How to Marinade Chicken for BBQ?

We’ll show you how to marinate your chicken the right way for flavorful results, whether you prefer a dry rub or a wet marinade. Learn how long to marinate chicken and how to broil and grill a perfect chicken breast for bbq.

Marinades, which are typically made up of oil, acid, and seasonings, make chicken tastier, juicier, and tenderer. How does that sound? Oils aid in the retention of moisture in the meat during cooking, resulting in a juicier finished product. Acids, whether from fruit juice or vinegar, aid in breaking down the dense protein and tenderising the meat. Seasonings, like any other ingredient, enhance flavour.

When you make your own marinade or rub instead of buying store-bought versions, you control the ingredients. You can avoid preservatives, colorings, and additives, as well as sodium and sugar, by using olive oil (high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats) instead of the less-healthy oils found in many commercial marinades.

Here’s our easy step-by-step recipe for marinated grilled or broiled chicken breast for the grill.

Two Different Types of Chicken Marinades

A basic chicken marinade comes in two varieties: dry or wet. Each can be delicious, but they are best used in different ways.

How to Make Chicken Breast Dry Rubs?

A dry rub is a herb and spice blend that contains no liquid. A dry rub forms a crust when sprinkled on chicken. This helps to enhance the flavour of the chicken while also sealing in moisture.

Use a one-to-one ratio of spices plus one-half part salt to make a dry rub for chicken. Combine any of the following dry seasonings:

A dry rub for chicken has no wrong or right combination. Use your favourite ingredients and keep experimenting until you find the perfect flavour.

How to Make Chicken Breast Wet Rubs or Marinades?

A wet rub, also known as a marinade, combines herbs and spices with liquid. The liquid is necessary for moistening and tenderising the chicken. It can also be very flavorful.

Combine your preferred spices and herbs in a one-to-one ratio, plus one-half part salt, to make a marinade for chicken. Then, pour in enough liquid to completely cover the herbs and spices. You can use a single liquid or combine them in a one-to-one ratio. Try some of the following:

If you’re using multiple liquids, whisk them together first. Then combine your dry ingredients and 2 tablespoons of the liquid. To combine, stir everything together. Add another tablespoon of liquid or more until you reach the desired consistency.

Some people like their wet rubs to be more paste-like. Rub pastes onto the surface of the meat and marinate for at least 30 minutes. Better yet, wrap the meat tightly in plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 12 hours.

If you want a thinner marinade, add up to 1/4 cup more liquid until you reach the desired consistency.

Marinating Chicken Breast

  1. Begin with a boneless and skinless chicken breast.

A quick weeknight dinner staple is boneless, skinless chicken breast. One pound will suffice for four servings. Choose your favourite rub or marinade.

  1. Rub or marinate the chicken breast

Place the chicken in a shallow dish or a 1-gallon zip-top bag to marinate. Refrigerate for at least one hour and up to 12 hours after adding your homemade marinade. (The longer it marinates, the stronger the flavour.) See our marinating time recommendations above.) Before grilling or broiling, remove the meat from the marinade and pat it dry.

In a mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients for the dry-rubbed chicken. Dry the chicken thoroughly before coating it with the dry rub. Massage the spice rub into the chicken for the best flavour. Allow up to 30 minutes for the chicken to rest before grilling or broiling.

  1. Cook the chicken breast on the grill or in the oven.

To prepare grilled chicken breast: Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Grease the grill rack (see Tip). Grill the chicken for 4 to 8 minutes per side, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 165°F.

Cooked chicken breast: Preheat the broiler and place a rack in the upper third of the oven. Coat a broiler pan (or baking sheet) with cooking spray and line with foil. Place the chicken on a piece of foil. Broil, turning once or twice, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 165°F, 10 to 15 minutes total.

Before grilling, oil the grill rack to prevent food from sticking. Using tongs, oil a folded paper towel and rub it over the rack. (Avoid using cooking spray on a hot grill.)

How Long should Chicken be Marinated?

That is dependent on the marinade and the type of chicken. Acidic marinades, such as vinegar and citrus marinades, tenderise faster than creamy marinades, such as mayo or buttermilk.

As a general rule, we use the following formula for acidic marinades:

Cooking time for boneless chicken pieces: at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours

Whole bone-in chicken breasts, drumsticks, wings, or thighs: 1 hour to 12 hours.

Too much time in an acidic marinade can result in mushy meat. If you use a creamy marinade, such as one with buttermilk, you can extend the marinating time for the boneless chicken to 8 hours and for bone-in chicken to 24 hours.

If you’re getting ready to make dinner but forgot to marinade your chicken ahead of time (hey, it happens to the best of us), it has an expert hack called a “reverse marinade.” Cook your chicken first, then slice it and toss it in the marinade after 5 minutes. You’ll infuse a lot of flavour without spending a lot of time.

