The Best BBQ Chicken Kebabs Recipe

March 8, 2015 29 Comments | Disclosure

The only BBQ Chicken Kebabs recipe you need!

This isn’t your ordinary barbecue chicken. In fact, these BBQ Chicken Kebabs are the best barbecue chicken I’ve tasted. There are a few easy extra steps that really add a depth of flavor that you can’t get from just BBQ sauce.

The Best BBQ Chicken Kebabs

One of those extras is the addition of processed raw bacon; a bacon paste, if you will. Just cut up a few slices of raw bacon, then put the pieces in a food processor, and process until you have bacon paste or puree. The bacon doesn’t actually add much of an overly bacon flavor, but more of a smoky flavor that enhances the rub and the sauce.

bbq chicken kebabs with bacon paste

Another flavorful addition is a rub made of paprika, smoked paprika, and sugar. Before threading the chicken onto skewers, coat the chicken with the bacon paste and the paprika spice mixture. I used my hands to mix it all together and you should’ve seen my hands… they looked bright red and clumpy, about like the coated chicken does in the picture. But don’t worry, it rinsed right off.

making bbq chicken kebabs

The chicken only needs 30-60 minutes of “marinating” time too; so it doesn’t take several hours of planning ahead to make these yummy kebabs. A plus in my book, for sure.

I have made these BBQ chicken kebabs with the homemade sauce originally included with the recipe and it is good. But I prefer a slightly sweeter sauce. My recommendation is  to use 1 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce, whether it is homemade or store-bought. If you’re like me, you might want to try this Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce copycat recipe.

These BBQ Chicken Kebabs and my favorite Chipotle Chicken Kebabs are definitely going to be happening regularly around here this summer!

The Best BBQ Chicken Kebabs Recipe

Rating: 51

Yield: Serves 6

The Best BBQ Chicken Kebabs Recipe


  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 2-3 slices raw bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce


  1. Trim chicken of excess fat, then cut the chicken into 1-inch cubes. In a large bowl, toss the chicken with the salt. Then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.
  2. Turn all grill burners to high, close lid, and heat for about 15 minutes. Leave primary burner on, but turn off other burners.
  3. Meanwhile, pat the chicken dry with paper towels. In a small bowl, combine the paprikas and sugar. Place the raw bacon in a food processor and pulse for about 30-45 seconds, until a smooth paste forms, scraping down the sides of the bowl twice throughout. Add the bacon paste and spice mixture to the chicken. Mix with hands or spatula until the ingredients are blended and chicken is coated. Thread the chicken onto the skewers, rolling or folding as needed to maintain 1-inch cubes.
  4. Grill the chicken over the primary burner with lid closed, turning one-quarter of a turn every 2 minutes or so, until browned and slightly charred (about 8 minutes total for chicken breast and 10 minutes for thighs). Brush the top of kebabs with BBQ sauce; flip and cook until sauce is browned in spots, about 1 minute. Brush second side with sauce; flip and cook for another minute or so, until cooked through.
  5. Remove kebabs from grill and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve, passing remaining BBQ sauce separately, if desired.

I first saw this recipe on Pink Parsley, but ended up adapting it to be more similar the one posted on Mel’s Kitchen Cafe. However, the recipe is originally from Cook’s Illustrated May/June 2011. Hope you try it and love it.

Charcoal Companion Ultimate Barbecue Pit Mitt - CC5102

I like wearing my Pit Mitt to flip kebabs quickly and easily!


  1. Wendy McInteer says:

    These were wonderful, the whole family enjoy it! Served with some grilled vegetables and it was perfect.

  2. I made these for a party this past weekend (I skewered whole chicken tenders to save time) and they were so popular that they were all gone before I even had a chance to taste one. Guess I’ll be making them again this week so I can see what all the rave reviews were about!

  3. Found these on Pinterest, made them for dinner tonight. Very tasty!

  4. Oh YuMmY!!! I can’t wait to give these a try!!

    Blessings ♥

  5. Shay wells says:

    I’m hoping to make these tomorrow for the 4th….but I have a TON of other dishes to make. Can I marinate and skewer them tonight? Then just BBQ tomorrow? Has anyone prepared them the night before?

  6. Teresa Miller says:

    These kabobs are delicious, as a mater of fact I’m making them tonight for the 3rd time…..Kudos!! Thanks for sharing!

  7. These are AMAZING! Just finishing my last bite and I had to come tell you. I forgot to buy bacon, so I added a squirt or two of liquid smoke. While it was marinating it smelled divine. Then cooking I just drizzled a little bit of bbq sauce on, and ooooh yum. I served it with baked potatoes and grilled pineapple.

    • Great idea to use liquid smoke as a sub for the bacon in a pinch, Jackie. Sounds like you made a very delicious meal!

  8. BillJude56 says:

    This recipe is just what I’ve been looking for. BBQing chicken with plain old BBQ sauce gets kinda same old after a while. Adding this to my Evernote Recipes notebook. Thanks!

  9. We live in a Sr. Citizens community where grills are not allowed; can these be baked in the oven? Do you use metal skewers or wooden ones? Wooden ones would need to be soaked at least 30 min. prior to cooking to keep them from burning. If I cooked them in a oven, do you bake them uncovered or cover with foil ? I have a small Oskar food processor that I use to chop nuts, cabbage, carrotts, tuna fish or chicken salad that I buy from the deli that is in too big of chunks. I also use it for slicing and dicing onions, celery and bell pepper..I can’t image putting raw bacon in it, I don’t think it would do nothing but toss it around, not cut it up..Maybe I should try it and see what happens.. Why not save your bacon grease in a jar or can and dip the chicken in that first? Would it accomplish the same results?

    • Hi, Betty!
      I think you could definitely broil these kebabs. Adjust oven rack 6 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Line broiler pan bottom with foil and top with slotted broiler pan top. Arrange skewers on prepared pan. Broil, turning occasionally and brushing on sauce (as in the recipe), until chicken is charred around edges and registers 160 degrees, about 10 minutes.
      Wooden or metal skewers will work great, whether it is in the oven or on the grill.
      It might take a few minutes, but the raw bacon will turn into a paste. I think the bacon paste will have much more of an impact than bacon grease.
      Give it a try! I hope you like it!


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