This is a re-post of sorts…last fall, I posted a recipe for an easy, no-cook barbecue sauce. And I mentioned in passing that you could brush it on chicken. But really, this sauce was made for chicken legs and it is SO good on them that the chicken deserves its own post. It’s not the same on the white meat–thighs or drumsticks are the only way to go, and that is HUGE coming from me because I don’t love dark meat. The good news for all you healthy eaters out there is that you can use boneless skinless thighs and STILL get the amazing juicy flavor.

Another thing I love about this recipe is that it’s a two-parter–definitely make sure you have enough chicken for leftovers. That way, you can have grilled chicken with grilled corn on the cob, potatoes and onions, and watermelon one night and save the rest for the quick and easy salad I’ll post at the end of the week!
Old-Fashioned BBQ Chicken Legs
1 recipe Quick and Easy BBQ Sauce (you can use regular or smoked paprika, whatever you prefer or have on hand)
2-3 pounds chicken legs, rinsed well and patted dry (I prefer boneless skinless chicken thighs). It’s important to rinse them, especially if you’re buying the non-frozen variety, because dark meat takes on a strong semi-fishy odor and taste when it sits in its own juices.
Now…don’t be fooled by the simplicity. Quite literally, the secret is in the sauce here–you’re not going to get the same results from a bottle of Kraft BBQ sauce. Something magical happens to this sauce and the dark chicken meat on the grill and it seriously tastes like something that came from a true-blue Southern BBQ restaurant.
Reserve 1 c. of sauce and marinate chicken in the remaining sauce for 8 hours or overnight. Grill over medium heat, basting with some of the reserved sauce, until it starts to blacken and internal temperature reaches 170 (about 10 minutes per side for boneless skinless thighs, give or take a little depending on their size…)Remove from heat, drizzle with remaining sauce, and cover with a loose tent of aluminum foil for about 5-10 minutes so the chicken remains juicy.

lPeople will be peering over their fences to see what kind of magic you’re making on your back porch. The dogs in your neighborhood will be freaking out. Your husband will forget about the empty toilet paper roll fight from earlier that day, the one he’s been stewing over all day, and look at you with bedroom eyes. Sorry, buddy, you’ve still gotta reload the toilet paper roll.

Serve with your favorite side dishes and maybe some fresh-squeezed lemonade. Happy spring!


  1. 1
    Heather says:

    If this makes him forget about the toilet paper roll fight, then I’m in!! It looks delightful. If the snow would ever melt off of my BBQ pit…

  2. 2
    Chef E says:

    That looks absolutely divine with the chicken, and the corn looks good too. I am ready to go outside and grill!

  3. 3
    cassi says:

    Since we don’t have the grill out yet, could you cook these in the oven on a broiler pan??

    • 3.1
      Donna says:

      I made this sauce but substituted red wine vinegar with balsamic. What a beautiful glaze it made. You can cook this in the oven ,but you must make sure you drain off alot of the liquid as it cooks and brush your chicken with the sauce several times. It is so delicious!!!!!

  4. 4
    Kate says:

    Cassi–I haven’t tried it in the oven, so I can’t say for sure how it will turn out, but I can imagine that it would still be good, just maybe not AS good as it would be if you did it on the grill. If you try it, let us know how it goes! :)

  5. 5
    Sara @ Our Best Bites says:

    mmm, that looks like perfect finger-lickin’ chicken. I haven’t stopped grilling since last summer, but I am still excited for bbq “season” to officially begin!

  6. 6
    Makeup Theory says:

    The pictures are killing me. I’m not a big meat/poultry eater, but boy does this look tasty. May need to make an exception.

  7. 7
    Country Chic says:

    We just had this tonight for dinner and it got a 5 thumbs up from the kids and hubby. Thank you

  8. 8
    Kate says:

    Country Chic–I’m so loving that you tried this the same day I posted it AND came back to tell us about it! :) I’m so glad you guys loved it!

  9. 9
    Bunny says:

    This looks finger lickin good!

  10. 10
    Kriste says:

    oh that looks so yummy! I wish it would hurry up and get warm enough to BBQ here.

  11. 11
    D.I.M. Incorporated says:

    Yum! Can’t wait to try this one! There’s nothing better than bbq chicken!

  12. 12
    Angela says:

    I see this chicken and start thinking about backyard BBQ’S and the kids running around having fun, and not fighting with eachother. I can’t wait for the spring weather to stick around for longer than a day. Thanks for the recipe. I can’t wait to try it.

