Enjoy the flavour of barbecue but don’t have a grill handy? Or perhaps you have a barbecue but it’s under a drift of snow, as happens here in the winters. Never fear, you can prepare a remarkably similar version using the stovetop and oven. And as you’ll see, this easy Oven-Barbecued Chicken is quite easy to make, too.
Enjoy the Barbecue Experience Without a Grill
We don’t always have access to a barbecue, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy finger-licking, sticky chicken, just like you get off the grill. Wondering how?
Easy Oven-Barbecued Chicken
I make this easy Oven-Barbecued Chicken frequently. I start with a big “family-sized” package of skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs, that has 18 to 20 or pieces in it. I do this for the sake of both economy and flavour. Thighs are a cheaper cut of chicken, and skin-in and bone-in is always less expensive. I’ve become quite adept at efficiently removing the skin, and dark meat and leaving the bone in simply makes for a tastier dish.
I brown the thighs on both sides in olive or grapeseed oil, and then remove them to a large bowl. Next, I make a diced onion happy in the drippings (most of the time, anyway, but not in the batch pictured above). Then I return the chicken to the pan, along with my favourite barbecue sauce. Of course, my favourite barbecue sauce is actually my recipe: Sweet & Spicy Barbecue Sauce. I bet this chicken would be as delicious with the rhubarb version of the sauce too.
After that, I roast the chicken in the oven, turning it periodically to ensure the pieces are well-coated with the sauce, and encouraging it to begin to reduce and get sticky.
The coup de grâce? Finishing the thighs off under the broiler until that sauce starts to blister a bit and even chars in a few places. Keep a strict eye on it while it’s broiling — I caught the batch in the photo above just before the point of no return.
But What About Smoke?
It’s true that when I barbecue, there are flareups that impart a smoky flavour to the chicken, and that’s something my oven method simply can’t replicate. I know some people like to use liquid smoke, but I have an aversion to it.
I’m happy for my easy Oven-Barbecued Chicken to be just as it is, without any extra additives. One taste and you’ll know what I mean. Get out the napkins!
This oven-barbecued chicken is not only easy to make, but it's just as good as the grilled version. In fact, you may find yourself preferring it! These instructions are for a large batch. You can easily adjust the ingredients for a smaller quantity of chicken thighs. I prefer to make this with my Sweet & Spicy Barbecue Sauce, but you can substitute your favourite sauce.
- 1 large yellow cooking onion
- 2 tbsp olive or grapeseed oil
- 18 to 20 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 recipe Sweet & Spicy Barbecue Sauce, or about 1-3/4 cups of your favourite sauce
Preheat the oven to 375°F. For an 18-piece batch of this chicken, have a large (at least 9×13") oven-proof dish or a parchment-lined baking tray at the ready.
Finely chop the onion and set it aside.
Remove the skin from the chicken thighs and discard.
Heat the olive or grapeseed oil over medium-high heat in a large pan (I use a 10-inch pan with sides that are about 3" high) or skillet. Working in batches so as not to crowd the pan, sprinkle the chicken with the salt and pepper and sauté it until it's nicely browned on both sides (this will take about 10 minutes per batch — see Note). Remove the browned chicken to a large bowl.
Turn the heat down to medium and add the chopped onion to the pan. Stir it around until it starts to become translucent. Turn off the heat and add about half of the barbecue sauce to the pan. Stir well, scraping the pan to loosen the bits stuck to the bottom.
Spread the onion/sauce mixture on your lined baking tray or in the bottom of the baking dish. Add the chicken, turning each piece in the mixture to coat it well. Then spread the other half of the barbeque sauce evenly over the chicken.
Roast the chicken in the pre-heated oven for about 40 minutes, turning at the 15- and 25-minutes marks. The top of the chiken should be facing up for the last 15 minutes of roasting. By this point, the chicken should be completely cooked (see note).
At the end of the 40 minutes, turn the broiler to high. Once it's come on, broil the chicken for about 5 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling and blistering, and beginning to char. Watch it like a hawk, because there's a short window between appealingly charred and burned.
When you serve it, spoon any of the onion/sauce mixture from the bottom of the tray/pan over the chicken. It's too good to let it go to waste.
Get out the napkins and get ready for compliments!
- The timing in this recipe reflects the fact that I need to brown the chicken in two batches.
- When I’m making a half batch, which fits into my oven-proof pan, there’s no need to use a baking tray or dish. However, for a whole batch, I like to have the chicken in a single layer for effective broiling, which is why I transfer it to a sheet tray or large baking dish.
- According to this Canadian government source, chicken pieces are cooked at 165°F (74°C).
Looking for More Chicken Ideas?
Looking for more tasty chicken recipes? How about Red Curry Chicken Drumsticks? Or a Chicken & Harvest Vegetable Shepherd’s Pie? And I would be remiss if I didn’t share these celebratory looking Pomegranate Chicken Thighs.