What do you think of when you think barbecue chicken (bbq chicken)? Perhaps it is Summer, picnics, camping, family, or backyard? For us it’s the beach. We always have barbecued chicken when we go on our beach vacation. Now mind you this has been year number two without a beach vacation because right now were are “living like no one else so later we can live like know one else”. This is kind of sad for me because up until last year, I don’t think a year went by without spending at least a few days at the beach. Yes, I am a bit of beach bum. There’s something about being by the seaside that re-energizes me. Growing up, it was the shores of Long Beach Island, NJ. During my Army years and a bit after, it was Tybee Island. Since about 2007 it’s been the sugary sandy beaches of South Walton County Florida, more specifically Miramar Beach.
This barbecue chicken recipe has been our go to for years. It’s super simple and by far the best tasting. The brine is the key. If you don’t like to cook your own barbecued chicken because for some reason, it takes to long, you always burn it, or doesn’t taste right, I implore you to try this. The brine gives the chicken subtle sweet and saltiness that brings out a depth of flavor when you grill it and add your sauce. Not to mention, like all brines, it makes the chicken super juicy. You only need to grill for a few minutes. I recommend an outdoor grill, charcoal if you have the time. I like the smokey flavor charcoal adds to. A gas grill or indoor grill will do just fine too. After grilling, you will finish the chicken in the oven. You are only really grilling it for a bit of flavor and for the char of grill marks.
I did not add a sauce recipe here. For one, we don’t have our own. We use “Stubb’s” original barbecue sauce. We really like it because it’s not too sweet or vinegary. It has a balance of flavors and it doesn’t have any high fructose corn syrup. Feel free to use whatever bbq sauce you like. This post was intended to keep it simple. The brining takes overnight, so plan ahead.
- 12 chicken legs or thighs or 6 leg quarters
- 2 cups water
- 2 tbsp kosher salt
- ¼ cup light brown sugar
- 6 thyme sprigs
- 4 garlic cloves
- a bottle of your favorite bbq sauce
- Start by cleaning your chicken remove any features that did not get removed from processing. Remove fat the best you can without destroying the skin.
- In a container large enough to hold the chicken and brine, combine water, salt, and brown sugar. Stir to dissolve. Add thyme and garlic. Add chicken and refrigerate for at least 12 hours or up to 24. I have found that any time less than 12 hours isn't worth the brine at all.
- Remove your chicken from the refrigerator about an hour before grilling. Drain the brine and pat the chicken dry with a paper towel. Place on a sheet pan. This will give time for the liquid to evaporate on the chicken and lower the temperature. You don't want to grill the chicken cold (straight from the fridge).
- Preheat your grill to medium-high about 500°F and preheat your oven to 375°F. Prepare the grill by oiling your grates with a high smoke point neutral oil. Grill the chicken until you have good charred grill marks on each side (about 5 minutes per side).
- Transfer chicken to a baking sheet. Baste the chicken liberally with barbecue sauce to coat. Bake for 15 minutes remove from oven and baste again, liberally. Bake for an additional 25 minutes, basting half way through the remainder of the cooking time.
- Serve as is or with extra sauce on the side.