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Sweet, smokey, and perfectly juicy, Oven Baked BBQ Chicken has outdoor summer grilling vibes. Easy to make with a handful of ingredients and a family-friendly dinner.
Fortunate are the ones who can grill outdoors year-round. But you don’t always have to fire up the grill to cook chicken with a caramelized crust outside slathered with a rich bbq sauce. The meat inside stays juicy and soft.
Just look at this caramelized brown crust on the chicken pieces. The charred crust usually comes from grilling quickly at high heat. But you can forgive anyone for thinking these have been grilled. This is the best that oven-roasted chicken with a bbq sauce can get.
The barbecue sauce in this BBQ Chicken in the Oven recipe needs only two ingredients. But why not make it extra delicious and toss the chicken in a simple spice mixture before applying the BBQ sauce? This is a great way to spice up the bird with extra flavor.
This dry spice rub will take your bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs and legs to a new level of deliciousness when baking them with that finger-licking BBQ sauce. Get ready to spice things up!
When the chicken bakes, the skin crips to perfection, providing a lovely texture that contrasts the juicy and soft meat inside.
What’s special about this baked BBQ chicken recipe?
- Quick & easy. Three simple steps to get to a delicious and juicy Baked BBQ Chicken
- A simple dry rub for infusing flavors.
- No Marinade
- NO broiling is required and there is no risk of burning.
Dry spice rub
So, this dry spice rub is a flavor powerhouse packed with fantastic ingredients. We start with a combination of onion powder and garlic powder, which adds that lovely aromatic punch and savory goodness to the chicken. It’s like a one-two punch of flavor that makes your taste buds dance joyfully.
Next up, we have paprika, which brings a smoky and slightly sweet undertone to the mix. It adds this beautiful reddish color to the chicken skin when it bakes, making it look even more appetizing. Trust me; it’s all about that eye-catching appeal!
Of course, we can’t forget the classics: salt and pepper. These two staples are the secret behind balancing the flavors and enhancing the natural taste of the chicken. A sprinkle of salt brings out the savory notes, while a dash of pepper adds a gentle kick that tantalizes your taste buds.
When you rub this magical combination of spices onto the chicken thighs and legs, they become a flavor explosion waiting to happen. The spices work their magic, infusing the meat with a tantalizing blend of savory, smoky, and aromatic goodness.
And here’s the best part: when you bake those chicken thighs and legs with the dry spice rub and that luscious BBQ sauce, the flavors meld together into pure perfection. The spices form this delicious crust on the skin, creating an irresistible texture that locks in the juiciness of the meat.
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So go ahead, and get your hands messy with that dry spice rub. Let it work its wonders on your bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs and legs. Prepare for a flavor adventure that will have you coming back for seconds (and maybe even thirds!). It’s time to take your baked BBQ chicken to a whole new level of taste bud bliss. Enjoy!
Homemade BBQ sauce or store-bought sauce bottles?
This is homemade freshness with pride vs. convenience. If you have the time to make a homemade BBQ sauce, surely go for it. An initial effort is needed to collect the ingredients for the sauce. But making the sauce is not difficult.
On the other hand, many BBQ sauce bottle brands are available in supermarkets nowadays. Honestly, a few of them are quite good. Look carefully for the list of ingredients, and avoid sauces that are too sweet.
You can grab a bottle and run with this recipe to reduce your prep time significantly.
Fan of BBQ sauce? Check out this gorgeous Baked BBQ Pork Tenderloin recipe with a similar spice rub and a flavorful BBQ glaze that mixes bbq sauce with other sauces.
How to bake BBQ Chicken in the oven?
The whole process can be divided into three easy steps. Season the chicken, bake, and then coat with BBQ sauce.
Season the chicken
Prepare the seasoning with garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt, and pepper. Season the chicken well. This extra step of seasoning the chicken gives more flavor.
Bake in oven
After baking the seasoned chicken, we will coat the BBQ sauce in two stages. Remove the chicken from the oven and increase the heat to 425 degrees F.
Brush with BBQ sauce
Brush BBQ sauce and bake for 10 minutes. Then remove the tray and give it a second coat. Bake for 10 more minutes. By the end of 10 minutes, the chicken was cooked through and the internal temperature was close to 165 degrees F. If the chicken pieces are really big then bake for another 5 minutes.
For charred skin, broil it in the upper half of the oven for 2-3 minutes, keeping a close eye to avoid burning.
Frequently asked questions
The entire process includes a 5-minute prep and takes less than an hour. You can split the entire cooking time into three steps:
Prep – It is very easy to prep and does not take more than 5 min.
Bake the chicken – 20 mins to cook the chicken as a first step.
Apply BBQ sauce and bake again – 20 mins in total. 10 mins each side after applying the BBQ sauce.
Well, in theory, you can baste BBQ sauce over any cut of chicken. There are four cuts of chicken that you would have seen being used for baking or grilling:
– Chicken Legs
– Bone-in Thighs
– Boneless Thighs
– Boneless breast
The thigh and leg cuts are what are called ‘Dark Meat’ cuts of the bird. These four cuts can be also split as ‘Bone-in’ or also be‘Bone-less’.
The chicken breast is a boneless cut and you get boneless thigh pieces too.
What works best for baking or grilling recipes, especially with a sauce on it, is a mix of Bone-in cuts like thigh and legs. There are two reasons why bone-in cuts are best for this –
The bone imparts a flavor to the meat. Also, because they take longer to get cooked, it gives enough time to infuse the flavors from the sauce or spice into the meat.
