Grilled BBQ Chicken Breast is one of the easiest, most flavorful recipes for grilled chicken. Seasoned with a sweet and smokey dry rub and basted in tangy barbecue Sauce, this recipe for Grilled BBQ Chicken produces juicy, flavorful barbecue chicken breasts with ease.
Grilled BBQ Chicken is a classic summertime recipe that is always a crowd-pleaser. But it is also surprisingly easy to mess up.
However, with a few tips and simple ingredients, I will teach you how to make the BEST BBQ Chicken!
What Makes This Recipe the Best
- Incredible Flavor. This recipe uses a sweet and savory homemade dry rub and homemade barbecue sauce for the best flavor.
- Perfectly Cooked. This recipe walks you step-by-step through the process to grill the chicken breasts so that they turn out juicy, tender, and never overcooked.
- Staple Recipe. Grilled BBQ Chicken Breasts make a fabulous entree to serve alongside endless sides, like Grilled Vegetable Kabobs or Grilled Corn on the Cob. But Grilled BBQ Chicken stars in my recipe for BBQ Chicken Salad and makes a great sandwich when topped with coleslaw.
Notes on Ingredients
- Chicken Breasts: While this recipe is designed for boneless, skinless chicken breasts, it will also work using boneless, skinless chicken thighs if desired.
- Dry Rub: For the best flavor, I use my homemade dry rub to season the chicken. It is made with brown sugar, salt, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and onion powder and adds the perfect combination of sweet and salty to the chicken. It adds so much flavor to the chicken, that the grilled chicken would be delicious even without the addition of the BBQ sauce.
- Barbecue Sauce: Use any BBQ sauce you like to baste the chicken as it grills. I personally love to use my Homemade BBQ Sauce, which is sweet, tangy, and perfectly thick.
How to Grill BBQ Chicken Breasts
Step One: Preheat the Grill. You want to be sure your grill is fully preheated before placing the chicken on the grill so that it evenly cooks and gets a nice sear.
Step Two: Season the Chicken. After trimming the chicken of any excess fat, which can be unpleasant to eat, sprinkle the homemade spice blend evenly over the chicken on each side. I find it is best to use your hands to rub the spice rub into the chicken ensuring it is evenly seasoned.
Step Three: Grill Chicken. To achieve beautiful caramelization on the chicken, you want to place the seasoned chicken on the preheated grill and let it cook undisturbed for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, flip and cook for an additional 4 minutes. At this point, your chicken breasts will be ready to baste in BBQ sauce.
Step Four: Baste with BBQ Sauce. At this point, you want to brush the chicken with your favorite BBQ Sauce, flip and cook for just another couple of minutes. Brush the chicken breasts again with BBQ sauce and flip. Cook for an additional 2 minutes or until the chicken reaches 160-163 degrees F, according to a digital thermometer.
Step Five: Rest the Grilled Chicken. After grilling the chicken, remove it to a platter and tent with foil for 5-10 minutes. This will allow the juices to redistribute and the temperature of the chicken to rise to 165 degrees F.
∗ How to Tell Grilled Chicken is Fully Cooked ∗
Don't be tempted to cut your chicken open to check if cooked through. This will cause the juices of the chicken to run out, leaving your chicken dry, and it is not always an accurate measurement. The BEST way to ensure you don't undercook or overcook your chicken is to use a digital thermometer to ensure the chicken reaches 160 degrees F. Once the chicken reaches 160 degrees, remove it from the heat and let rest for 5-10 minutes, this will ensure the chicken reaches 165 degrees F, which is considered safe by the FDA.
A digital thermometer is well worth the investment for perfectly cooked chicken, steak, pork tenderloin, and turkey. and they only cost about $20. Not only will it ensure your meat is not overcooked and tough and dried out, but you will also not worry about food poisoning from undercooked meat.
Instructions for Baking BBQ Chicken
Weather not cooperating? Or maybe you don't have a grill? Don't be discouraged! You can bake the chicken and still enjoy delicious barbecue chicken breasts.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Rub each chicken breast with the dry rub and place it into an oven-safe baking dish.
- Bake for 15 minutes and then remove the chicken from the oven.
- Brush the top of the chicken with the BBQ sauce and then return the chicken to the oven.
- Cook for 6-10 minutes longer, or until the internal temperature of the chicken is 160 degrees F.
- Remove the chicken from the oven and allow it to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.
Leftover BBQ Chicken
If you happen to have any leftover barbecue chicken breasts, you can allow them to cool slightly and then store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Absolutely! This recipe works with boneless, skinless chicken breasts and/or thighs. Be sure to use a digital thermometer to ensure you cook the chicken to 160 degrees F, as chicken thighs tend to cook up a bit faster than chicken breasts as they are often much thinner.
No! If you are looking to cut back on your sugar, omit the brown sugar from the dry rub.
As written, this is not spicy. However, if your BBQ sauce is on the spicy side, your chicken will be spicy as well. If you would like, you can add a dash or two of cayenne pepper to the dry rub for a little kick.
Yes! Be sure your BBQ sauce is gluten-free, soy-free, and/or corn-free, or use my homemade BBQ Sauce and this recipe is perfect for those with dietary restrictions.
What to Serve with Grilled BBQ Chicken
Just like Grilled Burgers or Grilled Shrimp, Grilled BBQ Chicken makes a delicious entree and pairs well with endless side dishes. Some of my favorite sides to serve with barbecue chicken are:
- Bacon Ranch Potato Salad
- Instant Pot Corn on the Cob
- Creamy Cucumber Salad
- BLT Pasta Salad
If you enjoyed this simple recipe for BBQ Chicken Breasts, I would love for you to leave a comment below.
Grilled BBQ Chicken Breast
- Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Lightly brush the grill with oil.
- In a small mixing bowl combine brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper together.
- Rub the spice mixture evenly over each side of the chicken breast.
- Place the seasoned chicken on the preheated grill. Cover and cook for 5 minutes without disturbing. Flip the chicken and cook for an additional 4 minutes. Brush the chicken breasts with BBQ sauce, flip and cook for 2 minutes. Brush the chicken breasts again with BBQ sauce and flip. Cook until for an additional 2 minutes or until the chicken reaches 160°F and opaque all the way through
- Transfer the chicken to a clean plate and tent with foil. Allow the chicken to rest for 5 minutes for the juices to redistribute and the temperature of the chicken to rise to 165°F.
- Garnish with parsley and additional BBQ sauce on the side if desired.