Top 10 BBQ Chicken Sauce Recipes

Chicken is amazingly versatile because it can take on so many flavors. Whether you grill it hot (but not too hot) or smoke it low and slow, chicken is a great and inexpensive way to have a barbecue. Because chicken doesn't have a lot of flavor on its own, you will need a great sauce to finish it off. These 10 BBQ chicken sauces come in a wide variety of flavors, so there is something here for everyone.

Remember, sauces that contain sugars will burn at temperatures above 265 degrees F/103...MORE degrees C so either keep the temperature low or apply them only at the end of the cooking time.

  • 01 of 10
    Barbecue chicken on grill
    John Liu / Flickr/ CC By 2.0

    Go for the classic flavor of "barbecue" chicken with this rich and sweet sauce. This is the secret and yet simple sauce to a rich and perfectly grilled chicken. Sticky and sweet, if you use this sauce, make sure you have a lot of napkins on hand. 

  • 02 of 10
    Alabama White Barbecue Sauce
    Alabama White Barbecue Sauce. Dan/Flickr

    This is the barbecue sauce that made Big Bob Gibson one of the top destinations on the barbecue trail. This mayonnaise-based (yes, mayonnaise) barbecue sauce is perfect for chicken and if you ever manage to make it down to Decatur Alabama, you have to stop in and give it a try in its native habitat. In the mean time, give this recipe a try and it will become a favorite. 

  • 03 of 10
    North Carolina BBQ Chicken Sauce
    kae71463 / Flickr/ CC By 2.0

    A great way to make barbecue chicken is to smoke the bird low and slow and shred the meat. This makes a wonderful alternative to pulled pork that is quick and easy. This sauce, inspired by the barbecue sauces of the mountain country of the Carolinas is the perfect sauce for this style of pulled chicken. It has the tangy tartness of vinegar with a touch of sweet and heat.

  • 04 of 10
    Cornell barbecue chicken sauce
    LauriPatterson / Getty Images

    The famous barbecue sauce for chicken created at Cornell University's Farm Home Extension in the 1950s. This recipe was designed to get people to eat more chicken. Try it and see if it works. This is a classic of the '50s patio barbecue once occupied by Dad (or Grandad).

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10
    Bourbon barbecue chicken
    Alexandra Grablewski / Getty Images

    For some reason, the flavor of bourbon works perfectly with chicken. This rich and deep barbecue sauce has a bourbon base but is piled high in flavor from Ancho Chili to Dijon Mustard. This is a sophisticated and amazingly good sauce for chicken. 

  • 06 of 10
    Apricot-chili glaze chicken sauce
    LauriPatterson / Getty Images

    Sweet works so well with chicken and this barbecue sauce starts out with apricot preserves to create that sweetness. What makes this sauce so great is that it builds a savory side to the apricots that makes for a rich and flavorful chicken. 

  • 07 of 10
    Smokey Chicken Sauce
    Smokey Chicken Sauce. Felipex/Getty Images

    Want to layer on a rich depth of flavor to your grilled or smoked chicken? This sauce brings that with a hint of smokiness that will have you dreaming of summer cookouts any time of the year. Based in ketchup, this sauce balances tangy red wine vinegar with brown sugar. This is the perfect sauce for basting chicken right on the grill. 

  • 08 of 10
    Caribbean chicken sauce
    Jodi Pudge / Getty Images

    Sweet and heat fill out this sauce with a distinctly Caribbean flavor that makes an almost Jerk-style chicken. This sauce has buckets of flavor with just enough spicy heat to make it really interesting. This is a perfect sauce for any cut of chicken from breasts to wings. You will want to keep a bottle of this one in the refrigerator at all times. 

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10
    Apple BBQ Sauce
    Apple BBQ Sauce. Lauri Patterson/Getty Images

    Applesauce doesn't sound like the starting ingredient in a great barbecue sauce, but here it is. Apple is a perfect accompaniment for chicken and this sauce brings the savory and the sweet to any kind of chicken you are grilling or smoking (or baking). 

  • 10 of 10
    Sweet bourbon sauce
    Grandriver / Getty Images

    This is the perfect barbecue sauce for sticky, sweet chicken. The combination of bourbon for bite and maple syrup for sweet makes this a fantastically rich sauce.