Best Way to Marinate Chicken in BBQ Sauce


Every feast or occasion deserves a little bit of barbequing. If you are in the mood for barbequed meat, just pull out of the fridge some ribs, loins, or any other part that will keep the flock full and satisfied. But how about chicken?

What is the best way to marinate your chicken for barbequing? I mean, can you marinate the chicken in BBQ sauce? 

Raw Chicken Marinated in BBQ sauce

Today, we will find out the best way to create a chicken marinade, know how long can you marinate the chicken in BBQ sauce, and what kind of BBQ sauce to use to take note for next time you need a fantastic dish to impress your friends! Let us dive into it. 

Why Marinate Chicken in BBQ Sauce?

Can you imagine yourself eating grilled chicken without any marinade? It can be quite a bland experience. That is why so many people prefer to marinate their chicken first before grilling.

Marinating chicken helps enhance the natural goodness of the chicken. With the right mix of herbs, seasoning, and sauces, you can transform a bare chicken breast into a drool-worthy meal.

One of the most popular chicken marinades out there is BBQ sauce, and there is a good reason for this. The sweet, sometimes even spicy flavor of the sauce paired with other seasonings adds additional oomph quality to the meal.

It saves you a few brush strokes as you grill since the chicken has already absorbed the flavor before you grill it. 

But take note of how effective the marinade depends on the ingredients’ qualities and how you mix them. That is why you should know the best way to make the perfect BBQ sauce as well.

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The Key to a Perfect BBQ Sauce

Premade BBQ sauces are quite lame, so making your own from scratch or improvising from your readily available ingredients in the pantry will do the job very well. If you do not have leftover BBQ sauce for your chicken breasts, drumsticks, or any part of the chicken, consider rendering a marinade from your pantry!

To pull this off, you must have BBQ sauce leftovers from the pantry to use for a simple chicken marinade, as this will prevent leftover ingredients from going to waste.

You can add some water, ketchup, molasses, sugar, vinegar, and more according to your taste or preference!

This improvisation conserves time and resources to make the perfect BBQ sauce, enhances your creativity, and satisfies your taste with the sauce you just made.

Before you even realize, you have created a two-in-one recipe as a sauce and a marinade! You can use your BBQ sauce to marinate the meats, so get ready to put your chicken parts in a Ziploc bag together with your newly-made sauce to permeate the chicken with the flavors from the sauce. 

It helps transform a readily produced BBQ sauce instantly into a delicious marinade with several other ingredients. You may dilute the spice and thickness if you think that your concoction is too potent to your liking; with the BBQ sauces, you can adjust it you enjoy the rewards and transform the taste of your meat into something special for the occasion!

So, next time you ask yourself, “Should I marinate chicken in BBQ sauce?” The answer is yes! Just follow our guide and some tips below.

Tips For Creating and Using the Perfect BBQ Sauce

Now, we understand that making the perfect BBQ sauce can be quite the challenge, even more so how to use it well, especially for beginners.

That is why we are offering some great tips to help you get started.

1. Choosing skinless and skin-on chicken

In choosing chicken parts, you may choose between the skinless and skin-on chicken. Selecting either of these two will depend on your needs.

If you wish to have a chicken barbeque with more fat and tenderness, go for the chicken part with the skin still on. If you want a leaner option, go for the skinless.

Skin-on chicken parts are great for entrees and accompaniment in alcoholic drinks, while skinless is perfect for diet sandwiches and dishes or go-to workout meals.

The skin can give you much fat while you are grilling your chicken. 

2. Marinating skin facing down

If you decide to go for the skin-on chicken, you need to make sure to marinate the chicken face down. The skin absorbs flavor fast, so doing it face down will intensify the taste of the skin and the meat.

3. Time of marination

How much time should we marinate the chicken? Some people marinate their chicken for at least 4 hours. Some do it for 8 hours. However, USDA says that you can marinate chicken safely for up to 48 hours max.

It means if you ask can you marinate chicken in BBQ sauce overnight? The answer is a definite yes. It is even the gold standard. It is long enough for the marinade’s flavor to seep into the chicken but not long enough to oversaturate it.

4. Be safe!

It is a good idea to marinate chicken in BBQ sauce before grilling at the top of the grill to avoid hazards. If you own a double-grate griller, always turn to the other side to prevent dangerous combustion!


It is indeed a good idea to marinate your chicken in BBQ sauce. The flavors you can get out of it will be just delicious.

Just remember our tips, especially when you marinate chicken in BBQ sauce overnight. The process will intensify the flavor and make the chicken more tender when you grill them.

Also, it is worth considering what kind of barbeque sauce marinade that you will use, as different ingredients will likely result in different tastes.


Tyler Lachance is a cookout professional. His expertise on cooking grilled food, creating marinades, formulating sauces and matching his food with the perfect drink is unrivaled.

Born and raised in a family that has a long history of cookout, he has treated this activity as a part of his culture and who he is.