Grilling out is often thought of as a Summer activity, but frankly, I think it's too hot in the South to grill out for most of the summer! That's why I created this recipe for easy baked bbq chicken thighs that are made in the oven: so you don't have to stand in blistering 110 degree heat just to get some delicious barbecue chicken flavor.
You might be wondering ...
How to barbecue chicken thighs in the oven
You'll need a baking sheet with an edge, and some sort of rack ( a cookie cooling rack is fine. )
The key to delicious bbq chicken in the oven is getting the skin nice and crispy, but keeping the meat juicy. To do this, I'm borrowing a trick a cook at a Chinese restaurant once told me: toss the meat in a little bit of salt and baking powder. It makes the skin extra crispy! Using dark meat ( chicken thighs ) is what keeps this dish so moist.
Another trick to making the best bbq chicken thighs in the oven is to add a little bit of brown sugar to your barbecue sauce if it already doesn't have sugar. Most pre-made sauces are already loaded with sugar, but if you have a homemade sauce that you love - you might need just a dash of brown sugar on top of your thighs to get that nice, crisp bbq flavor.
The cooking method for bbq chicken in the oven is simple:
- Bake the baking powder coated chicken thighs
- Cover them in barbecue sauce
- Bake them again
- Finish with a quick broil to get a little char and extra crisp
Of course, you'll need some Southern side dishes to go with your chicken!
What are the best sides for bbq chicken?
- Instant Pot Corn on the cob
- Southern Baked Macaroni and Cheese
- Corn Casserole
- Baked Beans
- Fresh green salad
Truth be told, I usually use a bottled sauce for baked bbq chicken thighs. BUT - when I'm in the mood for Carolina Mustard BBQ, only homemade will do. My Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce Recipe would be absolutely perfect to make mustard based bbq chicken thighs!
Baked BBQ Chicken Thighs
- 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup barbecue sauce I used Sweet Baby Rays
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Toss the chicken thighs in the baking powder and salt.
- Shake off any excess baking powder and salt, and place the thighs on a baking rack on a rimmed sheet pan. Bake for 25 minutes.
- Remove thighs from the oven, cover both sides with bbq sauce, and place back on the rack over the pan. Top each thigh with another teaspoon or so of sauce ( you can eyeball this and it will be fine )
- Bake the chicken thighs for another 10 minutes.
- Turn the oven on to Broil, HIGH setting if you have it available, and move the thighs to the top rack of the oven. Broil the thighs for 5 minutes. Once done broiling, let rest for 10 minutes before serving.