In this healthy chicken thigh recipe, bottled barbecue sauce--often loaded with sodium and high-fructose corn syrup--is replaced with a homemade barbecue sauce recipe. Use the barbecue sauce to baste the chicken thighs while cooking--but if you want to also serve the barbecue sauce at the table, separate some before grilling to avoid cross-contamination.


Recipe Summary

30 mins

Nutrition Profile:



Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • To prepare barbecue sauce: Combine ketchup, beer, molasses, orange juice, vinegar, Worcestershire, mustard and onion powder in a medium heavy saucepan; bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until reduced to about 1 1/2 cups, 20 to 25 minutes. Stir in hot sauce.

  • To prepare chicken: Preheat a gas grill to medium or build a fire in a charcoal grill and let it burn down to medium heat (about 400 degrees F).

  • Combine chicken with oil in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

  • Oil the grill rack (see Tip). Grill the chicken, with the lid closed, until lightly browned on the bottom, 10 to 12 minutes. Turn the chicken over, close the lid and grill for 10 to 12 minutes more. Brush the top of the chicken with about 1/2 cup of the barbecue sauce and grill for about 2 minutes. Turn over, brush the second side with another 1/2 cup of the sauce and continue grilling until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest portion of the chicken registers 165 degrees F, 2 to 4 minutes more. Serve the chicken with more barbecue sauce on the side, if desired.


Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate barbecue sauce for up to 1 week.

Once the grill is heated, oil a folded paper towel, hold it with tongs and rub it over the hot rack right before placing the chicken on the grill.

Nutrition Facts

3 oz. chicken & 2 Tbsp. sauce
288 calories; protein 26.6g; carbohydrates 15.9g; dietary fiber 0.1g; sugars 14g; fat 12.2g; saturated fat 3g; cholesterol 141.5mg; vitamin a iu 126.7IU; vitamin c 2.8mg; folate 8.8mcg; calcium 43.4mg; iron 2mg; magnesium 61.9mg; potassium 555.7mg; sodium 754.2mg; thiamin 0.1mg; added sugar 13g.

3 1/2 lean meat, 1/2 fat