding the sauce at the end and searing quickly minimizes the chance of it burning.
What Temperature to Cook BBQ Chicken
Cook the chicken until the internal temperature is 160°F and juices run clear, then allow to sit for 5 minutes before cutting. The internal heat will raise the temperature to a safe 165°F while still keeping your chicken juicy and tender.
How to Cook BBQ Chicken On the Grill
Prepare clean grill grates to minimize sticking and preheat the grill at 400-450°F. Drizzle the chicken breasts with olive or canola oil and season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Arrange the breasts on the hot grill grates and cook for 4-6 minutes with the lid closed. If the chicken sticks to the grill grate, let it cook a minute more before trying to flip again. Cook on the second side for another 4-5 minutes. Baste with your favorite BBQ sauce, flip, and cook for 1-2 minutes more. Repeat on the other side side. The chicken is done when the internal temp is 160°F and the juices run clear. Let the chicken rest a few minutes for the temp to raise to 165°F and the juices to settle before serving.
How to Cook BBQ Chicken In the Oven
What to Serve with BBQ Chicken
- How to Make the Best Potato Salad
- Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes
- Easy 5-Minute Parmesan Zucchini
- The Best Easy Grilled Vegetables
- Creamy Mashed Potatoes Recipe — How to Make the Best!
- How to Make Classic Macaroni Salad
- How to Make the Best Grilled Corn On the Cob
- The Best Caprese Salad (Plus a DIY Caprese Salad Bar)
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Bookmark this recipe and leave a comment below, or take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.
The Best BBQ Chicken Breasts
The best BBQ chicken breast recipe doesn't call for complicated marinades or rubs, it's all about this easy on-the-grill or in-the-oven cooking method sweetened with BBQ sauce for moist and juicy chicken breasts every time.
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- extra virgin olive oil
- kosher salt , to taste
- freshly ground black pepper , to taste
- 1/2 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce
Prepare the grill for direct cooking at high heat (450°F). Brush the cooking grates clean.
Drizzle the chicken breasts with extra virgin olive oil and rub over the breasts. Season generously with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Place the chicken breasts on the hot grill. Cover and cook for 5-6 minutes or until they easily release from the grates. Flip the chicken and cook for 4-5 minutes longer. Baste the chicken breasts with BBQ sauce, flip and cook for 2 minutes on each side. Repeat on the other side. Cook until the breasts are firm to the touch and opaque all the way through, registering 160°F internal temp (the temp will rise to 165°F as the chicken rests).
Transfer to a plate and cover with a piece of aluminum foil and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve with more BBQ sauce if desired.
To cook BBQ Chicken Breasts in the oven:
Preheat the oven to 450°F and drizzle each chicken breast with oil. Season with kosher salt and black pepper. Place on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Brush the top side of the chicken with BBQ sauce, return to the oven and cook for 5-8 minutes longer, or until the sauce bubbles and begins to char and the internal temperature is 160°F and the juices run clear. Let the chicken rest a few minutes for the internal temp to raise to 165°F and the juices to settle before serving.
*I use boneless, skinless chicken breasts for this recipe. If you’re a fan of a cut whole bird or the darker meat chicken thighs, the same principles apply, just add more time cooking time.
More Chicken Dinner Recipe Ideas
- Oven Roasted Chicken With Lemon Rosemary Garlic Butter
- Potato Chip Crusted Chicken Breasts Recipe
- Slow Cooker Whole Chicken
- Easy Chicken Piccata
- 30-Minute Caprese Chicken Recipe
- Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken
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