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Bourbon BBQ Chicken

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Bourbon BBQ Chicken

Adding some bourbon to your BBQ sauce really changes things up. 

  • Duration
  • Cook Time
  • Prep Time
  • 4-6Servings


  • Chicken, cut into eighths, or your favorite chicken parts
  • Kosher salt
  • Granulated garlic

For the Bourbon BBQ Sauce

  • 12 ounces organic tomato paste
  • 10 ounces white vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 8 ounces pure maple syrup
  •  1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon arrowroot
  • 1 or 2 shots of fine bourbon


1. Set up the fire on your barbecue to low heat. Make sure you have a cool side for indirect heat. I also like to throw in some mesquite chunks for this recipe.

2. Lightly dust the chicken with kosher salt and granulated garlic.

3. Place the chicken on the grill, skin side down. You can place the chicken over direct heat, but be careful that it’s not too hot. If it is, then move the pieces to the indirect side of the grill. It’s OK to move the chicken around the grill for this recipe, as needed.

4. For the sauce, simply whisk tomato paste, vinegar, maple syrup, salt, brown sugar, cloves, arrowroot, and bourbon together in a pot. If you want to kick it up with some spicy heat, add a bit of smoked chipotle peppers.

5. Then place the sauce on the cold side of your grill and close the lid. You’re not trying to cook the sauce, but you just want it to absorb the smokiness of the barbecue as it warms.

6. After the chicken has been on for half an hour, turn the pieces over. Watch for flare-ups.

7. When the chicken is close to being done, paint skin side with the barbecue sauce. Give it about 3 minutes to glaze onto the meat.

8. Now flip the chicken and paint the other side. After three minutes, flip again. It is very important to keep a sharp eye on the meat at this point because it’s very easy for the sauce to burn on the chicken with too much heat.

9. Repeat this process at least once more. 

10. Then take the chicken off the barbecue and place on your serving dish, skin side up.

11. Give it one more painting with your sauce and let it rest for five to ten minutes before serving.

12. I love to serve barbecue chicken traditionally, family-style, with a big bowl of fresh coleslaw, baked beans, and cornbread.

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