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Stacey’s Famous BBQ Chicken

This chicken is topped with a sticky, finger-lickin’ sauce that everyone—including my kids—loves. I make it in big batches now and give jars of it to family and friends. —Stacey Nerness, Spencer, Iowa
  • Total Time
    Prep: 45 min. Grill: 40 min.
  • Makes
    4 servings plus 3 cups leftover sauce


  • 2-1/2 cups ketchup
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup liquid smoke
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 serrano pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons prepared mustard
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 chicken leg quarters
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper


  • In a large saucepan, combine the first 12 ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes to allow flavors to blend. Set aside 1/2 cup sauce for basting; cover and refrigerate remaining sauce for later use.
  • Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Moisten a paper towel with cooking oil; using long-handled tongs, rub on grill rack to coat lightly.
  • Prepare grill for indirect heat, using a drip pan. Place chicken skin side down over drip pan; grill, covered, over indirect medium heat for 20 minutes. Turn; grill 20-30 minutes longer or until a thermometer reads 170°-175°, basting occasionally with reserved sauce.
Editor's Note
Wear disposable gloves when cutting hot peppers; the oils can burn skin. Avoid touching your face.
Nutrition Facts
1 chicken leg quarter: 340 calories, 16g fat (4g saturated fat), 105mg cholesterol, 673mg sodium, 17g carbohydrate (16g sugars, 0 fiber), 30g protein.

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  • wingenrothj
    May 21, 2015

    This is the best ever BBQ Sauce--I misplaced it and I was so glad when I found it again-- No store bought sauce evens come close

  • kerrizims
    May 8, 2013

    I opted out of the Serrano pepper because my kids aren't spicy food fans and we really liked it a lot!

  • rharkless
    Aug 21, 2011

    I have made this twice (both times with boneless-skinless chicken breasts b/c my husband has something against bones) and it's great. The sauce has just the right amount of twang!

  • auntbea67
    Jul 22, 2011

    We live between Atlanta and Macon, real open-air pit BBQ places that have been around for 100 years are known to the locals. I always try to duplicate the sauce at home, but never come close-ever, until last night when I made this recipe. I always tell my family that it is a new recipe and that they can be honest so I know to make it again or throw away the recipe...and it was a 5 star all the way around!!!

  • aug2295
    Jun 27, 2011

    This was tasty for homemade bbq sauce.

  • Rach_TheBoss
    Jun 12, 2011

    The sauce is amazing and keeps for future use!! My family loved it!