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This baked barbecue chicken is mouth-watering and finger-lickin good!

My oven barbecue chicken is basted with a tangy Memphis-style BBQ sauce to create a delicious glaze.

oven barbecue chicken leg quarters on a plate garnished with parsley.

The secret to flavorful, juicy chicken is a simple brine!

Soak quarters or a whole cut-up chicken overnight before cooking, then toss the pieces skin-side down on a hot grill to crisp up the skin. Finish in the oven for perfect results every single time.

Bone-in chicken might take longer to cook, but isn’t eating it with your hands part of the appeal? Especially when each piece is coated in a sticky homemade sauce.

I’ve got another bbq chicken recipe made with boneless breasts that I love to use for tostadas. That said, the meat is just as delicious on its own or on a salad. And when I don’t feel like brining chicken, I’ll toss a few thighs on the smoker instead!

Key ingredients & substitutions for Oven Barbecue Chicken

  • Chicken leg quarters — You should be able to find these in the meat department, but don’t hesitate to ask your butcher to package some up if needed. You could also buy a whole bird and break it down for this bbq chicken recipe.
  • Brine — Stir salt, brown sugar, crushed garlic, and fresh sprigs of thyme into a quart of water. If you end up making more chicken, simply scale up the amounts until all of the pieces are submerged.
  • BBQ Sauce — Any good bbq sauce (in my opinion) starts with a base of ketchup, mustard, and apple cider vinegar. Brown sugar adds sweetness and Worcestershire sauce makes it extra savory. You can play with the seasonings from there!
  • Spices — For my Memphis-style sauce, I like to add chili powder, garlic and onion powder, celery seed, seasoned salt, and black pepper.

How to make baked barbecue chicken?

ingredients for brining chicken leg quarters; leg quarters in a gallon ziploc bag with brine.

STEP 1 | Brine the meat

Combine the brine ingredients in a large bowl or container, then pour over the leq quarters in a gallon-size storage bag. Be sure to seal it up tight so it doesn’t leak, then place it in the refrigerator.

tip

  • For this oven barbecue chicken, I tend to brine for an hour or two. It should definitely sit for at least 30 minutes, but you could even brine overnight! It’s a great option when you know you’ll be busy the next day.

ingredients for making barbecue sauce on a table.

STEP 2 | Make the BBQ Sauce

Whisk together all of the sauce ingredients in a saucepan until smooth. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until thickened — about 25 minutes.

STEP 3 | Grill

Remove the chicken pieces from the bag and pat dry with a paper towel. Cook for 10 minutes on each side on a hot, oiled grill to crisp the skin and get those lovely grill marks.

STEP 4 | Finish in the oven

Line a baking sheet with foil and add a thin layer of cooking spray. Transfer the meat to the pan, then bake for 15-20 minutes.

Baste all over with the homemade BBQ sauce, then cook for another 20 minutes or until cooked through. Add another layer of sauce just before they come out of the oven and serve with extra!

tips

  • Poultry is considered safe to eat when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. Because the bones can affect your temperature reading, bake until a thermometer reads 170 degrees F to be safe.
  • Let oven barbecue chicken rest for 10-15 minutes before serving. This allows the juices to distribute evenly through the meat instead of leaking out onto your plate!

barbecue sauce in a bowl on a table with a platter of chicken in the background.

Frequently asked questions

What does it mean to brine a chicken?

Brine is a solution of water, lots of salt, and often spices and brown sugar. Soak raw chicken in a brine mixture for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours in the refrigerator. Brining tenderizes the bird with delicious and juicy results.

Do you put BBQ sauce on chicken before or after baking?

Either method will work, but I like to start basting with the sauce about halfway through. There’s plenty of time for the sauce to create a sticky coating on oven barbecue chicken without worrying about whether or not it will burn.

Is homemade BBQ sauce really worth it?

Absolutely! There’s nothing wrong with storebought barbecue sauce, but making your own is a lot of fun. We eat a lot of barbecue around here, from smoked meats to outdoor grilling, and enjoy tweaking the sauce depending on our mood.

