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The Best Grilled BBQ Chicken

Author Warren Bell


  • 2-3 pounds chicken parts with skin on
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce


For charcoal grill:

  1. Build a medium size fire, then carefully move the hot coals to one side of the grill, leaving an area with no direct heat underneath.

For a gas grill:

  1. Light enough burners to heat the grill to 400 degrees with the lid closed. On my six burner Weber Summit, I light two burners on the left and two on the right, leaving the center two off. I start on full blast to get the grill hot, then turn the heat down when I’m ready to cook.

Grilling Instructions

  1. Use any kind of chicken you want, from drumsticks and thighs to whole legs, breasts or even a whole chicken (butterflied).

  2. Chicken should be room temperature to start.
  3. Brush both sides of the meat with olive oil, then season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.
  4. To crisp the skin, place the chicken skin side down on the hot side of the grill. Keep an eye out for flare-ups and move the pieces around if necessary.
  5. Once the skin is crisped (about 5 minutes) move the pieces to the indirect/cool zone, skin side up, and close the lid. Adjust the heat, if necessary, to maintain about 400 degrees.
  6. Grill for 35 minutes.
  7. Choose your favorite barbecue sauce (around here, it’s Big Bob Gibson Championship Red Sauce). Working on the cool zone of the grill, brush a liberal amount on both sides of the chicken and close the lid when you’re done.
  8. Grill for 20 more minutes to caramelize the sauce.
  9. Every grill is different, so it may take a bit of trial and error to get tender, juicy chicken that’s cooked through. Use an instant-read thermometer to check the temperature. 160 to 165 degrees is your target.