Baked BBQ Chicken – this is how I make Barbecue Chicken in the oven when I want to satisfy my craving for sticky, juicy chicken but I don’t want to fire up the BBQ. This recipe uses my quick homemade BBQ sauce – off the charts good for something so simple!
This is a one pan, quick and easy dinner. 5 minute prep, dump and bake!
Oven Baked BBQ Chicken
This recipe used to have the most generic of names – “Sticky Baked Chicken”. Nobody ever understood what it actually was, so I’d have to describe it. “It’s kinda sweet, it’s savoury, and it has this awesome glaze!”, I’d animatedly tell my friends, in a bid to convince them that had to try it.
(And well, well, well, what do you know? Convincing people they have to try a recipe is now what I do for a full time job!
It wasn’t until I started this website and I actually started cataloging my recipes properly that it dawned on me that the sauce is really just a simplified version of barbecue sauce, full length iterations of which you see in recipes like Barbecue Pork Ribs and BBQ Pulled Pork.
Half the ingredients delivers 90% of the flavour.
For a midweek meal, I’ll take that!
↑↑↑ PS Up close and personal view so you can see STICKY outside and JUICY inside!
What you need for Baked BBQ Chicken
Here’s what you need. I don’t use – nor do we need – a rub for this recipe because the chicken cooks in the BBQ Sauce so it sucks up plenty of flavour. You’ll see the process steps below!
Best chicken cuts for BBQ Chicken cooked in the oven – use bone in, skin on chicken pieces like thighs (pictured, and shown in video), legs and wings. Bone in breast / Maryland will also work here.
We need skin to get a really lovely glaze, and we need bone in pieces so they can be baked for 50 minutes so they absorb the flavour from the barbecue sauce without drying out.
How to make Baked BBQ Chicken in the oven
And here’s how to make it. See? Dump-and-bake!
OK OK, I simplified it slightly. It’s actually Dump -> Bake -> Baste -> Broil. The 3 minute broil is how we get the surface really nicely caramelised!
This oven baked BBQ Chicken is deliberately made with a barbecue sauce that is thinned out with water so:
- it won’t dry out in the oven; and
- to create enough sauce so the chicken absorbs the flavour as it bakes. We bake the chicken upside for the first half, then flip it for the second half so both sides get the benefit of the flavour, This is why we don’t need a rub for this recipe.
And you are going to LOVE the barbecue sauce you end up with in the baking dish! All the juices from the chicken mixes in as you bake it, so you basically end up with a world-class barbecue sauce that’s got the benefit of the ultimate home-made chicken stock!
What to serve with Baked BBQ Chicken
In the spirit of all things BBQ, I’m going to suggest classic sides for a BBQ cook out – and also some lighter alternatives just in case you’re counting your calories!
- Coleslaw – or try this Cabbage Salad (slaw without the mayo)
- Potato Salad – or this Lemon Potato Salad, or use a Yogurt Potato Salad Dressing
- Corn slathered in butter
- Southern Baked Beans
- Cornbread or Dinner Rolls – for mopping
- Creamy Mashed Potato – or Creamy Cauliflower Mash (for drowning in sauce)
- Big leafy salad with a salad dressing
Though having suggested all those sides, it’s actually pictured above with this Green Bean Salad
Watch how to make it
Oven Baked BBQ Chicken – with quick homemade barbecue sauce
Sauce (Note 1)
- 1 cup ketchup or Australian/UK tomato sauce
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
- 4 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tsp mustard powder
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp fresh black pepper
- 1 cup water
- 1.5 kg / 3 lb chicken thighs (bone in skin on), drumsticks or wings (Note 2)
- Fresh parsley, chives or finely chopped green onions , for garnish
Preheat oven to 200°C/390°F.
Sauce: Mix all Sauce ingredients EXCEPT water in a ceramic/glass baking dish (Note 3), then mix in water.
Add chicken and turn to coat. Place chicken skin side down.
Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, turn chicken, spoon over Sauce.
Bake for a further 30 minutes, then remove and spoon over Sauce.
Skim off fat (optional): Tilt pan and spoon or drain off excess fat.
Broil/grill – Change to broiler/grill on high. Spoon sauce over chicken generously, then place under grill / broiler for 2 to 3 minutes to caramelise the chicken and the sauce to thicken more. Do not walk away – this can happen quickly!
Serve chicken, garnished with parsley or green onions, if using. Pictured in post with Mashed Potato and Green Bean Salad (minus feta).
Classic Side Dishes for BBQ Chicken
Cornbread, Coleslaw, Potato Salad (or try this no mayo Lemon Potato Salad), Southern Baked Beans, big leafy salad with classic Vinaigrette, steamed corn with butter, bread rolls, creamy mashed potato (or Creamy Cauliflower Mash for low carb emergency!), or Potato & Gravy.
- Ketchup – sub with Tomato Sauce (ie Aussie/UK tomato sauce, not what US calls “tomato sauce”)
- Cider vinegar – can sub with white wine, sherry or champagne vinegar, OR 2 tbsp normal white vinegar
- Onion powder – sub garlic powder or 1 garlic clove, finely minced
2. Chicken – This recipe is best made with bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces – thigh, drumsticks and wings.
Breast / boneless thighs – won’t get quite the same result because longer bake time gets chicken juices into the sauce. But it can be done! Here’s how:
- Mix sauce WITHOUT water
- Use 1 kg / 2 lb breast or boneless thighs
- Follow the cooking directions in this recipe – Sticky Baked Chicken Thighs. ie coat with 2/3 sauce, bake on high, baste with remaining sauce & broil/grill to finish.
- Pan – light scrubbing will be required to clean! So either use glass/ceramic OR metal pan lined with foil then parchment/baking paper.
- Sauce thickness at end depends one many factors eg – how snug the chicken is in the baking dish, how juicy / fatty the chicken is, oven accuracy. But very easy to adjust – too thick, add splash of water, too thin, return just the pan to the oven for a minute or two (thickens super quickly)
4. Barbecue Sauce recipe adapted from this one by the Neely’s from Food Network.
5. Nutrition per serving, assuming 3 tbsp excess fat is spooned off and all sauce is consumed.
Originally published October 2016. Given a much needed spruce up with new photos and new video, as well as an update on Life of Dozer!
Life of Dozer
When my brother took Dozer out for a walk. This is why I trained Dozer NOT to give slobbery kisses!!!
And from the original publication date:
Dashing inside when he heard / smelled / his sixth sense told him there was FOOD ready to be photographed.
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