All-American BBQ Chicken Thighs

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.

Cook Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
30 mins
8 servings
Nutrition Profile:


  • ¾ cup ketchup

  • ¾ cup beer, preferably porter

  • ½ cup molasses

  • 2 tablespoons orange juice

  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

  • ½ teaspoon onion powder

  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce, or to taste

  • 8 large or 16 small bone-in chicken thighs (4 to 4 1/2 pounds), skin removed and trimmed

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt

  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper


  1. 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.

  2. 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).

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

  4. 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 (per serving)

288 Calories
12g Fat
16g Carbs
27g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 8
Calories 288
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 16g 6%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 14g
Added Sugars 13g 26%
Protein 27g 53%
Total Fat 12g 16%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Cholesterol 142mg 47%
Vitamin A 127IU 3%
Vitamin C 3mg 3%
Folate 9mcg 2%
Sodium 754mg 33%
Calcium 43mg 3%
Iron 2mg 11%
Magnesium 62mg 15%
Potassium 556mg 12%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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