Finger-Lickin’ Good: Southern Barbecue Chicken Recipe

Are you looking for a new barbecue recipe to wow your friends and family at your next summer cookout? Look no further than this Southern Barbecue Chicken Recipe. As a chef specializing in Southern-style cuisine, I can guarantee that this recipe will have your taste buds begging for more.

Barbecue chicken is one of the go-to dishes for any outdoor gathering, but this recipe takes things to the next level by combining sweet and tangy ingredients like molasses, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, and lemon juice. It’s easy to make, and the result is tender chicken with crispy skin covered in a delicious barbecue sauce that perfectly represents the flavors of the South.

Whether you’re hosting a backyard barbecue or even just looking for a flavorful weeknight meal for your family, this Southern Barbecue Chicken Recipe is sure to become a staple in your kitchen. So grab your apron and get ready to impress your guests with this mouthwatering dish straight from the heart of Southern soul food.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Southern Barbecue Chicken
Southern Barbecue Chicken

Are you searching for the perfect recipe that will make your taste buds dance with joy? Look no further than this Southern Barbecue Chicken recipe! This chicken recipe is an all-time classic and a staple in any Southern soul food cookbook. You will absolutely love this recipe because it’s simple to prepare, and the ingredients are easy to find.

Imagine sinking your teeth into some juicy and succulent chicken drenched in a smoky, tangy, and sweet barbecue sauce that tantalizes your taste buds. The combination of molasses, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, canola oil, cider vinegar, tomato puree, French mustard, garlic cloves, and lemon juice gives this dish an incredible depth of flavor that makes it irresistible.

This southern-style BBQ chicken recipe is perfect for any occasion – from backyard barbecues with friends and family to enjoying a cozy night at home. And don’t worry if you’re not great at cooking because this recipe is beginner-friendly. So, whether you’re a seasoned chef or a novice cook looking to impress your dinner guests or family members, the southern barbecued chicken is an excellent dish to add to your arsenal.

What’s more? This recipe is highly versatile and can be customized to suit any preference. To keep things healthy, use chicken breasts instead of leg quarters or thighs. If you want to add a sweeter note, drizzle some maple syrup over the top before serving or use sticky chicken thighs instead.

Plus, this recipe doesn’t require any fancy equipment. All you need are some baking dishes or a slow cooker as it can be oven-baked or slow-cooked to perfection depending on what suits you best.

In conclusion, whether you’re looking for a meal that’s quick and easy to prepare or something impressive to serve your guests with during gatherings or parties, this southern-style BBQ chicken recipe should not be missed out on. Try it today and experience the fullness of taste and flavor that southern soul food has to offer!

Ingredient List

 Juicy and flavorful southern-style chicken, slow cooked to perfection
Juicy and flavorful southern-style chicken, slow cooked to perfection

Let’s take a closer look at the ingredients for this southern-style barbecue chicken recipe. You’ll need the following:

  • Whole chickens: You can use either chicken breasts, legs or wings depending on your preference.
  • Canola oil: We’ll use this to coat the chicken before baking it to get that perfect crispy skin.
  • Lemon juice: This will add a nice tangy flavor to the barbecue sauce.
  • Garlic cloves: Fresh garlic adds a pungent flavor that pairs well with the sweetness of the barbecue sauce.
  • French mustard: This will give the sauce a mild zing, providing balance against the sweetness of molasses and brown sugar.
  • Molasses and brown sugar: These two ingredients form the base of our barbecue sauce, giving it that signature deep flavor and dark color.
  • Worcestershire sauce: A classic ingredient in many southern-style recipes, its bold umami flavor helps elevate our barbecue sauce.
  • Cider vinegar: This provides a sharp contrast to the sweetness of molasses and brown sugar while adding acidity to our sauce.
  • Tomato puree: One of the key components of any good barbeque sauce, tomato puree brings sweetness and depth to our sauce.
  • Garlic powder and Pepper: These essential seasonings add an additional kick of flavor.

