Make Barbecue Chicken Skewers with your own homemade Barbecue Sauce. The chicken is super tender due to the addition of bacon to the coating (Gluten Free)
Every summer, when it starts to get hot, I start looking for new ways to use my grill. It used to be that grilling was Hubby’s domain, but I’ve pretty much taken it over. Mostly I’m looking for quick and easy grilling recipes that are also fairly healthy and full of flavor. These Barbecue Chicken Skewers with Homemade Barbecue Sauce kind of fit the bill.
I say kind of, because they aren’t necessarily quick and easy, but the barbecue sauce and coating for the chicken can be made ahead of time. In this case you’re just looking at heating the grill and cooking for 15 minutes max.
Normally when I make chicken on the grill, it can be a little hit or miss. I’m always paranoid about undercooking the chicken (especially since a bout of salmonella a couple of years ago), and I usually end up overcooking instead, and drying it out. These skewers stay nice and moist, thanks to a secret ingredient in the coating. Bacon. Bacon really does make everything better, doesn’t it? It sounds weird, but pureed bacon gets mixed with some spices to give it a nice, smoky flavor and keep the chicken nice and juicy.
I have made this recipe several times now. But the last time I made it, was with the intent of final recipe testing and photography for this post. And let me tell you, it almost didn’t make it to the blog this time.
I had made the sauce and coating for the chicken, and both were waiting in the fridge. I had no backup options for dinner. Then it started to rain. Then it stopped, so I started the grill and got everything ready to go. Then it started to rain. Then it stopped. So I put the chicken on, and all was looking good. They were just about finished, and I had just got everything set up for my photos, and it started to rain – pour.
I’m shocked actually that any of the pictures turned out. If you look closely, you can see raindrops on my baking sheet in the above picture. Anyway, hopefully next time you get your grill on you don’t have any rainstorms to fight with.
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1 clove garlic minced or chopped
- 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon chipotle in adobo sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 Tablespoon paprika
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into 1 inch chunks
Stir all the sauce ingredients together in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 7-10 minutes until thickened. (Partially cover with a lid to prevent splatters). Remove from heat and allow to cool. (Can be stored in the refrigerator for a week.) Transfer 1/4 cup of the sauce to a small bowl, and set the rest aside for serving.
Add chopped bacon to food processor or large spice grinder. Pulse bacon until it forms a smooth paste.
Mix paprika, brown sugar, salt and smoked paprika together in a large bowl. Add bacon paste and mix well. Add chicken cubes and toss until the chicken is coated in the bacon paprika paste. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (up to 24 hours).
Thread chicken cubes onto 3 or 4 large skewers (if you are using bamboo skewers, make sure you soak them in water for at least 15 minutes before adding the chicken to prevent burning).
Light grill and turn all burners to high for 15 minutes. Clean and oil grill. Turn burners to medium-high. Place chicken skewers on grill, and turn every 2-2 1/2 minutes until all sides are well browned (8-10 minutes total). Brush one side of the chicken with 2 Tablespoons of the barbecue sauce, and flip skewers sauce side down. Cook until the sauce is browning, about 1 minute. Brush the remaining 2 Tablespoons of the sauce on the chicken, flip and cook for another minute.
Remove skewers from grill and place on a platter and tent with foil. Rest for 5-10 minutes. Serve with additional barbecue sauce.
**Chicken recipe adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Master of the Grill
Barbecue Chicken Skewers Nutrition Notes:
If you’re looking to cut down on sodium, reduce kosher salt to 1/2 teaspoon and use reduced sodium bacon and ketchup. Serve with your favorite grain or potato dish and a green salad to make a complete meal.