Have you ever been tempted to slather BBQ sauce on raw chicken before cooking it? It may seem like a time-saving hack, but is it safe? In this article, we’ll explore the risks and benefits of putting BBQ sauce on raw chicken.

The Risks of Putting BBQ Sauce on Raw Chicken

Raw chicken can harbor harmful bacteria such as salmonella and campylobacter. These bacteria can cause food poisoning if ingested.

When you apply BBQ sauce to raw chicken, the sauce can become a breeding ground for bacteria. This is because the sugar in the sauce provides a food source for the bacteria to grow.


Another risk of putting BBQ sauce on raw chicken is cross-contamination. If you use the same utensils or cutting board for both the raw chicken and cooked food, you risk contaminating the cooked food with harmful bacteria.

The Benefits of Putting BBQ Sauce on Cooked Chicken

While it’s not recommended to put BBQ sauce on raw chicken, there are benefits to adding it after cooking. Cooking the chicken first will kill any harmful bacteria present, making it safe to consume. Adding BBQ sauce after cooking also allows you to control how much sauce you use and how evenly it’s distributed.

Tips for Safely Adding BBQ Sauce to Cooked Chicken

Here are some tips for safely adding BBQ sauce to cooked chicken:

  • Use a clean utensil or brush to apply the sauce
  • Ensure that the internal temperature of the chicken has reached 165°F before adding the sauce
  • Apply the sauce evenly and thoroughly
  • Refrigerate any leftover chicken promptly


In conclusion, it’s not safe to put BBQ sauce on raw chicken due to the risk of harmful bacteria. However, adding BBQ sauce to cooked chicken can be a delicious and safe way to enjoy this summertime favorite. Remember to always practice safe food handling and cooking techniques to avoid foodborne illnesses.