This super easy BBQ Chicken Marinade is quick to make, is perfect for grilling, and adds so much savory flavor to your chicken! This is one of my favorite overnight marinades as it packs quite the punch of flavor! Since it’s made from bottled barbecue sauce as the marinade base, this marinade is a snap to mix up!
BBQ Chicken Marinade Recipe
All of the great things about a hearty, savory, and oh-so deliciously tangy barbecue sauce are combined in this easy chicken marinade! I know, it’s easy to think you don’t need a marinade! I’ll just throw some chicken on the grill, slather on some bbq sauce, and call it done. Right?!
Of course, you can grill chicken this way! But if you want an amped-up barbecue chicken flavor, then this marinade is for you!!
It is easily the very best grilled chicken or baked barbecue chicken I have ever had! The addictive BBQ flavor is enjoyed in every bite, rather than just a ridiculously delicious coating on your chicken!
Ingredients You’ll Need
Grab a ziploc plastic storage bag ( or freezer bag ) for marinating your chicken. This helps the marinade cling to the chicken best, versus marinating in a bowl or storage container.
- BBQ Sauce – use your favorite barbecue sauce, whether homemade or store-bought. A few minor additions will turn it into the perfect marinade!
- Olive Oil – or your preferred cooking oil. Choose a cooking oil that is mild in flavor or that has no discernible taste. Also, keep in mind the needed smoke point of your chosen oil to cook the chicken later.
- Liquid Smoke – this is some good stuff! I love using liquid smoke for an extra special addition to his marinade! If you’re looking for liquid smoke at your local grocery store you can typically find it in the aisle with ketchup, bbq sauces, Worcestershire sauce, and browning sauce.
- Garlic – fresh, minced garlic adds its distinctive pungent flavor making this marinade deeply satisfying. If you want to use garlic powder instead, use 1 teaspoon of powder to replace the fresh, minced garlic in the recipe.
- Chili Powder – just a touch of chili powder adds the right amount of ‘heat’ without being hot or spicy!
- Paprika – simple plain paprika works wonders in adding depth of flavor! I do love smoked paprika, but it really isn’t necessary for this marinade recipe.
- Salt & Pepper – a small amount of salt and pepper to highlight all of the wonderful marinade flavors! Start with this small amount and season your chicken to taste when cooking.
How To Make The Marinade
Before you get mixing, consider the cooking method of your chicken. If you want a quick cook time on chicken breast meat, then I would pound the chicken until it was even in thickness.
Use a meat mallet or tenderizer, or something nice and heavy that you have in your kitchen. Place each chicken breast between two sheets of plastic cling film, then pound out the chicken. Begin in the center of the chicken breast and work toward the edges.
Not only does your chicken quick more quickly, but it will also help to ensure that your chicken is fully done. That big center breast of the chicken is where you temp your chicken at because it is the last spot to cook through!
- In a small bowl or directly in your plastic storage bag, add the bbq sauce, olive oil, liquid smoke, garlic, chili powder, paprika, salt, and pepper. Mix until the marinade is thoroughly combined.
- Once the marinade is transferred into your ziploc bag, add the chicken and squeeze out any excess air while you securely seal the storage bag.
- Massage the marinade into the chicken by squeezing the bag until all of the chicken pieces are well-coated.
- Refrigerate and marinate for at least 4 hours. Freeze for up to 3 months.
Your chicken needs to marinate for at least 20 minutes before cooking. The longer you can let the chicken marinate, the more flavorful it will be!
I would usually recommend at least 4 hours for marinating. 24 hours is best, and you can marinate the chicken for up to 3 days refrigerated.
While frozen chicken pieces can usually be stored in the freezer for 6 months or more, I recommend a maximum of three months for these packaged chicken pieces ( with marinade ). Allow the frozen marinated chicken to thaw in your refrigerator overnight.
Your chicken marinade will slowly seep into the chicken during the thawing process. The result is terrifically tasty, tender, and moist BBQ Chicken!
Check out all of my rich and flavorful chicken marinades in one place! The marinades are absolutely perfect for your grilled, pan-fried, or oven-baked chicken breasts, thighs, wings, skewers, and more!
BBQ Chicken Marinade
- 1/4 cup barbecue sauce
- 2 Tbsp olive oil (extra virgin)
- 2 tsp liquid smoke
- 1 Tbsp garlic (minced)
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp each, salt & pepper
- In a small bowl, add the barbecue sauce, olive oil, liquid smoke, minced garlic, chili powder, paprika, salt, and pepper. Mix until well combined.
- Pour the combined marinade into a ziploc plastic storage bag then add the chicken. Push out the excess air while sealing the bag.
- Massage the BBQ marinade into your chicken pieces through the bag until well coated.
- Refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours. Freeze for up to 3 months.
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma’s kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!