Charcoal-Grilled Barbecued Chicken
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Charcoal-Grilled Barbecued Chicken

Why this recipe works:

To ensure that the meat in our barbecued chicken kebabs recipe stayed moist, we started by tossing the chicken pieces with salt. After allowing the salt to penetrate the meat, we coated it in sugar, spices, and pureed bacon, which kept the chi...(more)

Serves 6

We prefer flavorful thigh meat for these kebabs, but you can use white meat. Whichever you choose, don’t mix white and dark meat on the same skewer since they cook at different rates. If you have thin pieces of chicken, cut them larger than 1 inch and roll or fold them into approximately 1-inch cubes. Use the large holes on a box grater to grate the onion.


  • Sauce
  • 1/2cup   ketchup
  • 1/4cup light or mild molasses
  • 2tablespoons grated onion (see note)
  • 2tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1tablespoon light brown sugar
  • Kebabs
  • 2pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1-inch cubes (see note)
  • 2teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 4teaspoons sugar
  • 2teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2slices bacon , cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 4 12-inch metal skewers


  1. 1. FOR THE SAUCE: Bring all ingredients to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat; cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce reaches ketchup-like consistency and is reduced to about 1 cup, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer 1/2 cup sauce to small bowl and set aside remaining sauce to serve with cooked chicken.

  2. 2. FOR THE KEBABS: Toss chicken and salt in large bowl; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.

  3. 3. Light large chimney starter three-quarters filled with charcoal (4 1/2 quarts, about 75 briquettes) and allow to burn until coals are fully ignited and partially covered with thin layer of ash, about 20 minutes. Arrange all coals in even layer over half of grill bottom, leaving other half empty. Position cooking grate over coals, cover grill, and heat grate until hot, about 5 minutes. Scrape grate clean with grill brush.

  4. 4. While grill heats, pat chicken dry with paper towels. Combine sweet paprika, sugar, and smoked paprika in small bowl. Process bacon in food processor until smooth paste forms, 30 to 45 seconds, scraping down bowl twice during processing. Add bacon paste and spice mixture to chicken; mix with hands or rubber spatula until ingredients are thoroughly blended and chicken is completely coated. Thread meat onto skewers, rolling or folding meat as necessary to maintain 1-inch cubes.

  5. 5. Place kebabs over coals and grill, turning one-quarter turn every 2 to 2 1/2 minutes until well browned and slightly charred, 8 minutes for breasts or 10 minutes for thighs. (If flare-ups occur, slide kebabs to cool side of grill until fire dies down.) Brush top surface of kebabs with ¼ cup sauce; flip and cook until sauce is brown in spots, about 1 minute. Brush second side with remaining ¼ cup sauce; flip and continue to cook until brown in spots and instant-read thermometer inserted in center of meat registers 160 degrees for breasts and 175 degrees for thighs, about 1 minute longer. Remove kebabs from grill and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve, passing reserved barbecue sauce separately.