The Best BBQ Chicken Kebabs Recipe
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.
One of those extras is the addition of processed raw bacon; a bacon paste, if you will (stay with me here… I promise you’ll thank me for it). 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 (see my notes about a multi purpose tool that works great for doing this and save on the food processor!). The bacon doesn’t actually add much of a bacon flavor, but more of a smoky flavor that enhances the rub and the sauce. Sounds weird, but it’s the secret ingredient that makes these amazing!
Food processors can be expensive. This can be a great alternative… it’s a multi-purpose tool! There are some models of immersion blenders that come with a food processor attachment! An immersion blender (aka smart stick) is just a great tool to have. I can use it to make bacon paste for this recipe. There are so many other great uses for it like making protein shakes, whipping eggs, whipping cream, emulsifying salad dressing, pureeing sauces, making salsa and even guacamole. It is quick and easy to use! I love my smart stick! Anyway, let me know if you get one and if you love it as much as we do!
Another flavorful addition that really adds flavor is a rub made of paprika, smoked paprika, and sugar. Yes, that’s right… smoked paprika. There IS such a thing! If you can’t find the different kinds of paprika, you can just use good old regular paprika or look online!
Before threading the chicken onto stainless steel skewers, coat the chicken with the bacon paste and the paprika spice mixture. I use my hands to mix it all together and you should see my hands… they look bright red and clumpy, about like the coated chicken does in the picture. But don’t worry, it rinses right off.
These stainless steel skewers are so awesome, by the way. Say goodbye to having to remember to soak your wooden skewers! I use these handy stainless steel skewers all the time now. I even have two sets of them!
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! (I’m also loving Balsamic Beef Kebabs! What can I say, I love kebabs!)
P.S. – I like wearing my Pit Mitt to flip kebabs quickly and easily!
Here are some side dish ideas to go with the kebabs:
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!
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
- 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.
- Turn all grill burners to high, close lid, and heat for about 15 minutes. Leave primary burner on, but turn off other burners.
- 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.
- 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.
- Remove kebabs from grill and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve, passing remaining BBQ sauce separately, if desired.
Recipe Adapted From: Cook's Illustrated May/June 2011