When it comes to grilling chicken, marinating it beforehand can make a world of difference in terms of flavor and tenderness. One popular marinade option is BBQ sauce.

But should you marinate chicken in BBQ sauce before grilling? Let’s dive in and explore the benefits and considerations.

Enhancing Flavor

Marinating chicken in BBQ sauce can significantly enhance its flavor. The sweet, tangy, and smoky notes of the sauce penetrate the meat, infusing it with a delicious taste that complements the natural flavors of the chicken.

Tip: To further intensify the flavor, consider adding additional spices or ingredients to your BBQ sauce marinade. This could include garlic powder, paprika, Worcestershire sauce, or even a splash of citrus juice.

Tenderizing the Meat

In addition to enhancing flavor, marinating chicken in BBQ sauce can also help tenderize it. The acidic ingredients commonly found in BBQ sauces (such as vinegar or citrus juices) work as natural tenderizers by breaking down tough muscle fibers in the meat.

Note: It’s important not to over-marinate chicken as extended exposure to acidic ingredients can result in a mushy texture.

The Time Factor

The duration for which you should marinate chicken in BBQ sauce depends on several factors such as the thickness of the meat and your personal preference for flavor intensity. Generally, marinating for 30 minutes to 24 hours is recommended.

Tip: To avoid overpowering flavors or texture changes due to prolonged marination, consider using a dry rub with your preferred seasonings alongside or instead of marinating with BBQ sauce.

Avoiding Cross-Contamination

When marinating chicken in BBQ sauce, it’s crucial to handle it safely to prevent cross-contamination. Raw poultry must be stored separately from other ingredients, utensils, and surfaces. Always marinate chicken in a sealed container in the refrigerator and dispose of any leftover marinade that has come into contact with raw poultry.

Alternative Cooking Methods

If you decide not to marinate your chicken in BBQ sauce before grilling, there are other ways to incorporate the flavors. You can brush BBQ sauce onto the chicken during the last few minutes of grilling or use it as a dipping sauce when serving.


  • Enhances flavor
  • Tenderizes the meat
  • Allows customization with additional ingredients


  • Possible mushy texture if over-marinated
  • Careful handling required for avoiding cross-contamination
  • Alternate methods may be preferred by some individuals

In conclusion, marinating chicken in BBQ sauce before grilling can be a fantastic way to elevate its taste and tenderness. However, it’s essential to consider personal preferences and cooking techniques when deciding whether or not to marinate. By following proper handling guidelines and experimenting with different flavors, you’ll find the perfect balance for your grilled chicken masterpiece!