With these easy-to-find ingredients, you’re ready to start cooking up some Southern soul food flair!

The Recipe How-To

 A mouth-watering feast that will have your taste buds singing
A mouth-watering feast that will have your taste buds singing

Now that we’ve covered the ingredients, let’s get into the recipe itself. This Southern BBQ Chicken recipe is perfect for summer cookouts or cozy weeknight dinners. Follow these simple steps to achieve tender, flavorful chicken with a delicious BBQ glaze.


  • Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
  • In a small bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons of canola oil and 1 teaspoon of garlic powder. Set it aside.
  • Rinse and pat dry 2 whole chickens. Make sure to remove any giblets or excess fat inside.


  • Liberally season both sides of the chicken with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper.
  • Brush both sides of the chicken with the garlic oil mixture.


  • Place the chicken on a wire rack, skin side up, in a large roasting pan or baking dish.
  • Bake in the oven for 30 minutes before brushing with a mixture of 1 cup ketchup, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 tablespoon French mustard, 1 tablespoon cider vinegar, 1/4 cup molasses, 1/4 cup brown sugar, and 1/4 cup tomato puree.
  • Return it to the oven and continue baking for another 20 to 30 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C) when tested with an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat.


  • The final step is optional but highly recommended for a true BBQ flavor. After baking in the oven, slap them on your grill at medium-high heat for five minutes per side, just enough to get some char marks!

There you have it! Your perfectly cooked and deliciously glazed Southern BBQ Chicken is now ready to be enjoyed by family and friends alike.

Substitutions and Variations

 Imagine the smell of smoky, tangy, and sweet BBQ sauce on juicy chicken
Imagine the smell of smoky, tangy, and sweet BBQ sauce on juicy chicken

Are you ready to put your own spin on this delicious southern barbecue chicken recipe? There are plenty of options for substitutions and variations that will still result in a finger-licking good meal.

If you don’t have all the ingredients, don’t worry! You can easily swap out some of the components without missing out on flavor. For instance, if you don’t have French mustard, you can use regular yellow mustard instead or even Dijon mustard for a more tangy taste. Alternatively, if you don’t have canola oil, vegetable or olive oil can be used instead with no significant change in flavor.

Want to add a little sweetness? Swap out molasses for maple syrup to create a sweeter marinade sauce that will make your taste buds happy. If you’re feeling brave, add some heat! If spicy foods are your thing, try adding cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes to the marinade. The addition of these spices will give your dish a bit of a kick and kick up the flavors.

Looking for an alternative cut of chicken? While this recipe calls for whole chickens you can substitute with bone-in chicken breasts, wings, or even baked chicken leg quarters depending on what’s available at your grocery store. Just remember, every cut of chicken may require variations in cooking time depending on their size.

For a unique twist on this classic southern dish, swap the brown sugar in the marinade with honey or agave nectar for a distinct sweetness that pairs well with any accompanying sides such as collard greens or macaroni and cheese.

Remember: With Southern barbecue chicken recipes – the sky is the limit when it comes to substitutions and variations in appearance and taste! Create something unique and discover your own “Southern Soul Food” inspired dishes.

Serving and Pairing

 The perfect meal for a summer cookout or a comfort food dinner
The perfect meal for a summer cookout or a comfort food dinner

Congratulations on making Southern Barbecue Chicken! You’ve successfully made a delicious, succulent, and flavorful dish. Now, it’s time to think about how you’re going to serve it up and what will be the perfect accompaniments to really elevate the flavors.

The barbecue chicken would be an excellent addition to any summer cookout, picnic or potluck, as well as a great comfort food dish for dinner. There are a variety of ways you can serve your smoked chicken such as: with fluffy mashed potatoes or roasted sweet potatoes; grilled or roasted corn on the cob; creamy coleslaw; baked beans or macaroni and cheese. A sweet potato pie or peach cobbler would also make for a sweet end to a delicious meal.

