This is a common question among grill enthusiasts, and the answer is not straightforward.

Some people swear by marinating chicken in BBQ sauce before grilling, while others prefer to add the sauce after cooking. In this article, we will explore both options and help you decide which method is best for you.

Grilling Chicken with BBQ Sauce

Grilling chicken with BBQ sauce creates a mouth-watering aroma that can be irresistible. However, applying the sauce too early can lead to burning and charring of the meat. Therefore, it’s essential to know when to apply the sauce to your chicken.

Marinating Chicken in BBQ Sauce

Marinating chicken in BBQ sauce before grilling is a popular method that many people use. The goal of marinating is to infuse the flavors of the sauce into the meat and tenderize it.

To marinate your chicken in BBQ sauce, follow these steps:

  • Clean your chicken thoroughly and pat it dry.
  • Pour enough BBQ sauce into a container that will fit your chicken.
  • Place your chicken in the container and ensure it’s fully coated with the marinade.
  • Cover the container with foil or plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
  • Remove from marinade and discard remaining marinade.

Once your chicken has been marinated, you can grill it over medium heat for around 10-12 minutes per side or until fully cooked. Be sure to brush on additional BBQ sauce during the last few minutes of grilling for that perfect glaze.

Applying Sauce After Grilling

Another option when cooking chicken with BBQ sauce is to apply it after the chicken has been grilled. This method ensures that the sauce is not burnt or charred and can be evenly spread over the meat.

To apply the sauce after grilling, follow these steps:

  • Grill your chicken until it’s fully cooked and remove it from the grill.
  • Brush on a generous amount of BBQ sauce on both sides of the chicken while it’s still hot.
  • Let the chicken rest for about five minutes to allow the sauce to soak in before serving.

This method allows you to control how much sauce you want on your chicken and can be a great option if you are serving a crowd with different preferences.


In conclusion, whether to put BBQ sauce on chicken before grilling or after grilling is a matter of personal preference. Marinating your chicken in BBQ sauce before grilling can create flavorful and tender meat, while applying the sauce after grilling allows for more control over how much sauce is used. Whichever method you choose, make sure to enjoy your deliciously grilled BBQ chicken!