Save on Pinterest

Barbecued Picnic Chicken

I like to serve this savory chicken at family picnics. Cooked on a covered grill, the poultry stays so tender and juicy. Everyone loves the zesty, slightly sweet homemade barbecue sauce—and it's so easy to make. —Priscilla Weaver, Hagerstown, Maryland
  • Total Time
    Prep: 15 min. Grill: 45 min.
  • Makes
    8 servings


  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup chili sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon celery seed
  • 1 tablespoon prepared mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 dashes hot pepper sauce
  • 2 broiler/fryer chickens (3-1/2 to 4 pounds each), cut up


  • In a large saucepan, saute garlic in butter until tender. Add the next 8 ingredients. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat; set aside.
  • On a lightly greased grill rack, grill chicken, covered, over medium heat for 30 minutes, turning occasionally. Baste with sauce. Grill 15 minutes longer or until a thermometer reaches 170°, basting and turning several times.

Test Kitchen Tips
  • This sauce is best when made a day or two in advance, giving the flavors time to come together.
  • If you don't have chili sauce on hand, you can use 1/4 cup extra ketchup or 1/4 cup cocktail sauce.
  • Try this cool-guy move if you don't have a basting brush: Tie a few sprigs of rosemary or another hearty herb together with twine, then baste with it.
  • Nutrition Facts
    1 piece: 296 calories, 14g fat (4g saturated fat), 79mg cholesterol, 761mg sodium, 18g carbohydrate (12g sugars, 1g fiber), 25g protein.


    Click stars to rate
    Average Rating:
    • sheypat
      Dec 10, 2020

      Made sauce today the only change I would make is less celery seed possibly 1/2 T. Other than that delish!

    • jstowellsupermom
      Sep 20, 2020

      Great sauce that comes together super quick and easy!

    • modestcook
      Jun 11, 2020

      This is a great sauce! I cut the recipe in half, only grilled two leg quarters. I made one minor change, I was out of brown sugar so I used two tablespoons of sugar free syrup. I read somewhere a while ago that syrup is a good substitute, I agree. Will make this sauce a lot. Might try it on ribs.

    • msadelebutler
      Apr 7, 2020

      Excellent! I add mango juice, preserves, etc.

    • Lois
      Jun 16, 2018

      I’ve been making this recipe since I first saw it in 1999 Taste of Home annual recipes cookbook. It is a family favorite as it is easy to put together and very flavorable. Works well on bbq and in oven!

    • ms11145
      Jun 10, 2018

      I don't have a grill, so I just baked in the oven. The only chicken I had were tenders. Family loved them. I put foil in a pan and placed the chicken tenders on the foil. I spread sauce over them and baked. Clean up was a breeze. Just tossed the foil.

    • chris
      Jun 6, 2018

      made this tonight on chicken thighs was perfect used sirracha chili sauce ( we like hot) came out perfect tenderwill make again and again made in oven thanks!!

    • migz
      Jun 5, 2018

      Gayla, we happened to make this last eve for a family get-together meal. I made as written (well I used one cut-up hen and 3lbs bone-in skin on thigh meat) and it was cooked great - some charred skin but meat stlill juicy ! I was really pleased as I wasn’t born to BBQ and have had disappointing chicken before! Also I checked temperature and was still climbing when it hit 170.We all enjoyed this! Only comment was to have additional sauce as this amount was perfect for how I basted but teen daughter would have liked a little extra to put on at table .(And normally she moans if chicken is not boneless,skinless breast!) I also appreciated this about this recipe cos sometimes I seem to have scads of sauce over with other recipes!I would encourage you to try this and hope you have same great results!!Thanks for sharing, Priscilla.

    • Gayla Burger
      Jun 5, 2018

      Is the cooking time long enough for bone-in chicken? On a medium heat, I think my chicken would be well done on the outside, and rare in the middle. Thoughts?

    • rllewis7
      May 29, 2018

      My family loved the flavors of this BBQ sauce. Just the right amount of heat!