Next level BBQ chicken

Discover how to cook BBQ chicken like a pro. The meat falls off the bone, and the marinade has a lovely balance of sweet, salty and spicy flavours

  • Prep:30 mins
    Cook:1 hrs
    plus 1 hr marinating
  • Serves 4
  • Easy

Nutrition per serving

  • kcal 528
  • fat 22g
  • saturates 6g
  • carbs 33g
  • sugars 31g
  • fibre 2g
  • protein 48g
  • salt 3.4g


  • 2 red chillies, tops removed and reserved for the smoke mix (see below)
  • 8 spring onions, roughly chopped
  • thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 8 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp chopped thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 3 tbsp dark brown soft sugar
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 4 limes, 2 juiced, plus 2 halved to serve
  • 1½kg mix of chicken drumsticks and wings, lightly scored
  • 200ml ketchup
  • handful of thyme sprigs
  • handful of bay leaves
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • reserved chilli tops (see above)


  1. To prepare the meat, tip all the ingredients, except for the chicken and ketchup, into a blender or mini processor. Add a pinch of salt and blitz to a rough paste. Tip two-thirds of the paste into a large bowl with the chicken, and massage the marinade into the meat. Cover and leave for at least 1 hr at room temperature, or up to 48 hrs in the fridge.

  2. Meanwhile, make the barbecue sauce. Tip the remaining paste into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cook for 5 mins until it thickens and becomes darker, then add the ketchup and cook for 5 mins until sticky. Tip into a container and set aside.

  3. Light the barbecue, ensuring the coals are piled up at one end and leaving only a couple of coals on the other side. Lay the chicken on the emptier side. If you’re making the smoke mix, carefully scatter all of the ingredients directly onto the piled-up coals. Cover the barbecue (with the vents open) and cook the chicken for 20 mins. Remove the lid and turn the chicken, then cover again and cook for a further 20 mins.

  4. Remove the lid and move the chicken across the grill so it’s above the piled-up coals, then baste with some of the barbecue sauce, keeping enough aside, in a separate container, to serve later. Cook for 10 mins, adding a few more coals if you need to and turning often, until nicely charred and cooked through – a digital thermometer inserted through the thickest part of the meat should read at least 65C.

  5. Put the lime halves on the grill, over the coals, cut-side down for 3-4 mins until charred. Serve the chicken with the lime for squeezing over and reserved barbecue sauce for dipping.

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