These BBQ Chicken Skewers bring chicken to a whole new level when smeared with bacon paste and grilled. They're then brushed with a simple bourbon BBQ sauce that is sure to have you drooling. Serve them as a main meal or make them half the size for an awesome appetizer.
Grilled BBQ Chicken Skewers
There is nothing better than the flavor of chicken on the grill. And there is just something about meat on a stick that makes it taste even better. Of course, I've got a secret that makes these Grilled BBQ Chicken Skewers the most amazing, moist, and smokey kabobs ever. Read on for the answer.
Needless to say, grilling is a summer pastime in my house. And skewers, aka kabobs, like my easy Salmon Skewers, Spicy Grilled Shrimp, and these Barbeque Chicken Skewers are some of the easiest dinners to get on the table.
They're super simple to prepare and, since they are cooked outside, your house can stay a little cooler and your kitchen a little cleaner.
Why This is the Best BBQ Chicken Skewers Recipe
This is a quick and easy chicken skewers BBQ recipe.
- You can make these skewers in about 30 minutes.
- These skewers are simple meat skewers without vegetables, similar to satay.
- There's no need for a marinade with the bacon spice rub.
- The bourbon barbecue sauce is made with store-bought BBQ sauce and bourbon.
Yep, this is my secret! And you've got to admit it does sound interesting! I mean just look at that crunchy coating on that chicken!
All you need to do is add raw bacon with some spices and brown sugar to a food processor and mix until it forms a smooth paste. I add a bit of BBQ sauce to the mix as well to make it a little easier to spread.
It's super simple to make, gives a smoky, salty flavor to many barbecue dishes, and as they say, everything is better with bacon, right?!
BBQ Bourbon Sauce
You won't believe how easy it is to doctor up a bottle of Hickley Smoked BBQ Sauce to get the same flavor as the best homemade Bourbon BBQ Sauce. This shortcut is perfect for getting this recipe on the table quickly.
Just grab a bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce, add two tablespoons of bourbon and stir. That's it! And high-five, there is alcohol in this version!
Best Bourbon for BBQ Sauce
You can use almost any bourbon for this recipe as long as it tastes good. I use Jim Beam, which is good as well as inexpensive, or opt for a Kentucky Bourbon such as Maker's Mark or Jack Daniels Whiskey.
Bourbon Barbecue Sauce Variations
Bourbon BBQ sauce is very versatile and can be adjusted to suit your taste. You can do this by using different flavors of store-bought sauces or with additions to regular BBQ sauce:
- Bourbon Brown Sugar BBQ Sauce - add a tablespoon of brown sugar
- Maple Bourbon BBQ Sauce - add a tablespoon of maple syrup
- Honey Bourbon BBQ Sauce - add a tablespoon of honey
- Apple Bourbon BBQ Sauce - add ¼ cup of apple butter or jelly
- Blueberry Bourbon BBQ Sauce - add ¼ cup blueberry jelly or syrup
- Cherry Bourbon BBQ Sauce - add ¼ cup of cherry preserves
- Peach Bourbon BBQ Sauce - add ¼ cup peach puree
- Bacon Bourbon BBQ Sauce - add a tablespoon of the bacon rub
- Hickory Bourbon Sauce - add 1 teaspoon of hickory spice rub
- Liquid Smoke BBQ Sauce - add ½ teaspoon of liquid smoke
Chicken Breasts - purchase boneless skinless breasts for the easiest preparation
BBQ Sauce - any BBQ sauce can be used but I prefer a hickory-smoked one that compliments the bacon paste
Bourbon - use an inexpensive but tasty bourbon. There is no need to break the bank!
Bacon - use regular bacon that is not too thick to make it easier to process. Use hickory-smoked flavored bacon for a more smoky flavor or stick with your usual
Brown Sugar - adds sweetness to the mix
Spices - adds tang and spice to the bacon paste while salt enhances the flavor
You will also need:
Skewers - either metal or wood skewers can be used but the wood ones will have to be soaked for 30 minutes prior to grilling. For dinner portions use 8 long skewers and for appetizers, 16 shorter ones.
Best Chicken for Skewers
Since I am threading the chicken onto the skewers I like to use boneless, skinless chicken breasts. You can also opt for chicken thighs and cut them into cubes. Both will turn out moist and delicious, especially with the help of the bacon paste.
How to Make Grilled BBQ Chicken Skewers
- Place chopped raw bacon in food processor or small chopper.
