Grilled BBQ Chicken

Grilled BBQ chicken is perfect for any summer dinner or get together! The homemade BBQ sauce starts with Red Gold ketchup and gets some interesting additions – this isn’t your average BBQ recipe! Big thanks to Red Gold for sponsoring this post!

grilled bbq chicken

The minute it starts warming up outside, I bust out the grill!

Nothing screams summer to me more than grilled chicken. It’s always a hit with the whole family and it’s generally pretty simple to do! 

I’m sharing a recipe today for smoky grilled BBQ chicken and it’s seriously such a fun twist on the usual barbecue chicken.

We’re not starting with a bottle of barbecue sauce here – we’re doctoring up some ketchup to make the most amazing smoky sauce for those chicken breasts! 

For the ketchup, I always use my go-to Red Gold Ketchup, because I absolutely love the freshness and quality of Red Gold Tomatoes. 

Did you know that Red Gold is family owned and family grown? For over 75 years they’ve been partnering with family farms to provide the freshest, best tasting tomato products. 

They’re a fourth-generation family owned company with a passion for quality! We love keeping their products in our house to use in our family recipes.

bbq grilled chicken breasts

How to make Grilled BBQ Chicken Breasts: 

We’re going to start by whipping up this easy sauce.

Add some hot water to a bowl and then add in some brown sugar and espresso powder. Stir that up to let it dissolve a bit.

homemade sauce for grilled chicken

Add in your Red Gold Ketchup. Did you know their ketchup is made in the Midwest on local family farms and does not have any artificial flavors, preservatives, or colors? 

You’ll also stir in some mustard, liquid smoke, and soy sauce. That’s it for the sauce!

Add about 3/4 cup of the sauce to a small bowl for basting the chicken and reserve the rest for dipping. 

How to grill BBQ chicken: 

The secret to grilling BBQ chicken is that you don’t coat your chicken in sauce before putting it on the grill. 

BBQ sauce tends to have a good bit of sugar in it and it burns pretty quickly.

The key is in the basting!

basting chicken breasts with bbq sauce

Fire up your grill and toss on some chicken breasts. Baste the top of your chicken with the sauce and cook about halfway through – 5-6 minutes, depending on the thickness of your chicken.

Flip the chicken and baste the other side. Continue cooking for 2 minutes and then start flipping and basting every 2 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. 

grilled chicken with bbq sauce

This method gives your chicken a chance to cook through without burning your sauce.

Serve the chicken with the reserved sauce as a dip.

Your whole family is going to love this recipe and it’s easy to double it if you’re feeding a crowd! 

bbq grilled chicken on white plate

What to serve with grilled chicken: 

Cucumber Salad: So crisp and refreshing!

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese: A low carb option that the kids will love too!

Instant Pot Sweet Potato: Easier than baking and you don’t have to heat up the oven!

Italian Pasta Salad: Loaded with good stuff!

Blackberry Cobbler: My favorite summer dessert! bbq chicken recipe

bbq chicken recipe

Grilled BBQ Chicken

Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
12 mins
Total Time
17 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: grilling recipes, summer recipes
Calories: 256 kcal

This simple homemade sauce makes this chicken recipe so flavorful! 


  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1 1/4 cups Red Gold Ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons mustard
  • 1 tablespoon white distilled vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 2 pounds chicken breasts


  1. Preheat grill to 350 degrees.

  2. Add the hot water, brown sugar, and espresso to a medium mixing bowl and stir to dissolve the sugar and espresso powder.

  3. Add the ketchup, mustard, vinegar, liquid smoke, and soy sauce to the bowl and whisk well to combine. Remove half of the sauce to a small bowl to serve as a dip for the chicken. 

  4. Pound or slice the chicken breasts into an even thickness so they cook evenly. Place the chicken on the grill and brush the tops with the sauce.

  5. Cover the grill and cook for 5 minutes. 

  6. Flip the chicken and brush with the sauce. Continue cooking for 2 minutes and then flip and baste again. Repeat, basting and flipping every 2 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. 

  7. Sprinkle with parsely before serving. Serve with the reserved dipping sauce.

Recipe Notes

The espresso powder does not make this taste like coffee, but does add amazing flavor to this. It's optional, but highly recommended. Hot brewed coffee in place of the water and espresso powder may be substituted. 

Nutrition Facts
Grilled BBQ Chicken
Amount Per Serving (1 piece)
Calories 256 Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value*
Fat 4g6%
Cholesterol 96mg32%
Sodium 745mg32%
Potassium 737mg21%
Carbohydrates 19g6%
Sugar 16g18%
Protein 33g66%
Vitamin A 300IU6%
Vitamin C 3.9mg5%
Calcium 23mg2%
Iron 0.9mg5%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Nutrition Disclaimer: All information presented on this site is intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information shared on should only be used as a general guideline.