Why is Marinating Chicken Necessary?

  • It not only adds flavour to the chicken from the outside, but a good marinade seeps inside the chicken, adding even more flavour to the dish.
  • Because of the high heat produced by grills, marinades are especially important for grilling. While cooking, excessive heat can cause the formation of harmful substances. The formation of these chemicals is reduced by using an acidic marinade.
  • The marinade keeps the meat from drying out and becoming chewy.
  • It aids in the tenderization and juiciness of the chicken.
  • It is a preservative.
  • The marinade shortens the cooking time. The longer the chicken is cooked, the drier it becomes.

Is it Possible to Marinate Raw Chicken in BBQ Sauce?

BBQ sauces add flavour and texture to meat both during and after cooking. BBQ sauces can be used as a marinade or as a dipping sauce for meat at the table.

To make the marinade, combine the BBQ sauce, Italian dressing, apple cider vinegar, and pressed garlic in a mixing bowl. With a fork, poke the chicken all over. Put the chicken in a dish or zip-top bag and pour the marinade over it completely. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours.

Chicken marinated or slathered in sauce before grilling seals the fate of the bird, resulting in a mostly burnt result.

How do you Make BBQ Sauce Stick to Meat?

Just season with salt and pepper. Before grilling, you typically season meat with salt and pepper for flavour, but for skinless chicken, it adds something even more important – texture. This texture provides something for the sauce to cling to, preventing it from melting away.

The flour is the key to getting the sauce to stick to your wings, according to Sidoti. Make sure to coat your wings in flour or a dry mixture before tossing them in the sauce. Dredge the entire wing before tossing it in your preferred sauce. This will also help to ensure that the sauce is distributed evenly.

Should I Marinate the Ribs in Barbecue Sauce?

Ribs do not need to be brined or marinated. Simply season a rack of ribs with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, smoke them low and slow, and finish with your favourite barbecue sauce.

Will the Barbecue Sauce Burn in the Oven?

The majority of barbecue sauce contains a lot of sugar. Sugars can burn at temperatures ranging from 265 to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. If you cook above this temperature, the sugars in a sauce will pass through the caramelising stage and into the burning stage, imparting a bad flavour to the food.

How can I Keep my Chicken from Burning on the Grill?

One of the best ways to avoid burning is to keep your meat from sticking to the grill’s surface. So, before you start heating up the grill, brush it with oil or cooking spray. Before grilling, brush some oil on all sides of your chicken or soak it in an oil-based marinade.

Should you Make Holes in the Chicken to Allow it to Marinate?

As I previously stated, the general consensus is no. This is due to the fact that meat produces a lot of juices during the cooking process. You really want to keep those juices within the piece of meat you’re cooking, and poking holes will result in the loss of those juices.

How do you Tell if the Bbq Chicken is Done?

A meat thermometer could be used. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat when checking for doneness. When cooking a whole bird, insert the thermometer beneath the large thigh bone, where the drumstick and thigh meet. You are ready to go when the temperature reaches 75 degrees Celsius.

When cooking meat on the bone, whether it’s a whole chicken, wing, or drumstick, make sure the thermometer isn’t touching the bone. This is because the bone conducts heat and may give you an incorrect reading.

If you don’t have a thermometer and are cooking chicken breast, make a small incision in the thickest part of the meat and check the colour. Simply use a fork and a knife to separate the sides until you can see the colour of the meat all the way through.

If you don’t want to cut your chicken apart, insert a clean knife or skewer into the thickest part of the chicken. The juices should run clear as you remove it. Cook the chicken for an additional 10 minutes if the juices are pink. Then double-check it. Finish the chicken in the oven at 180°C (350°F, gas mark 4) if necessary, testing it every 10 minutes.

Always allow your meat to rest before serving. Whole chickens should rest for about thirty minutes. Chicken breasts will only take five to ten minutes to cook.

Should you Pre-Cook Chicken Before Grilling it?

You don’t have to pre-cook the chicken before grilling it. It is, however, a good idea. We enjoy cooking chicken in the oven and then finishing it off on the grill. You’ll still get that smoky flavour, but you’ll know for sure that the chicken is fully cooked.


Nothing says “summer has arrived” like a delicious BBQ! And chicken, whether it’s a drumstick, a thigh, or a whole bird, is always a crowd-pleaser.

Knowing how to BBQ chicken will elevate your summer meals outside. It will also give you peace of mind when serving barbecued chicken to friends and family, knowing that it has been thoroughly and properly cooked. Thank you for no upset stomachs!

Before you even start firing up the grill to grill chicken, consider the following factors to perfectly marinade your chicken for bbq.