Ultimate Barbecue Chicken

Ultimate Barbecue Chicken


a) For the Marinade/Dry Rub

  • 500g chicken, boneless 
  • 12g ginger powder
  • 12g garlic powder 
  • 10g onion powder
  • 10g cumin powder 
  • 7g smoked paprika
  • 7g cayenne pepper 
  • 5g dried oregano 
  • 5g celery salt
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder 
  • 1 teaspoon coffee powder 
  • 30g Demerara [brown] sugar
  • salt and pepper, to taste 

b) For the Barbecue Sauce

  • 30g butter
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 250g tomato purée 
  • All ingredients as like the Marinade/Dry Rub, except for the chicken 
  • 100mL chicken stock
  • 100mL molasses
  • 90mL bourbon whiskey [Jim Beam/ Knob Creek] 
  • salt and pepper, to taste 

c) Garnish

  • Pickled onions
  • Cilantro [Coriander] leaves


a) Pre-preparation

  1. Clean the chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces and set aside.
  2. Chop the coriander [cilantro] leaves for the garnish. 

b) Preparation

i) Barbecue Chicken

In a large bowl, place the chicken pieces, and all the ingredients for the marinade. Rub well, preferably using your hands. Let marinate for 8 hours [or whatever time that’s comfortable for you].

ii) Ultimate Barbecue Sauce

  1. In a saucepan, add butter. Once melted, toss in one bay leaf. Let it fry for a whole minute. Remove and discard the bay leaf.
  2. Stir in the tomato purée and gradually add the spice powders of the Marinade/Dry Rub, cooking each one for about a minute. Sauté until the fat oozes from the purée.
  3. Slowly pour in chicken stock/water, followed by molasses. Reduce until thick but pouring.
  4. Pour in the bourbon whiskey, stir and adjust the seasoning.


  1. Grill the chicken on a charcoal grill for maximum smoky flavor. Remember to baste the chicken with the BBQ Sauce.
  2. If using a grill pan, grill the marinated chicken until just done
    turning every 5 minutes.
  3. Alternatively, grill in an oven for 15 minutes, turning after 5 minutes. Remove from the pan/ oven, and set aside to cool.


Brush the chicken skewers with the Barbecue Sauce for a final time. Sprinkle over chopped coriander leaves. Serve with a flatbread [Naan or Pita], pickled onions and more Barbecue Sauce if required. 


  • Substitute tomato purée with a quality ketchup for a different flavor. Better yet, use this homemade ketchup recipe.
  • Turn on the heat! Add 100g hot sauce of your choice [Sriracha works pretty good] to the tomato base and cook it well. 
  • Substitute the brown sugar with jaggery powder for a more molasses profile. 
  • Speaking of molasses, add a couple tablespoons of pomegranate molasses for a fruity flavor. 
  • For a much deeper umami flavor, add a shot each of soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Besides flavor, these sauces also impart a rich darker color to the sauce. Remember to reduce the amount of salt. 
  • This sauce can be used for a variety of meats, including pork ribs, short ribs, pulled pork, pork chops, steaks and whole birds [chicken and duck preferably]. 
  • Barbecue Sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks, and in the freezer up to 3 months. Just cool it down completely before storing. 

What Wine to Pair with?

A citrusy Sauvignon Blanc. If you’re making it particularly hot, pair with a sweet Riesling.

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