This Oven Baked BBQ Chicken is the perfect solution for those summertime dinner cravings – without the grill! Super moist thanks to a simple brine, this finger-lickin’ good glazed bird needs very little attention once it’s in the oven for its 40-ish minute ride to the dinner table!
Here’s a bit of unpopular info to preface this recipe:
Chicken is not my favorite.
It’s definitely growing on me, though.
Learning how to cook it well has helped a ton in that area, and I’m ’bout to educate you on the single most important piece of info you need to make you fall in love with chicken, too.
But full disclosure: if you ever see me at a wedding, don’t be surprised when I’m chowing down on the beef choice instead of the piccata.
This page includes step by step instructions, as well as tips and notes. If you’d like to skip all that, feel free to scroll down to the full, printable recipe card at the bottom of the post.
Why oven baked BBQ chicken?
- Simple ingredients! Only a few pantry ingredients are needed that you probably already have on hand.
- Prep Ahead! Brining overnight = maximum flavor come dinnertime.
- Quick and easy! After the brining step is done, finishing dinner will only take about an hour.
- Delicious! BBQ chicken is always a tasty meal, even when it’s from the oven!
When you pick up your chicken at the store, grab a few herbs, garlic, and your favorite sauce as well – the rest should be in your pantry! Almost all of these ingredients end up in your chicken brine.
- Water and ice
- Kosher salt – quite a bit, but helps make the chicken super moist!
- Brown sugar – to balance out the salt.
- Crushed peppercorns
- Garlic cloves – smashing whole cloves with the flat of a large knife works best here.
- Fresh herbs – think parsley, thyme, rosemary, maybe even cilantro for a more Caribbean flair!
- Red pepper flakes – optional, but they give a nice bit of heat to the final product.
- Whole chicken – cut into 8-10 pieces. You could also just buy pre-butchered packages of your favorite cuts.
- Barbecue sauce – your favorite brand, or your own homemade kind. Try my strawberry BBQ sauce!
Brine vs. Marinade For Baked Chicken Recipes
You may have heard of brining a Thanksgiving turkey, but did you know it works just as well for chicken?
Marinating chicken before baking it can lead to some delicious flavors, but marinades are better suited for tougher cuts of red meat like steak and pork chops. The combination of acids, salt, and spices in a marinade don’t really soak into the meat, they affect the outer surface of the food.
Brines are a simple combination of water, salt, and other flavor enhancers like herbs and spices. Soaking chicken (poultry is the ideal meat for this method) in a brine for a few hours helps it retain the water it needs to keep it from drying out when it cooks. The salty brine breaks down the outer surface of the meat, adding moisture and mild flavor without overtaking your favorite BBQ sauce.
My go-to chicken brine recipe includes water, lots of salt, black peppercorns and red pepper flakes, a little brown sugar, some smashed garlic, and plenty of fresh herbs.
It’s a simple yet effective method, and is the absolute best way to make any chicken recipe the best ever!
How to make baked BBQ chicken
For optimal flavor of this barbecue chicken, you’ll have to plan ahead just a bit! This baked chicken recipe involves a brine marinade time of 8 to 12 hours, but making the brine is so easy and quick!
- Make the chicken brine. Combine water, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, garlic, herbs, and red pepper flakes in a large saucepan set over high heat. Bring the water to a boil, then cover the pot and remove it from the heat.
- Let the brine cool for 10 minutes, butchering your chicken (into 8-10 pieces) in the meantime. Fill a large bowl halfway with ice, then pour the brine over it and stir until it’s mostly melted. Submerge the chicken pieces in the bowl, cover it, and refrigerate for 8 to 12 hours.
- Bake the chicken. Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F. Remove the chicken from the brine, then rinse the chicken well and pat it dry completely. Discard the brine.
- Place the chicken pieces, skin side up, on a baking rack set over a baking sheet or roasting pan. Salt it lightly, if you’d like – but it will still be pretty salty from the brine!