  13. 13
    Katrina says:

    had this tonight for dinner – i couldn’t wait to let it sit overnight. lol . . . i only let it marinate for like 20 minutes, but it was still amazing!! My hubby (who ran in from work, grabbed a bbq chicken sandwich and ran back out the door to his next job) even called me to tell me it was awesome! Ü AND he wants to know if we can have it for dinner tomorrow night too! LOL. (i’m amazed – he hates having stuff twice in a row)

  14. 14
    imajacobs says:

    I made this for Easter Dinner today and it was fantastic! And I think using bl/sl thighs made a huge differece. Thanks!

  15. 15
    imajacobs says:

    Oh, and I woke up to two inches of snow today and that didn’t stop me from using my grill!

  16. 16
    Christy says:

    Just fixed this tonight and it was delicious! The only problem is that we ate it all and I don't have any leftover to make the salad with. Thanks for all your wonderful recipes.

  17. 17
    E says:

    Hi, This looks delicous! Question: if I use drumsticks how long should they be cooked for? I plan on making these this wknd and don't normally grill. Thanks :)

  18. 18
    Sara @ Our Best Bites says:

    E- average sized drumsticks take 8-12 minutes per side, so about the same. Enjoy!

  19. 19
    Michelle Compton says:

    So we just had this with some grilled corn and mashed potatoes. We pretty much died of happiness! Best meal that either of us have ever eaten!

  20. 20
    Angela Davis says:

    I don’t usually use the word “divine” to describe anything other than desserts, but this truly is, well, divine! I made it with bone-in, skin-on thighs (just a personal preference for flavor reasons – I take the skin off before eating and obviously I don’t eat the bone) and it was so amazing I even ate it with the skin, which I NEVER do! I also was looking forward to having it as a leftover for lunch the next day which NEVER happens. I know a recipe is a keeper when it makes me do things I never do. Thanks for the recipe! It will become a regular!

  21. 21
    Liz says:

    Thanks for another winner! We had this for dinner with grilled packet potatoes and cucumber salad on Wednesday night and everyone loved it. I plan to use the leftover sauce and chicken today to make a BBQ chicken pizza for lunch.

  22. 22
    Ang says:

    We made these for a gooodbye BBQ we threw for some friends and got rave reviews. They were so easy and absolutely delicious! I think I had everything we needed to toss together the sauce, even.

    I also used your lemon poppyseed vinaigrette on a salad of spring greens and had my life changed by discovering the watermelon cutting tutorial! Thanks, Ladies!

  23. 23
    John says:

    Loved this recipe, but I couldn’t find the promised follow-on recipe for BBQ chicken salad for leftovers. Did it ever get posted?

  24. 24
    Emmanuel says:

    Where the fu*k do i find a pretty girl that knows how to cook???

    Seems like girls my age now-a-days don’t know anything about cooking. I’m 25.

    Thanks for the grilling details. I’m going to try this tomorrow for my school lunch. Mmmm grilled BBQ Chicken with some smashed potatoes and grilled zucchini!!!!

  25. 25
    Leslie says:

    I just made this tonight (I marinated it last night and put on the grill tonight). And it was AWESOME! This is honestly my new “go to” BBQ sauce. Thanks!

  26. 26
    Liz says:

    After discovering this recipe early last summer, I easily made it 20 times before it got too cold out to grill. So now that it’s warm again, I am back! I love this recipe and so does everyone I make it for. Tonight I’ll be taking it with funeral potatoes and the garlic balsamic asparagus to a neighbor who just had a baby. Oh boy is she lucky!! Thanks for your site–you’ve not steered me wrong with a single recipe.

  27. 27
    Lana Jordan says:

    I teach cooking to 6 girls 12-14 and this week they wanted to cook mac & Cheese,bbq ckn & corn . it is a 2 hour class and I think this will be an excellent choice for them. Skinless ckn thighs is a good choice as well.

  28. 28
    Andrea Coombs says:

    I love this yummy recipe. I have never had any leftovers to make the salad because my husband inhales all of it. We eat dinner and then four hours later he’s eating it cold out of the fridge. So good!

  29. 29
    Beth Countryman says:

    My hubs and I have made this recipe at least twice a month for the last three months. Thanks for providing us with a family favorite!

  30. 30
    Vanessa says:

    Love this recipe and the sauce is awesome!

  31. 31

    […] Grilled BBQ Chicken Legs and Thighs, corn on the cob and spinach […]

  32. 32
    Su Higgins says:

    This is absolutely the BEST! I found your site a few years ago when I was looking for a recipe for a Barbque chicken leg. I hate dark meat and I kept thinking when i was growing up and how good they tasted when my parents made it back in the day. I found your site and tried it. OMG! I ALWAYS have “YOUR” Bar-B-Que sauce in my fridge. My kids won’t use anything else.

  33. 33

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