- Add spices.
- Process until smooth.
- Add a little BBQ sauce to make it easier to spread.
Preparing chicken with rub
- Cut chicken into strips.
- Spread bacon paste on strips.
- Cover dish with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
- When ready to grill, thread chicken onto long skewers, replacing any bacon paste that falls off.
Bourbon BBQ Sauce
- Pour bourbon or whiskey into your favorite BBQ sauce and stir well. Set aside.
Grilling chicken skewers
- Preheat grill to medium-high. Place skewers on a grill rack or directly onto grill grates.
- Cook 5-6 minutes then turn and cook for an additional 5-6 minutes.
- Brush Bourbon BBQ Sauce on chicken skewers and cook for one minute. Turn and brush again with BBQ sauce and cook for one final minute.
What are you waiting for? Whip this up for dinner tonight or make them smaller and serve them as your happy hour appetizer. Leftover BBQ sauce? Save it for burgers, ribs, pulled pork, or plain chicken. It's all good!
- Soak your wooden skewers to prevent them from burning.
- Chill the bacon paste-covered chicken for at least 1 hour.
- Use a grill pan to make cleanup easier.
Spicy BBQ Chicken Skewers - Use a spicy BBQ sauce or stir in some cayenne pepper, adobo peppers in sauce, or Tabasco sauce to the bourbon barbecue sauce.
What to Serve with BBQ Chicken Skewers
These side dishes go great with BBQ chicken:
Making in Advance
Prepare these chicken breast skewers a day or two in advance to keep prep to a minimum at meal time. Place the chicken on the skewers, smooth on bacon paste, then cover and store in the refrigerator until dinner.
You can also freeze them on the skewers and then thaw them in the refrigerator overnight prior to grilling.
How to Store Leftover BBQ Chicken Skewers
Remove chicken from skewers and store in a covered container for up to 3 days.
This chicken also freezes well. Just place in a reseable freezer bag for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
How to Reheat Chicken Skewers
This BBQ chicken reheats well and quickly. Just place on a microwave-safe dish and heat on high for about 3 minutes.
Frequently Asked Questions
It takes approximately 10 minutes to grill these chicken skewers. The time can vary depending on the thickness of the chicken strips.
Chicken skewers should be grilled over medium-high heat, about 375°F.
Yes, this homemade bourbon BBQ has alcohol in it. Many store-bought varieties have only bourbon flavoring and are non-alcoholic.
Homemade BBQ sauce will last up to 2 weeks when stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
The minimum amount of time to soak wooden skewers is 30 minutes. It is best to soak them overnight.
More Grilled Skewer Recipes
- Grilled Salmon Skewers with zucchini and cherry tomatoes
- Korean BBQ Pork Kabobs is tender pork bulgogi and vegetables on a stick
- Spicy Shrimp and Chorizo Skewers with an easy marinade
- Tuna and Mango Kabobs is a light and fresh meal perfect for summer
Love to grill? Check out more awesome recipes.
- Chicken with Avocado Salsa
- Grilled Mahi Mahi
- Grilled Lamb Chops
- Grilled Zucchini and Proscuitto
- Rodeo Burger
Find lots of easy grilling recipes here on 2CM!
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BBQ Chicken Skewers with Bourbon BBQ Sauce
- 4 slices bacon, chopped small
- 1 ½ Tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon paprika regular or smoked or a combo of both can be used
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
Bourbon BBQ Sauce
- 8 oz BBQ Sauce Hiclory Smoked or Zesty works best
- 2 Tablespoons bourbon
- 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut in strips
- 8 wooden skewers for dinner/16 smaller skewers or toothpicks for appetizer portion
- In a food processor, blend the bacon, sugar, and spices until they form a smooth paste.
- Add a tablespoon or two of BBQ sauce to make the bacon paste easier to spread. Set aside.
- Cut the chicken into strips, about 4 per large breast.
- Smooth the bacon paste over the chicken strips.
- Place in refrigerator and chill for at least one hour.
- Thread onto skewers and replace any paste that fell off.
- While chicken is chilling, combine BBQ sauce and bourbon. Set aside.
- Heat grill to medium-high and cook the strips for 5-6 minutes per side or until cooked through.
- Brush BBQ sauce on each strip and grill an additional 1 minute per side.
- Serve with remaining BBQ Sauce on the side.
- Makes enough for 4 dinners or 16 appetizers.
This post has been updated with new photos and more information. It was first published on February 4, 2015.