Best Barbecue Chicken You’ll Ever Make

If you follow this recipe, I promise it will turn out the best barbecue chicken you’ll ever make. It is outstanding!

best barbecue chicken (smoked or grilled) EVER!

When I say that this recipe will yield the best barbecue chicken you’ll ever make, I am dead serious. It contains all the elements of a good barbecue: a long brine/marinade, simple seasonings, lots of hickory smoke, and a delectable sauce.

I think  “North Alabama barbecue” is the best. It is the barbecue that I grew up eating, and I’ve never found anything else that compares. This recipe comes from Cotton Country Cooking, my favorite regional cookbook. This recipe is actually an attempt to duplicate Bob Gibson’s chicken, the best barbecue (in my book) which still operates from Decatur, Alabama.

Equipment: This recipe can be made with a grill or smoker. I’ve never used a grill, only my Char-Broil electric smoker. Any smoker (or Big Green Egg) will be easier to regulate temperature. If using a grill, more care will need to be taken to keep the heat low and indirect.

Marinade: This is key to the flavor and tenderness of the chicken, and I always marinade the chicken overnight for best results. I have also frozen my chicken in this marinade (uncooked) to pull out as needed. The marinade does need at least an hour to cool (after boiling) before adding chicken pieces, so I tend to make it early in the day and add the chicken at night.

White Sauce: I use Bob Gibson’s Original White Sauce. (Bob Gibson’s is the restaurant that made white sauce famous and whose recipe everyone tried to emulate). I occasionally make my own but prefer the bottled.

Is this really the best chicken you’ll ever make? The answer, at least for me, is a resounding yes! If you have all the supplies, please give this recipe a try. You won’t be sorry, and your fam will be super impressed at your grilling skills:-)

Suggested accompaniments: Our favorites are these yummy cheese grits, this green salad, and yeast rolls (I like Millie’s~don’t make my own). As always, we serve up glasses and glasses of our favorite peach iced tea.

If you try this, please let us know how it turns out and share any tips you learned along the way. As always, thanks so much for stopping by. Be blessed, and stay savvy!!!

Best Barbecue Chicken You'll Ever Make

24 hr

2 hr

26 hr

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  • 2 whole chickens, bone-in, skin-on, cut up
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 quart white vinegar
  • salt, pepper & red pepper to taste (I use lots of both peppers)
  • hickory chips (soaked in water for at least 30 minutes)
  • 1 1/2 cups mayo
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup black pepper (more to taste)
  • sugar to taste (start with 1 TB and add as needed)


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Wash chicken, butterlying breasts.
  • Sprinkle with salt & peppers.
  • Place in container with marinade, completely submerging pieces.
  • Refrigerate overnight.
  • When ready to cook, place hickory chips over fire and heat to 200-225 degrees.
  • While smoke is heating, place chicken (covered) in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.
  • When smoke starts, add chicken to grill/smoker, covered, and cook for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
  • Cook until temperature reads at least 165 degrees in thickest part of breasts.
  • Remove from heat; drizzle with white sauce.
  • Keep covered with foil in warm oven until serving.
  • Blend all ingredients until smooth.
  • Store in the fridge, covered, up to one week.