BBQ Chicken in Oven: Easy Recipe for Perfectly Juicy Meat

Learn how to replicate the smokey flavor of barbecue chicken using your oven’s broil and bake settings for a crisp yet tender result.

Key takeaways:

  • Opt for thighs for moist, flavorful BBQ chicken in the oven
  • Make homemade barbecue sauce for better flavor control
  • Achieve crispy skin by using high heat and the broiler
  • Pat chicken dry and let it rest for better texture
  • Serve with coleslaw, mac and cheese, cornbread, cucumber salad, or grilled vegetables

What Cut of Chicken Is Best to Use for Oven Bbq Chicken?

what cut of chicken is best to use for oven bbq chicken

Selecting the appropriate cut is essential for achieving succulent BBQ chicken in the oven. Thighs are optimal due to their higher fat content, which contributes to a moist and flavorful outcome.

Skin-on pieces, whether thighs or drumsticks, ensure a delectable crispness when finished. Breasts can be used but are prone to drying out; if opting for breasts, consider bone-in with skin for better moisture retention.

The key takeaway is to choose cuts that balance fat content and surface area for the BBQ sauce to cling to, promising a more robust flavor and juiciness post-baking.

For the Barbecue Sauce

Opting for homemade sauce allows complete control over flavor and ingredients. A traditional base combines ketchup, vinegar, and a sweetener like honey or brown sugar, enhanced with Worcestershire sauce for depth. For heat, consider cayenne pepper or hot sauce. Customizing involves adjusting the sweetness, tang, and spice levels. Aim for balance – a sauce that complements rather than overpowers the chicken.

Simmer ingredients to meld flavors and thicken the sauce for better adherence during baking. Store-bought sauces offer convenience, but read labels to avoid excessive sugar or preservatives. Whether homemade or store-bought, apply sauce during the final minutes to prevent burning.


To achieve that coveted crispy, charred skin when preparing BBQ chicken in the oven, one must pay attention to cooking temperature, positioning, and finishing techniques. High heat is the cornerstone of getting the skin to crisp up. Start by preheating your oven to a robust 425°F (220°C) which helps in rendering the fat quickly, leading to a crispier skin.

Next, consider the rack position. Place the chicken on the top rack of the oven, closer to the heating element. This proximity to the heat source expedites the charring process without overcooking the meat.

Before the chicken finishes cooking, pat the skin dry with paper towels; excess moisture is the enemy of crispiness. Brush a layer of barbecue sauce on the chicken, then use the oven’s broiler setting for the last few minutes of cooking. Keep a watchful eye during this stage — the broiler works swiftly, and the line between beautifully charred and irredeemably burned is thin. Rotate the chicken if necessary to ensure even charring.

Finally, let the chicken rest for a few minutes after taking it out of the oven. This not only allows the juices to redistribute for better flavor but also, the skin continues to crisp up from the residual heat without the risk of burning under the broiler.


Begin with patting the chicken dry to ensure the sauce adheres well and to help the skin crisp up. Next, season the chicken pieces with salt, pepper, and any additional dry spices you fancy.

Arrange the seasoned chicken on a wire rack set inside a baking sheet to promote even cooking and airflow around each piece.

Preheat your oven to a high temperature, around 425°F (220°C), before placing your chicken inside. This initial blast of heat helps to start the crisping process.

Cook the chicken undisturbed for about 20-25 minutes, depending on the size and cut of the pieces, until the internal temperature nears the safe mark of 165°F (74°C) but isn’t quite there yet.

Now, slather on your chosen BBQ sauce generously, using a brush to cover all sides evenly. The sauce will form a sticky, flavorsome glaze as it cooks.

Return the chicken to the oven, switching to the broiler setting to intensify the heat on the surface, creating that sought-after caramelization in just a few minutes. Keep a watchful eye during this stage as the high heat can char the glaze quickly.

After achieving the desired level of charred perfection, remove the chicken from the oven. Let it rest briefly to allow the juices to redistribute; this rest ensures the meat retains its moisture when served.

What to Serve With Oven Baked BBQ Chicken

Complement the sweet and smoky flavors of your oven-baked BBQ chicken with sides that offer contrast and enhance the meal’s overall profile. Opt for creamy coleslaw to balance the robust sauce, offering a crisp, refreshing bite.

A classic mac and cheese adds rich, comforting creaminess, while cornbread serves as a hearty, absorbent vehicle for those delectable juices.

For a lighter touch, a tangy cucumber salad can cleanse the palate. Don’t forget the grilled vegetables – their char can echo the smokiness of the BBQ, providing unity in your flavor narrative.

Serve baked beans for a traditional pairing that brings sweetness and a velvety texture to the plate, ensuring a well-rounded dining experience.