Love barbecue chicken but don’t have the time to make it? This Oven BBQ Chicken recipe is the solution! Moist, juicy chicken with classic bbq flavor that’s easy to make. Works for any type of chicken too.
Spicy, sweet barbecue chicken is always a favorite. But slaving over a hot grill or smoker isn’t always possible.
This method of making BBQ Chicken in the oven makes juicy, flavor-packed chicken every time!
Some special tricks seal the chicken, develop a delicious barbecue coating and skin without the grilling hassle.
The ingredients for this recipe are simple: chicken, barbecue sauce, salt and pepper.
You can use your favorite store-bought sauce or homemade barbecue sauce.
What Type of Chicken to Use?
Use Bone-in, Skin-on chicken for this recipe
There are multiple reasons this recipes features bone-in skin-on chicken.
It has more natural flavor due to the bone. The skin keeps the chicken moist and juicy.
The cooking times have been developed and tested for this type of chicken.
Substituting boneless or skinless chicken is not recommended. Skinless chicken will not retain the moisture in the same way.
Any chicken parts may be used: leg quarters, drumsticks, thighs, split breasts.
Chicken wings may also be used but may cook more quickly.
Size Does Matter
The size of the chicken pieces will effect how quickly they cook.
Three pounds total could be 8 chicken thighs or 4. The smaller thighs will cook faster than the larger, even though the total weight is the same.
When is Chicken Done Cooking?
For food safety purposed chicken must reach 165 degrees internally.
Once the chicken is taken out of the oven to rest, the temperature will still increase a few degrees.
There are a few things that make this method a winner.
The Cooking Set Up
A foil-lined rimmed baking sheet is fitted with a wire rack. This allows air circulation around the chicken while cooking. This helps the chicken cook evenly.
The chicken is also not sitting in any cooking juices so it cooks on all sides (and is less greasy) with crisp skin.
Lastly the foil in the pan allows for easy clean up.
Cooking at High Temperatures
Cooking the barbecue chicken at higher temperatures seals the meat for juicier chicken and develops a crisp satisfying exterior.
Basting with BBQ Sauce multiple times
The chicken is basted three times during cooking allowing it to build up a thick barbecue coating.
It’s done on the pan (after the first coating) so the chicken does not need to be moved.
How to Make It – Step-by-Step
STEP 1: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and fit with an oven safe wire rack (photo 1). Spray the rack with non-stick cooking spray.
NOTE: The size used here is a half sheet pan (18-inches by 13-inchs) with a wire rack measuring 17-inches by 12-inches. There are many options on Amazon.com.
STEP 2: Combine the salt and pepper. Sprinkle evenly over all sides of the chicken (photo 2). Place chicken on the rack with the meatiest portion facing up (breasts or thighs) or the side with the most skin (drumsticks).
STEP 3: Cook the chicken for 25 minutes (photo 3 is after cooking). Remove the pan from the oven and increase the heat to 425 degrees F.
STEP 4: Turn the chicken over with tongs and brush the underside with the barbecue sauce (photo 4). Flip back over and brush the tops and sides with the sauce (photo 5). Cook 10 minutes (photo 6 after cooking).
STEP 5: Brush the tops and sides of the chicken again (photo 7) with sauce and cook 10 minutes more (photo 8 after cooking). NOTE the underside of the chicken does not need to be brushed. Yuo should not have to take the chicken off the rack.
STEP 6: Brush the chicken one last time with sauce (photo 9) and bake 10 minutes (photo 10). The chicken may develop darker blistered spots and this is normal.
NOTE: for smaller pieces of chicken measure the internal temperature before this step. If having reached 165 degrees, they still can be brushed with sauce and popped into the oven for a few minutes. OR this step can be skipped.
STEP 7: Allow the chicken to rest for 5-10 minutes before eating.
- Add ½ cup of preserves to the BBQ sauce
- Add hot sauce or vinegar to the BBQ sauce
- Use a rub on the chicken before cooking
- Try sweet barbecue sauce or spicy barbecue sauce
Use an Instant Read thermometer
An Instant Read thermometer will check the internal temperature of the chicken instantly.
This is the best indicator of the chicken being fully cooked.
The chicken must reach a minimum of 165 degrees internal temperature to be considered done.
The color of meat or the clearness of the juices do NOT always accurately determine if the chicken is cooked.
How to take the internal temperature of chicken: insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat avoiding the bone to get the most accurate temperature.
Spray the wire rack with non-stick cooking spray before starting
This prevents the skin from adhering to the rack during cooking and pulling off when removing the chicken.
Smaller pieces of chicken may cook more quickly
Drumsticks and wings, or even smaller chicken thighs, may cook more quickly and only need to go through two basting cycles.
Monitor for doneness with the internal temperature.
Do Not Reuse the Basting BBQ Sauce
Once raw chicken comes in contact with a sauce it’s no longer safe to eat on its own.
Because you are basting the chicken, it’s ok to use the same sauce.
However once the chicken is done cooking do not add any more of the basting sauce onto the chicken.
Before beginning, measure out 1 cup of sauce into a small bowl to use only for basting the chicken.
Reserve more sauce in a separate container if desired for dipping or brushing onto the finished chicken (if brushing again use a clean brush).
Allow the Chicken to Rest
This step is important because it allows the juices to redistribute in the chicken to create the juiciest result and best texture.
Storing Leftovers and Reheating
Store leftover BBQ chicken in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days in the refrigerator. It can be reheated in the microwave.
The leftover chicken can also be frozen, in an airtight freezer bag or container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator.
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- Chicken and Biscuits
Oven-Baked BBQ Chicken
- 3-4 pounds bone-in skin-on Chicken breasts, leg quarters, thighs or drumsticks
- 1 1/2 cups BBQ sauce homemade or store-bought
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil. Place a baking/cooling rack inside the pan. Spray with non-stick spray.
- Generous salt and pepper both sides of the chicken. TIP: combine the salt and pepper in a small bowl. Mix and use for more even coverage. Place chicken skin side up.
- Put in the oven for 25 minutes.
- Remove and turn the oven up to 425 degrees. Using tongs turn the chicken over and baste the underside with BBQ sauce.
- Turn back over (skin side facing up again) and generously basted with BBQ sauce. Put back in the oven for 10 minutes.
- Baste the tops again and cook 10 more minutes.
- Baste one final time and cook 5-10 minutes. Check the internal temperature. If at 165 degrees, remove and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.