Throughout the Southern United States, barbecue is often washed down with iced tea or lemonade, although cola beverages and beer also pair well with Southern BBQ. If you’re looking for something fancier than a drink dispenser filled with tea, opt for either something big and bold like Zinfandel or Cabernet Sauvignon wines, which can handle the intense smokiness of the barbecue sauce. For a refreshing pairing, try a light-bodied white wine like Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc that goes well with the sweeter side of BBQ sauce.

Remember, Barbecue is not just about delicious meats, but it’s also about having fun together! The magic of southern cuisine lies in its homey feel and inviting charm. So lay out your spread of Southern-style food on your porch or in your backyard under twinkling patio lights and enjoy your delicious BBQ chicken with friends and family gathered around the table.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 A classic southern meal that everyone will love
A classic southern meal that everyone will love

Preparing Southern Barbecue Chicken is not only a most delicious dish, but also easy to make-ahead and store. Whether you are cooking for a crowd or planning on having leftovers, this recipe is perfect for meal prep.

To make-ahead the barbecue chicken, simply prepare the recipe as directed and once the chicken is cooked through, let it cool before storing in an airtight container in the fridge. You can make the sauce ahead of time as well and keep it in a separate container until needed.

When reheating the Southern Barbecue Chicken, there are several ways you can go about it depending on your preference. You can reheat the chicken in a preheated oven at 350°F for 10-15 minutes, or until heated thoroughly. Alternatively, you can reheat it in a microwave-safe dish covered with a damp paper towel for 2-3 minutes.

For best results when storing leftover barbecue chicken, use an air-tight container and keep it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. When ready to eat, make sure to reheat until piping hot.

If you have large quantities of leftover Southern Barbecue Chicken, consider freezing it to enjoy at a later date. Simply divide it into meal-sized portions and store in freezer safe bags or containers for up to 3 months. When ready to enjoy again, thaw overnight in the fridge and then reheat using any of the methods described above.

In conclusion, Southern Barbecue Chicken is not only simple and delicious but also easy to make-ahead and store providing a great way to cook once and enjoy multiple meals for days to come.

Tips for Perfect Results

 Fall off the bone chicken that's grilled to perfection with a deep and smoky flavor
Fall off the bone chicken that’s grilled to perfection with a deep and smoky flavor

As a southern-style cuisine chef, I have some tips to help you achieve the perfect barbecue chicken that is tender, juicy, and flavorful. Here are my top tips for ensuring that your southern barbecued chicken turns out perfectly every time.

Firstly, marinating the chicken for at least 4 hours before cooking is a crucial step in achieving flavorful and juicy chicken. We recommend using an acidic marinade that has lemon juice, garlic cloves, and Apple Cider vinegar. This marinade helps to tenderize the meat and infuse the flavors of the marinade into it. Always marinate the chicken in a sealed container or a plastic bag in the refrigerator.

Secondly, before cooking the chicken, take it out of the marinade and pat it dry with paper towels. This ensures that it cooks evenly and will help it develop a crispy skin.

Thirdly, we recommend using indirect heat when grilling. This method involves cooking the chicken on one side of the grill while leaving the other side free of direct heat source. This technique enables you to slow-cook the chicken until it’s done without burning or overcooking it.

Fourthly, be patient when cooking barbecue chicken; this dish takes time to cook correctly. When baking or grilling whole chickens, use a thermometer to check the internal temperature; it should reach at least 165°F (75°C).

Finally, always let the cooked chicken rest for 5-10 minutes before carving or serving it. This allows the juices to redistribute into the meat, making it moist and tender.

By following these tips and our recipe southern soul food BBQ sauce recipe, your guests will enjoy delicious southern-style barbecue chicken.


