Simple Barbecued Chicken

This is essentially the barbecued chicken that I ate at least once a week, all summer, as a child. It is simple, fast, and while I am sure I complained about it at the time, it is a great balance of tangy, sweet, charred, and just a little bit spicy.

My mother would whip it up after returning from a day at work, and have it on the table within an hour.

I have added a simple, dry rub for an additional layer of flavor and to help manage the carbonization that can happen if the sweet sauce is applied too early in the cooking. I’m also including a recipe for a quick and easy jalapeno skillet cornbread that makes a perfect accompaniment, and an even better one if you serve it with a dollop of melty honey butter.

Simple Barbecued Chicken

Recipe by Drew


Prep time


Cooking time




Cornbread Baking


Cornbread Prep


Total time



A simple barbecue chicken recipe.


  • Dry Rub
  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

  • 1 tbsp kosher salt

  • 1 tbsp paprika

  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar

  • 1 tsp garlic powder

  • ½ tsp ground black pepper

  • Sauce
  • 1 cup tomato ketchup

  • ½ cup dark brown sugar

  • ¼ cup cider vinegar

  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 tbsp prepared, yellow mustard

  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper

  • Jalapeno Skillet Cornbread
  • 2 cups white corn meal

  • 1 cup canned sweet corn plus liquid

  • ½ cup whole milk

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 jalapeno pepper

  • 2 tbsp melted butter

  • 1 tbsp neutral oil

  • 1 tsp kosher salt

  • 2 tsp baking powder


  • Dry Rub
  • Mix all dry ingredients in a non-reactive bowl.
  • Generously coat each thigh with the rub, and allow to rest uncovered, skin-side up in the refrigerator for at least 1 and up to 4 hours. This will help to dry and tighten the skin, providing a much crispier finish.
  • Sauce
  • Mix all ingredients in a non-reactive bowl, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mustard is fully incorporated.
  • Chicken
  • Prepare your grill or broiler. This dish is best grilled over real charcoal, but can be made on a gas grill or under a broiler. Using a broiler may require more frequent turning. If your broiler has a low setting, use that.
  • Grill or broil the dry-rubbed pieces for approximately 6 minutes on each side.
  • Remove, coat liberally in the sauce, and return to the grill or broiler for another 4-6 minutes per side to caramelize the sauce and until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 160°.
  • You may wish to add additional sauce in the final few minutes to create a thick glaze.
  • Jalapeno Skillet Cornbread
  • Preheat your oven to 400°.
  • Place a large, cast-iron skillet in the oven to heat as the oven warms.
  • Trim, seed, and dice the chili pepper, discarding the stem.
  • Mix cornmeal, salt, and baking powder.
  • Lightly beat the eggs.
  • Add the beaten eggs, melted butter, milk, and liquid from the corn to the dry ingredients and stir to mix well. Add the corn and diced pepper. Stir well.
  • Remove the cast-iron pan from the oven, add the oil, and turn the pan this way and that to coat it well.
  • Add the batter to the pan and return to the oven.
  • Cook until the top begins to brown (about 30 to 45 minutes).
  • Serve with butter and honey.


  • The cornbread is particularly good if you use bacon fat in place of neutral oil.

Be sure to check out my other food project, The Weekly Menu!

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