Boneless meats cook very fast and run the risk of getting overcooked (read chewy and tough) by the time the sauce is caramelized.
So with bone-in pieces, first, you get the most flavor, and second, it cooks simultaneously as the sauce caramelizes. Delivers the best flavor this way.
All the bone-in cuts come with either skin-on or skinless. For this recipe, I strongly advise getting the chicken cuts with skin on them.
The skin gets crispy, golden brown, and covered in that mouthwatering BBQ sauce. It serves as a barrier, locking the moisture and preserving the moisture content of the meat.
It is best to have even-sized cuts of the chicken. A reason being you can ensure that all of those get cooked simultaneously. We do not want one to overcook while the other gets done perfectly.
If you get a whole chicken or much bigger pieces, I suggest you cut them to a uniform size.
I have learned and applied a simple rule to have a uniform size of the cuts. Of course, when you take a mix of different cuts like legs and thighs, they vary in shape to start with. Just make sure that the length is more or less similar.
Each piece should not be smaller than the palm width – i.e., width from the index to the little finger.
Neither should they be much wider than your palm length (from the bottom to the top of your palm)
Store BBQ Chicken in the fridge
It is easy to refrigerate or freeze cooked BBQ chicken. The good thing is once you reheat it, there isn’t any difference at all while you have it post-freezing.
To refrigerate baked BBQ chicken, put the cooked pieces in an airtight container ( to avoid absorbing the smell from other items in the fridge and releasing its own).
You can refrigerate them for up to 3 days.
To freeze the chicken, cling wrap the pieces individually (so they don’t stick because of the sauce). It would be difficult to separate them later if they stick together. Put the wrapped pieces in a zip-lock bag, leaving it frozen for up to 3 months.
When it is time to serve the chicken, take them out of the fridge and leave it aside to thaw. Once the chicken reaches room temperature, reheat it in the microwave until it gets warm.
What to serve with baked BBQ chicken?
Baked BBQ chicken with a flavorful spice rub and slathered in bbq sauce goes well with several sides. Here are a few serving suggestions
- Corn – is a classic pairing with barbecued and grilled meats. Look at some salad options with corn – Roasted Corn Salad or Roasted Corn Pasta Salad. A creamy corn dish like Easy Creamed Corn will go well.
- Salad – A light, refreshing salad with a vinaigrette dressing will pair well with oven-baked chicken in BBQ sauce. Choose among Roasted Beetroot Arugula Salad With Balsamic Dressing, White bean salad with lemon vinaigrette, or Apple Kale Salad With Apple Cider Vinaigrette.
- Coleslaw – – For a creamy recipe, check out my Classic Coleslaw.
- Grilled vegetables – The sweetness of roasted veggies (due to caramelization) goes well with barbeque or grilled meats. You have many options here – Oven-roasted Brussels Sprouts, Oven Roasted Carrots, or Airfryer Roasted Broccoli.
- Roasted potatoes – Grilled or baked meats go well with mashed potato, potato wedges, or roasted potatoes. You may also have potato as a salad like this Roasted Potato Salad, or Lemon Dill Potato Salad( No Mayo). Sweet potatoes are a hit like this Cinnamon Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Other baked chicken recipes
Honey Soy Baked Chicken Drumsticks – Delicious drumsticks baked in the oven resulting in a caramelized color and dark brown glaze.
Baked Chicken Legs And Vegetables – Chicken legs and vegetables tossed in a ranch marinade and cooked until tender and juicy.
Baked Honey Garlic Chicken Wings – wings tossed in a sweet and savory sauce and baked until crispy.
Oven Baked Creamy Chicken Thighs – baked chicken thighs slathered with creamy parmesan sauce.
Baked Garlic Parmesan Chicken & Potatoes – classic chicken and potato combination in a butter garlic herb sauce.
Baked Cilantro Lime Chicken – fresh flavors from cilantro highlight in this sheet pan recipe where chicken thighs are baked with potato and pepper.
Chicken stuffed baked chili peppers – a baked version of stuffed chili pepper is delicious, with chicken stuffing and cheese.
Crispy Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken Wings – crispy wings baked with a glossy sweet and sour sauce. A party hit!
Best BBQ Chicken in Oven
- 1 kg Chicken thighs and legs With skin and bone-in
- 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
- ½ teaspoon Onion Powder
- 1 teaspoon Paprika
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- ¼ teaspoon Pepper
- ¾ cup BBQ Sauce ref note -1 & 2
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking tray with foil and keep aside.
- Start by patting the chicken dry with a kitchen towel.
- In a bowl mix all the dry ingredients.
- Arrange chicken pieces on the prepared tray a little apart. Season generously with the above seasoning mix on both sides.
- Keep the skin side up. Bake in the middle rack for 20 minutes.
- Remove from the oven. Increase oven heat to 425 F.
- Brush chicken generously with BBQ sauce. Put the tray back into the oven. Bake for 10 minutes.
- Again remove the chicken from the oven, and give a second coat of BBQ sauce. Bake it again for about 10 minutes. Chicken is done when clear juices run out of it and the internal temperature is 165 degrees F.
- For the extra charred effect on the skin, broil the chicken on the upper rack for 2-3 minutes(keep a close eye not to avoid burning)
- After brushing the chicken with BBQ sauce if dipping the brush back to the sauce, the BBQ sauce is contaminated. So any leftover sauce should not be consumed directly unless being cooked. Alternatively, take out half of the total sauce in another bowl and use it.
- If the bottled BBQ sauce is too sweet, add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to the sauce.