The beauty of making your own BBQ sauce is that you can control the level of spice or sweetness so it always tastes just right.

oven barbecue chicken leg quarters on a plate garnished with parsley with a bowl of barbecue sauce in the background.

Serving suggestions

This baked barbecue chicken is simple enough to enjoy for a weekend meal alongside roasted veggies or a simple salad.

However, it’s also a favorite for larger gatherings too! Here are my suggestions for an outdoor feast worthy of any Memorial Day or 4th of July celebration:

BBQ chicken recipe inspiration

Summer barbecue season is a favorite of mine! I love everything about grilling, eating, and casual outdoor entertaining.

What’s really nice is that our barbecue meals are a combined effort. I do a lot of the menu planning and prep work, then John mans the grill while we hang out on the deck and enjoy a cool drink.

It’s a time of laughter and togetherness, and always great food! One of my favorite grilling meals is this oven barbecue chicken — it’s got all the flavor of the grill, but it requires less monitoring since it finishes in the oven.

Please share!

Your shares are how this site grows and I appreciate each one. Do you know someone who would enjoy this recipe? I’d love it if you would share it on Facebook or on your favorite Pinterest board!

oven barbecue chicken leg quarters on a plate garnished with parsley.

Oven Barbecue Chicken

This baked barbecue chicken is mouth-watering and finger-lickin good! My oven barbecue chicken is basted with a tangy Memphis-style BBQ sauce to create a delicious glaze.
4 from 3 votes
Prep Time 2 hrs
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 3 hrs
Course Chicken
Cuisine American
Servings 4 servings
Calories 187 kcal

Ingredients
  

Brine

  • 1 quarts water
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 clove garlic crushed
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 chicken leg quarters

BBQ Sauce

  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1 cups ketchup
  • 1/4 cup mustard
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil

Instructions
 

  • Place chicken into a gallon-size ziplock bag. Combine all ingredients for the brine and pour into bag with chicken. Seal tightly and refrigerate for up to 2 hours (at least a minimum of 30 minutes).
  • Remove chicken from bag and pat dry with paper towels, discarding the brine.
  • Oil grill grates and heat to medium high. Place chicken on grill and cook about 10 minutes on each side to crisp up the skin and get nice grill marks.
  • Bake chicken in a 375 degree oven to finish cooking, about 35-40 minutes or until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 170 degrees. After 20 minutes, baste all over with barbecue sauce. Baste again before the end of cooking.
  • Serve with extra sauce.

BBQ Sauce

  • In a medium saucepan, stir together all the ingredients except the oil. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the oil until smooth.

Notes

  • Poultry is considered safe to eat when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. Because the bones can affect your temperature reading, bake until a thermometer reads 170 degrees F to be safe.
  • Let oven barbecue chicken rest for 10-15 minutes before serving. This allows the juices to distribute evenly through the meat instead of leaking out onto your plate!

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 187kcalCarbohydrates: 38gProtein: 2gFat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gSodium: 2819mgFiber: 2gSugar: 30g
Keyword bbq chicken, brined, memphis-style bbq sauce
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was.
sheila thigpen in her kitchen

About Sheila Thigpen

Recipe Developer, Food Photographer, Food Writer

Sheila Thigpen is the publisher of Life, Love, and Good Food — a Southern food blog — and the author of Easy Chicken Cookbook and The 5-Ingredient Fresh and Easy Cookbook. After 20+ years in the publishing industry, she retired in 2018 to focus on her own creative endeavors full time. She and her husband live near the beautiful Smoky Mountains and have a precious little granddaughter who has stolen their hearts. As an influencer, Sheila has collaborated with brands like Creamette, Kroger, HERSHEY’S, Hamilton Beach, Garafalo Pasta, OXO, Smithfield, Valley Fig Growers, and more.

8 Comments

  1. I am from Memphis and I am always homesick for real BBQ. I am now stuck in Kansas City and they have no idea what real BBQ is here! This was fun to read!

  2. Oh wow. It doesn’t get much better than this! I would love some of this chicken right now 🙂

  3. Dear Sheila, this sounds absolutely wonderful! A perfect summertime dish, my mouth is watering! xo, Catherine

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