- Use a basting brush to slather the raw chicken with half of the barbecue sauce. Bake for 20 minutes, then brush the remaining sauce on the chicken.
- Bake for another 10-30 minutes, checking the internal temperature periodically at the thickest part with a meat thermometer until it the chicken reaches 165 degrees F. You may need to remove smaller pieces earlier as they’ll reach proper temperature faster.
- When all chicken is to temp, return it to the rack. Turn the oven broiler to high and broil 2 to 3 minutes until the barbecue sauce caramelizes to your liking. Baste the chicken with more barbecue sauce if desired, or serve more on the side.
What to serve with barbecue chicken
Veggies like Roasted Cauliflower, Coleslaw, BBQ baked beans, and greens brighten up the flavors. And since no barbecue is complete without a bread, Jalapeno Corn Bread, Bacon Cheese Butter Pan Biscuits, or even a lighter Panzanella Salad would complement this meal.
What cut of chicken is best for oven baked chicken?
Every type of chicken has it place – and bone-in, skin-on chicken is meant for baking!
Chicken with bones is perfect for the oven: the bones help keep the chicken moister longer. And as for the skin, even if you don’t plan on eating it, it prevents the inside of the chicken from drying out, and holds all that glorious sauce in place.
If you prefer boneless skinless chicken, that works too! You won’t need to brine it for as long, and when baking, reduce the baking time to 25-35 minutes, depending on the size and cut of the chicken.
How long to bake chicken
Chicken parts are not created equally! Thighs and drumsticks (the dark meat!) are likely going to take longer than wings and breasts, so you’ll want to keep an eye on the internal temperature of the chicken as it cooks.
Crank the oven up to 400 degrees F and bake the chicken up to 165 degrees F. Check the smaller pieces at the 30-minute mark and remove them from the oven if necessary (keep ’em covered!) to avoid drying them out.
As for the thighs and large breasts, they’ll take closer to 40-45 minutes depending on their sizes. If you split the breasts (which I recommend, even though I didn’t do it), they’ll cook a bit faster.
LOOKING FOR MORE CHICKEN RECIPES?
If you love this recipe, please consider leaving a 5 STAR RATING! If you really love it, leave us a comment and let us know – we appreciate all forms of feedback!
Join in on the fun in our Facebook group! Feel free to share YOUR favorite recipes, ask questions, help out your fellow home cooks, and see what’s new with The Crumby Kitchen (so that you never miss a new recipe)! If you’d like to check it out, you can request to join HERE.
Also, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram and tag #crumbykitchen so we can see all the wonderful recipes YOU recreate from this site!
You can also enjoy exclusive content before anyone else by subscribing to our weekly newsletter – and you’ll never miss a delicious recipe again!
Oven Baked BBQ Chicken
- 6 cups water
- ¼ cup kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons peppercorns crushed
- 4 cloves garlic smashed
- 3 sprigs fresh parsley thyme, and/or rosemary
- Red pepper flakes optional
- 3 ½ pounds whole chicken cut into 8-10 pieces
- 2 cups barbecue sauce homemade or your fave brand
- Combine water, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, garlic, herbs, and red pepper flakes in a large saucepan set over high heat. Bring water to a boil, then cover and remove from heat. Let cool for 10 minutes.
- Fill a large bowl halfway with ice. Pour brine over the ice and stir until mostly melted.
- Submerge the chicken pieces in the bowl, cover, and refrigerate 8-12 hours.
- When ready to cook, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Remove chicken from brine. Rinse and pat dry, discarding the brine.
- Place chicken pieces, skin side up, on a rack set over a baking sheet or roasting pan. Salt lightly if desired.
- Baste chicken with half the barbecue sauce. Bake 20 minutes. Brush on remaining barbecue sauce and bake another 20-30 minutes, until internal temp is 165 degrees F. (You may need to remove smaller pieces earlier as they’ll reach proper temperature faster.)
- Return all chicken to rack. Turn broiler to high and broil 2-3 minutes until barbecue sauce caramelizes a bit. Baste/serve with more barbecue sauce, if desired.