Picture for The Best Barbecue Chicken

Summer's here, and that means hot days at the grill with a cold beer making everyone you love some delicious chicken. And nothing welcomes in the hot season like some sweet, sticky, messy chicken that you'll be eating off the bone.





For the Dry Rub

For the Dry Rub

chili powder

⅓ cup chili powder

sweet paprika

2 tablespoons sweet paprika

smoked paprika

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

cayenne pepper

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper


½ teaspoon cumin


½ teaspoon oregano

garlic powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

onion powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

dark brown sugar

⅓ cup dark brown sugar

freshly ground pepper

2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper

kosher salt

1 tablespoon kosher salt

For the Barbecue Sauce

For the Barbecue Sauce


1 cup ketchup


¼ cup mustard

hot sauce

1 teaspoon hot sauce

Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

garlic powder

½ teaspoon garlic powder

onion powder

½ teaspoon onion powder

kosher salt

1 teaspoon kosher salt

freshly ground pepper

2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper

molasses, honey, or maple syrup

⅓ cup molasses, honey, or maple syrup

For the Coleslaw

For the Coleslaw

head green cabbage, cored and shredded.

1 head green cabbage, cored and shredded.


2 tablespoons salt

ice water

1 gallon ice water

Homemade mayo (recipe follows)

1 ½ cups Homemade mayo (recipe follows)

cajun seasoning

2 teaspoons cajun seasoning


1 tablespoon sugar

kosher salt

2 teaspoons kosher salt

freshly ground pepper

2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper

extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

stalks celery, thinly sliced

3 stalks celery, thinly sliced

Serrano chiles, thinly sliced

3 Serrano chiles, thinly sliced

red onion, thinly sliced

0.25 red onion, thinly sliced

For the Homemade Mayo

For the Homemade Mayo


½ clove garlic


1 whole egg

dijon mustard

1 teaspoon dijon mustard

Juice of  lemon

0.5 Juice of lemon

kosher salt

½ teaspoon kosher salt

vegetable oil

1 cup vegetable oil



For the Dry Rub


Combine all ingredients - sprinkle evenly over and rub thoroughly into 1 whole chicken, broken down into ten pieces.


For the Barbecue Sauce


combine all ingredients in a small saucepan - bring to a bare simmer and cook, stirring frequently, for 5-10 minutes.


For the Chicken:


Heat gas grill on high for 10-15 minutes - turn off heat, thoroughly brush grates, and coat with neutral-flavored oil. Return all burners to high and allow oil to cure for another 5-10 minutes.


Wrap wood chips or pellets in a foil packet, poking holes in the top - repeat 3x.


Turn off all burners except one on the far right of the grill, bringing ambient temperature to around 225-275F. Lift grill grates over burner, and place wood chip packet directly over heat shield. NOTE: if your burners are more powerful, you might be able to simply place the wood chip packet on the grill grates.


Maintaining the ambient temperature, place chicken pieces on the opposite side of the grill as the active burner, white meat further from the heat than the dark. Close the grill and try to keep it closed as long as possible, opening only to spray the chicken with apple juice (optional), and to replace the wood chip packet every 30 minutes. Rearrange the chicken if some pieces’ temperatures are rising faster than others.


Once the white meat registers 130F at its thickest point and dark meat 140F, turn on the burners directly underneath the chicken. Paint the top side with barbecue sauce, close the grill, and allow to blacken for 3-5 minutes. Once charred, flip the chicken, and paint its underside with barbecue sauce. Close the grill again, and char for another 3-5 minutes. Once the skin has picked up some nice color, flip once more, and paint with a final layer of barbecue sauce. Adjust the burners as necessary if the chicken is at or near target temp (155F white meat, 175F dark). Remove from heat, slather with remaining barbecue sauce, and serve.


For the Coleslaw


Soak green cabbage in ice water - refrigerate for 1-4 hours. Rinse, drain, and pat dry.


In a large bowl, combine mayo, cajun seasoning, sugar, salt, pepper, and olive oil - whisk until combined. Add cabbage and remaining vegetables, tossing to evenly dress. Refrigerate until ready to eat.


For the Homemade Mayo:


In a blender cup the same width as the head of your immersion blender, combine garlic, egg, mustard, lemon juice, and salt. Blitz with the immersion blender until smooth. With the blender head still in the cup, carefully stream the oil down the side of the cup, so that it settles on top of the egg. With the immersion blender on max speed, blend while pulsing upward, emulsifying the oil and egg mixture together into mayo. Refrigerate until ready to use.

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