Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Grilled Backyard Barbecued Chicken

One of my favorite grilled foods is backyard barbecued chicken. Mine starts with a brine, gets a nice rub before hitting the grill and is basted with sauce at the end. Delicious!

Backyard Barbecued Chicken

Grilled barbecued chicken - meaning chicken cooked on the grill and doused in barbecue sauce - is one of my favorite foods. I just simply love it. It's been a little bit hard to get it in here lately though, since April showers seem to have surfaced full force here in May, and I don't have a covered patio.

My barbecued chicken starts with a whole chicken that I cut up myself, then dump in a brine. After that, it gets a marinade with a basic dry rub for a few hours, and finally is grilled, using a smoker box and some wood chips, and a finish of barbecue sauce at the end.  This produces a tender, moist and juicy bird y'all, so yummy.  Directions here are written for a gas grill, because that is my tool of choice, so adjust as needed for yours.

Skittish about chicken on the grill because it always turns out charred on the outside and raw on the inside?  Or, maybe you're making massive amounts of chicken for a party or backyard barbecue. Or, maybe you're trying to grill between downpours. Make it easy on yourself and consider letting the oven do some of the work. Brine and marinate with the dry rub, then bake at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes and finish on the grill - nobody has to know.

Here's how to make it.

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Recipe: Grilled Backyard Barbecued Chicken

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Inactive time: 8-12 hours |Cook time: 20 min | Yield: About 6 to 8 servings


Wood Chips and Smoker Box
Homemade Barbecue Sauce, Bottled Commercial Barbecue Sauce, or Dressed Up Bottled Barbecue Sauce

  • 1 (3 to 4 pound) whole chicken, cut up
  • 2 tablespoons of kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
Dry Rub Marinade:
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 20 turns of the pepper grinder (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 2 teaspoons of Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama), or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

For the Brine: Cut chicken up into serving pieces. Fill a large pot or container with enough water to cover the chicken well. Whisk the salt into the water until dissolved; whisk in the vinegar. Add the chicken and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

Remove the chicken from the brine and allow to drain well. Discard the brine. Pat the chicken pieces dry, laying out on a platter or baking sheet that will fit in the fridge. Combine the dry rub ingredients and rub the chicken well with the dry rub, cover loosely and refrigerate several hours. Grill chicken covered, turning occasionally, about 12 to 16 minutes for thighs; 16 to 20 minute for legs. Cook breasts, skin side up, for about 10 minutes, turn and cook another 5 minutes or until juices run clear, or an instant read thermometer registers 165 degrees F for dark meat, 160 degrees F for breasts. Apply barbecue sauce in the last few minutes of cooking.

Gas Grill Directions:  If using wood chips, presoak them for about 30 minutes before needing. Drain the wood chips and place them into a smoking box (or make a homemade aluminum foil tray for a gas grill/packet for charcoal) and put on top of the section of the grill you intend to keep hot.  Preheat grill to high on all burners about 15 minutes.

When ready to grill, leave one (or two) burners on high, turn all other burners down to medium low. Oil the grates, and sear the chicken on the hottest part of the grill, with the lid closed, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Move the chicken to the cooler part of the grill, and grill covered, turning occasionally, about 12 to 16 minutes for thighs; 16 to 20 minute for legs. Cook breasts, skin side up, for about 10 minutes, turn and cook another 5 minutes or until done.  Check by using the tip of a knife inserted near the bone, there should not be any red showing.  Chicken is done when an instant read thermometer registers 165 degrees for dark meat and 160 degrees for breasts. Apply barbecue sauce in the last few minutes of cooking.

Tip: Store your barbecue sauce in a pull top, squirt type water bottle. Instead of using a brush, squirt the sauce on the chicken in the last few minutes of cooking, taking care not to allow the bottle to touch the chicken. Store the remaining sauce in the fridge.

If you are skittish about chicken on the grill because it always turns out charred on the outside and raw on the inside, if you don't want to deal with indirect cooking, if you're making massive amounts of chicken for a party or backyard barbecue, or, if you're trying to grill between rain like I was this weekend, consider pre-cooking the chicken in the oven first.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place the rubbed chicken pieces on a rack, on a foil-lined large baking sheet. Roast for about 50 minutes, then finish on a preheated very hot grill, over direct heat. Sear both sides of the chicken first, then brush with the sauce, turn, cook for about 5 to 10 minutes total, brushing with sauce and turning several times, until chicken is done.