Now that you’ve got all the details for this mouth-watering Southern Barbecue Chicken Recipe, it’s time to tackle the common questions and concerns that come up while preparing this dish. Below are some frequently asked questions and expert tips that will help you prepare a perfect southern-style BBQ chicken dish every time.

Do you put BBQ sauce on chicken before or after baking?

When it comes to BBQ baked chicken, many recipes suggest cooking the chicken first and adding the sauce later. However, through experimentation, I discovered a superior method. Rather than waiting, I found baking the chicken in BBQ sauce throughout the cooking process yields an end result with a desirable, thickened and sticky sauce, without sacrificing crispy skin.

How do you BBQ chicken so that the skin is crispy?

To achieve a perfectly grilled and succulent chicken, start by seasoning the skin with some salt. Then, place it on the grill with the skin side down over moderate heat. It is important to keep the heat low and steady to allow the fat to render and the skin to turn crispy. Avoid high temperatures as this will cause the fat to sear and not cook properly. Once the skin is crispy, flip the chicken over and grill for a few minutes until it is fully cooked through.

What to serve with Southern BBQ chicken?

This article presents a flavorful selection of classic Southern dishes that will bring a taste of the South to your table. The delectable menu includes creamy corn pudding, gooey mac & cheese, savory baked beans, tender collard greens, tangy coleslaw, refreshing fruit salad, fluffy biscuits, and hearty cornbread. Follow my step-by-step instructions and expert tips to recreate these delightful comfort foods with authentic Southern charm.

Bottom Line


After trying this southern barbecue chicken recipe, you will discover how soulful and flavorful it can be. Whether you’re planning for a Sunday family barbecue or hosting a small get-together with friends, this recipe is perfect for those seeking to explore some authentic southern-style cuisine.

With its sweet and tangy flavor, paired with the aromatic blend of spices and herbs, this barbecue chicken recipe will undoubtedly leave your taste buds tingling with delight. So, what are you waiting for? Go on and try this delicious recipe today and let your guests enjoy the mouthwatering flavors of the south.

If you had a good experience making this dish, share the recipe with others who love to cook or simply enjoy soulful southern-style meals. Happy Cooking!

Southern Barbecue Chicken

Southern Barbecue Chicken Recipe

Serve this chicken with the hot sauce and jacket potatoes also cooked on the grill. All you need is a green salad for a complete dinner.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 40 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Calories 709.1 kcal


  • 1 (4 lb) whole chickens, cut up (6-8 pieces)

Southern Barbecued Sauce

  • 11 1/2 ounces tomato puree
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 1/2 ounces brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons molasses
  • 2 tablespoons French mustard
  • 2 -3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice


  • In a saucepan, combine tomato puree, cider vinegar, canola oil, Worcestershire, brown sugar, mustard, garlic and lemon juice.
  • Stir to combine.
  • Bring to a simmer and continue to simmer over low heat 15-20 minutes, stirring often.
  • Let stand for 1 hour to cool and allow flavors to blend.
  • Heat barbecue to a moderate heat and oil the bars.
  • Lightly sear the chicken pieces on all sides over direct heat, about 2 minutes each side,.
  • Remove to a plate.
  • Place half the sauce in a small pan and place by the barbecue.
  • Place a sheet of silicon paper over the bars and prick at intervals between the runs to allow ventilation.
  • Place the chicken onto the baking paper and brush all pieces with the sauce.
  • Cover the barbecue with the lid and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Repeat this process every 5 minutes for 40-45 minutes until chicken is rich brown in color and cooked through.
  • If chicken is cooking too fast lower heat.
  • Heat remaining sauce in a small saucepan on the barbecue.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 294gCalories: 709.1kcalCarbohydrates: 30.9gProtein: 34.5gFat: 49.3gSaturated Fat: 10.2gCholesterol: 142.6mgSodium: 310.8mgFiber: 1.1gSugar: 23.4g
Keyword < 4 Hours, Chicken, Meat, Poultry
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