The Best BBQ Chicken Skewers Recipe (2024)

This really is the best BBQ Chicken Skewers recipe! There are a few easy extra steps that really add a depth of flavor that you can't get from just BBQ sauce. One word...BACON.

The Best BBQ Chicken Skewers Recipe (1)

One of the best chicken recipes – BBQ Chicken Skewers!

Whether you call them skewers or kebabs or kebobs… it doesn’t matter because THIS recipe isn’t your ordinary barbecue chicken. In fact, these BBQ chicken skewers are the best barbecue chicken I’ve tasted. It has definitely earned its place among the best chicken recipes out there!

A few easy extra steps really add a depth of flavor that you can’t get from just a BBQ sauce. Don’t let it overwhelm you… it’s easier than you think!

How to Make The Very Best Chicken Skewers:

Don’t worry, I’ll take you through it step by step!

Start by tossing the chicken pieces with the salt, then letting it sit, covered, in the fridge for about 30-60 minutes. This helps to tenderize the meat and keeps it from becoming dry on the grill. This is the only “marinating” time needed, so after this step, things go quickly!

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How to Make Raw Bacon Paste

One of those extra special ingredients in these BBQ chicken skewers is the addition of processed raw bacon; a bacon paste, if you will. Stay with me here… I promise it is worth it.

Just cut up a few slices of raw bacon, then put the pieces in a food processor or blender and process until you have bacon paste or puree. (I usually use Savory Butcherfor chicken and bacon).

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The bacon doesn’t actually add bacon flavor (unfortunately), but does lend more of a smoky flavor that enhances the rub and the sauce. Sounds weird, but it works!

Food processors and blenders can be expensive. A hand blender with accessories can be a great alternative…it’s a multi-purpose tool! There are so many other great uses for it like making protein shakes, whipping eggs, whipping cream, emulsifying salad dressing, pureeing sauces, making salsa, and even guacamole! And it works to make the bacon paste for this recipe. 🙂

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Two Types of Paprika

Another element that really adds flavor to this chicken kebab recipe is a rub made of paprika, smoked paprika, and sugar. Yes, that’s right…two different types of paprika in there.

I couldn’t find one in the store that said “sweet paprika,” so I use any good quality regular paprika for that. Smoked paprika seems to be clearly labeled and easy to find though. You can always try looking online too!

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Prepping the BBQ Chicken

Before threading the chicken onto skewers, pat it dry, then coat with the bacon paste and paprika spice mixture. I use my hands to mix it all together and it does get messy, but it rinses right off. A baking sheet makes a good tray for mixing the chicken and transporting the skewers!

My Favorite Skewers:

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These stainless steel skewers are awesome, by the way. You don’t have to remember to soak them like you would with wooden ones. They are high quality, simple, and work well. I actually have two sets of them!

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The chicken only needs 30-60 minutes of “marinating” time (in the salt) total; so it doesn’t take several hours of planning ahead to make these yummy bbq chicken kabobs. Hooray for that!

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BBQ Sauce Recommendation

I have made these BBQ chicken kebabs with the homemade sauce originally included with the recipe and it is good, but I prefer a slightly sweeter sauce.

My recommendation is to use 1 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce, whether it is homemade or store-bought. If you’re like me, you might want to try this Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce copycat recipe.

P.S. – Using a Pit Mitt or something similar makes it quick and easy to flip kebabs on the grill! See more grilling gloves.

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Side dish ideas to go with this chicken kebab recipe:

  • Grilled Zucchini
  • Honey Lime Fruit Salad
  • Grilled Rosemary Potatoes
  • Creamed Corn
  • Grilled Orange Glazed Carrots
  • Grilled Southwest Corn
  • Lemon Herb Potato Salad
  • Grilled Pineapple
  • Loaded Potato Salad
  • Grilled Asparagus

I first saw this grilled chicken shish kabobs recipe on Pink Parsley but ended up adapting it to be more similar the one posted on Mel’s Kitchen Cafe. However, the recipe is originally from Cook’s Illustrated May/June 2011. Hope you try it and love it!

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Watch this delicious recipe in 37 Seconds:

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The Best BBQ Chicken Skewers Recipe

This really is the best BBQ Chicken Skewers recipe! There are a few easy extra steps that really add a depth of flavor that you can't get from just BBQ sauce. One word...BACON.

4.62 / 5 ( 181 Reviews )

Print Rate

Prep Time: 50 minutes minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes minutes

Total Time: 1 hour hour

Serves: 6

Adjust Servings: 6


  • Skewers

  • Grill


  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 ½ tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 2-3 slices raw bacon cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce


  • Trim chicken of excess fat, then cut the chicken into 1-inch cubes. In a large bowl, toss the chicken with the salt. Then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.

  • Turn all grill burners to high, close lid, and heat for about 15 minutes. Leave primary burner on, but turn off other burners.

  • Meanwhile, pat the chicken pieces dry with paper towels. In a small bowl, combine both paprika and sugar. Place the raw bacon in a food processor or blender and pulse for about 30-45 seconds, until a smooth paste forms, scraping down the sides of the bowl twice throughout. Add the bacon paste and spice mixture to the chicken. Mix with hands or spatula until the ingredients are blended and chicken is coated. Thread the chicken onto the skewers, rolling or folding as needed to maintain 1-inch cubes.

  • Grill the chicken over the primary burner with lid closed, turning one-quarter of a turn every 2 minutes or so, until browned and slightly charred (about 8 minutes total for chicken breast and 10 minutes for thighs). Brush the top of skewers with BBQ sauce; flip and cook until sauce is browned in spots, about 1 minute. Brush second side with sauce; flip and cook for another minute or so, until cooked through.

  • Remove skewers from grill, tent with foil, and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve, passing remaining BBQ sauce separately, if desired.


Calories: 329kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 10g | Sodium: 1389mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 19g

The Best BBQ Chicken Skewers Recipe (2024)


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