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©Deep South Dish
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Posted by on May 19, 2010
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  1. chicken on the grill, prepared this way....oh so goooooood! I like to use the grill to cook, it smells extra good outside when you cook doesn't it? These look awesome.

  2. Yea for BBQ Season!!! Love the combination of brining, dry rub and sauce. I bet that is some awesome chicken!!

    On a side note, how is the Mississippi coast looking so far? Any problems from the oil yet??

  3. Mary this process sounds perfect. I must find some Slap Ya Mamma since you use it in so many of your recipes- it must be good!

  4. This looks SO good. I love that you brine your chicken - it amkes all the difference! I have never tried Slap Ya Mama... I usually just use Penzy's Cajun Seasoning. But I'm going to have to look for Slap Ya Mama because everyone seems to be talking about it!

  5. You know summer is around the corner when such delicious recipes start to appear. It looks amazing. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary

  6. That is some outstanding looking chicken and excellent step by step guide. Do you put Slap Ya Mama on your Wheaties? :)

  7. Oh, by the way, your BBQ sauce recipe sounds really good - I believe I'll whip up a batch.

  8. Mary this looks finger-lickin' good! :)

  9. chicken grilled and bbqed!! YUMMY!!

  10. Brined and a dry rub, I bet that's good!

  11. I love grilling season! That looks super tasty! I've never brined my chicken before. I'll definitely have to try it.

  12. I am SO drooling over this! I'm always on the quest for the perfect barbecued chicken. I may save this one for my one week trip home to my parents in July. My dad has a first class smoker...I do not. I can't wait to try it!

  13. I really want to lick the screen right now- BBQ does that to me!
    This looks seriously delicious Mary!

  14. Hi Mary!

    Greetings from Malaysia again! Just want to say thank you for dropping by my blog on my SITS day. You can read the aftermath of my whole day SITting episode at this link:

    Thank you again and hope to see you back here sometime! :D

    Warmest Regards,
    Jenny aka I'm a full-time mummy

    Btw, those chickens looks so yummylicious!

  15. Made this for dinner tonight! I have never brined chicken and I could NOT believe how juicy it was. The hubs and I are avid grillers, and this recipe will make our hit list for sure! I'll have to make your bbq sauce next time with it, I used what I had in the fridge.

  16. Thanks so much Robin for taking the time to come back and let me know you tried the recipe! I am a true believer in brining - have done turkey for sure, chicken and pork. It really makes a big difference. Thanks for coming back and taking the time to leave a comment!

  17. Hi there. I am very much skittish about grilling chicken, but with your tip, my chicken won't come out raw. Thank you!

    Visiting from SITS -


  18. I love reading your recipes. I only subscribe to 2 food blogs, & yours is one of them!
    I really should comment more often, and I wanted to comment now to let you know that I am going to make this chicken tomorrow.
    Thanks for all of your wonderful recipes!
    This is also be my first time brining.

  19. Hi Jane! I think you'll be very pleased with the brining process. Let me know what you thought!

  20. Officially SOLD on brining! I brined 3 lbs of bone-in thighs and legs overnight and cooked it via indirect heat on a gas grill...Everyone raved over it...they kept commenting on how juicy and flavorful the chicken was. I'm a briner from now on!

  21. KakeDiva, so glad it was a hit!! Thanks for stopping by and sharing your new found joy of brine! It really does make a difference.

  22. Grilled chicken we love.
    But I cant keep it from sticking.
    What can I do ???

    1. Sometimes you can't avoid it completely, and it depends on which method you're using too, but preheating the grill well, making sure it's scrubbed clean with a wire brush, then oiling it really well helps a lot. You can also buy the non-stick sprays intended for the grill. I like to sear the chicken over the hottest part of the grill, then move it over indirect heat to cook. Boneless, skinless breasts stick the worse so dab or brush both sides of the chicken with oil before putting them on the grate. Hope that helps!


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