A summer classic with a real food spin, Grilled BBQ Chicken with Naturally Sweetened Sauce is simple to make and a total crowd pleaser.
My mom loves barbecue sauce. Like, really loves it.
I mean, what’s not to love? Sticky, sweet, smokey, tangy; it’s the perfect combo of flavors. It makes just about everything you put it on taste better.
There are, of course, plenty of commercial brands of BBQ sauces on the market, and chances are you’ll find at least a bottle or two in my mom’s refrigerator.
The only problem with most commercial brands out there, however, is that many contain high fructose corn syrup, often as the first ingredient, or some other form of processed sweetener. And preservatives. Not so great.
Not to worry, though. Homemade, naturally sweetened BBQ sauce is super simple to make at home. And it tastes amazing. And it’s full of all the good stuff and none of the processed stuff. Love that!
I’ve developed this recipe to be extra easy (because that’s how we like to roll around here), so that you can whip up a batch to keep in your fridge and to use to make this awesome chicken.
This recipe makes enough to feed a crowd, so feel free to make half if you’re feeding fewer people. You can always make the entire recipe of the sauce and freeze the leftovers so you have it on hand for whenever the BBQ mood strikes. It lasts for about 5 days in the fridge or 3 months in the freezer.
You can also use this sauce anywhere you would use a store-bought version, so don’t save it just for this recipe. I know I’ll be making a batch soon for my mama to replace a few of those bottles in her fridge.
Serve with any of your favorite bbq sides (this crunchy creamy cabbage slaw recipe happens to be one of my go-to’s!)
Now, let’s make some Grilled BBQ Chicken with Naturally Sweetened Sauce!
RECIPE & KID-FRIENDLY ADAPTATIONS
1 | The recipe feeds a crowd. Feel free to cut the sauce and amount of chicken in half to feed four. Alternatively, make all the sauce and freeze half for the next time.
2 | If you’re feeding a resistant eater, simply leave some of the chicken plain, sprinkled with a little kosher salt. Grill alongside the other chicken, then serve the sauce on the side for dipping.
THIS RECIPE IS . . .
Naturally Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Nut-Free, Naturally Sweetened and Paleo Friendly
Grilled BBQ Chicken with Naturally Sweetened Sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 medium garlic cloves minced or finely grated
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ plus ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 15- oz can tomato sauce
- 4 tablespoons molasses
- 4 tablespoon honey
- 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 5 lbs bone-in chicken pieces such as legs and thighs
In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion powder, paprika, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Add the tomato sauce, molasses, honey, apple cider vinegar, and ½ teaspoon salt, stirring to combine. Turn the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Turn the heat off and allow to cool completely.
Pour half of the sauce into a zip-top bag or shallow baking dish. Add the chicken, stirring or shaking to coat. Marinate, covered, in the refrigerator 1-2 hours. Reserve the other half of the sauce for serving.
When ready to cook, heat a grill to medium. Shake the extra sauce off the chicken and discard the remaining marinade.
Place the chicken on the grill, skin side down, and cook for about 30 minutes, turning once or twice, until the chicken is cooked through and reaches an internal temperature of 165F. Keep a careful eye on the chicken, as it can burn evenly. Brush with the barbecue sauce as needed.
Serve warm, with extra barbecue sauce on the side.
If you're feeding a resistant eater, simply leave some of the chicken plain, sprinkled with a little kosher salt. Grill alongside the other chicken, then serve the sauce on the side for dipping.