Homemade Barbecue Sauce on Grilled Chicken | Kitchen Explorers | PBS Food

Homemade Barbecue Sauce on Grilled Chicken


I appreciate the convenience of store-bought sauces, but when I have a little extra time I prefer to make my own. Usually homemade foods cost about 1/4 of the price of store-bought versions and they have the added advantage of being customizable to our own preferences for sweetness, saltiness and spiciness.

This homemade barbecue sauce is such a breeze that you may never buy BBQ sauce again!  You can use this glaze on chicken, pork chops, ribs and fish, or even on top of a baked potato.

We like to use this barbecue sauce on grilled chicken. To get the best results when grilling, start with a clean grill:  While the grill is hot, clean off any cooked-on bits of food with a grill brush/scraper combo, as this will result in better flavor food and less-sticky grates.  After you clean it, you may want to oil the grates with a paper towel coated with vegetable oil.

You may enjoy this barbecue chicken with Warm New Potato Salad  or a Mango and Black Bean Salad.

What types of sauces do you prefer to make at home rather than buying at the store?

Homemade Barbecue Sauce on Grilled Chicken

Homemade barbecue sauce is easy to make!



  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 5 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco, or to taste (optional)
  • ¼ lemon, juice only, about 2 tsp.
  • 1 whole chicken, cut up (or use 10-12 drumsticks and thighs)


  1. Preheat the grill (or broiler, with the oven rack about 6 inches from the heat source) to medium-high heat and rub the grates with oil, if necessary.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, garlic powder and hot pepper sauce (optional). Bring it to a low boil and simmer it for about 5 minutes, until it is thickened. Add the lemon juice and stir until it is heated through. Remove it from the heat. Set aside half the barbecue sauce to serve on the side with the chicken.
  3. Cook the chicken on the preheated grill with the lid open for about two minutes, skin side down. Flip the chicken, brush it with the barbecue sauce, and cook for about 10 minutes with the lid closed. Flip the chicken again, brush it with more sauce, and cook it for about 10 more minutes, closing the lid. Flip the chicken several more times, brushing with more sauce each time, until it starts to get dark and crispy and is thoroughly coated with sauce. Check to make sure the breasts are cooked through before removing the chicken from the grill. It should take 30 – 40 minutes total. Serve the chicken hot or refrigerate it for up to 3 days, and serve it with the reserved sauce.
  4. Slow Cooker Directions: Arrange the chicken pieces in the low cooker for best fit. Combine the sauce ingredients, and pour half of the mixture over the chicken, gently lifting and replacing pieces to be sure the sauce is covering all. (Save the other half of the sauce for serving and simmer it as directed above). Cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-5 hours until the chicken is cooked through.

Yield: 6 servings

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