Baked BBQ Chicken is a classic American family dinner. Kids love it, husbands love it, and us moms can make it lickety-split for a crowd-pleasing dinner — therefore, we love it too. With crisp skin and BBQ sauce that actually stays put, this easy recipe for perfect Baked BBQ Chicken Legs and Thighs is guaranteed to be the best Baked BBQ Chicken you have ever had!
While baked BBQ chicken seems like a simple enough dinner idea, it’s also a dish that often gets the short end of the stick. However, there will be none of that here.
Oven-baked Barbecue Chicken doesn’t have to be rubbery, and it certainly shouldn’t be lackluster in the flavor department. This simple recipe ensures that the dish remains a crowd-pleasing staple on any American dinner table, and one your family will eagerly look forward to again and again.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED FOR BAKED BBQ CHICKEN
In addition to the ingredients for your Baked BBQ Chicken Legs and Thighs, you will also need a large pan, a casserole dish, and aluminum foil.
This dish doesn’t require much in the way of ingredients. In fact, you’ll only need three of them. They are as follows:
- Chicken Legs and/or Thighs
- BBQ Sauce
- Canola Oil
CHICKEN LEGS AND THIGHS
Legs and thighs are the perfect vessels for oven-baked BBQ chicken. You’ll find them much more forgiving when it comes to staying moist, whereas the breasts are more likely to dry out.
You can use both chicken legs and thighs, or one or the other — just make sure they are bone-in and skin-on for consistent results.
The sauce you choose to smother your chicken with should not be thin or watery. Rather, the BBQ sauce should be thick, viscous, and almost sticky so that it will better adhere to the skin of the chicken while baking. Use your favorite sticky-sweet storebought sauce or whip up a batch of Easy Homemade BBQ Sauce.
To ensure your Baked BBQ Chicken Legs and Thighs don’t end up with rubbery or chewy skin, pan-sear the chicken before baking in the oven.
Any time you are searing meat on the stovetop, you’ll need an oil that can withstand high temperatures. Canola oil and Avocado oil are the best options for searing meat at a high temperature as their smoke points are very high and they are truly flavorless oils.
HOW TO MAKE PERFECT OVEN-BAKED BARBECUE CHICKEN
If the proper steps are not taken, you’ll end up with a pile of rubbery chicken skin and a sauce barely clinging on. So how do you cook barbecue chicken in the oven? Simple. All you need to know, straight ahead.
- Prep and sear the chicken.
- Brush with chicken with sauce.
- Bake in a casserole dish, covered, and then, uncovered.
1. SEAR THE CHICKEN…BUT WHY?
Searing the chicken for Baked BBQ Chicken prior to baking not only helps to develop depth of flavor but also gives the chicken texture. However, before you sear the chicken, you should take a couple of steps to ensure it is optimized for browning.
Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel to remove excess water, drizzle it with oil, and then sprinkle it with either TAK House Seasoning (a simple mix of salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder) or your favorite poultry seasoning.
To sear the chicken legs and thighs, add oil to a large pan and place it over medium-high heat. Place the chicken skin-side down in the hot oil and cook it for 4 minutes without jostling or moving the chicken around. This will allow it to develop a nice sear. Then, turn the chicken over and cook it an extra 3 minutes.
2. BRUSH WITH BBQ SAUCE
Have your pan prepared with a thin layer of BBQ sauce on the bottom. This way, the chicken legs and thighs will have big BBQ sauce flavor on both sides.
Once the legs and thighs go into the casserole dish, brush or spoon the remaining sauce over each leg and thigh and cover with aluminum foil.
3. BAKE COVERED AND UNCOVERED
The Baked BBQ Chicken Legs and Thighs will first bake covered at 350° for 3o minutes. Once the time is up, you’ll pull the aluminum foil, increase the oven temperature to 375° and allow the chicken to bake for an additional 15 minutes.
This additional 15 minutes at a higher temperature, uncovered, will allow the BBQ sauce to thicken, bubble and better adhere to the chicken.
TIPS BBQ BAKED CHICKEN LEGS AND THIGHS
For Baked BBQ Chicken Legs and Thighs without rubbery skin, there are three important things to keep in mind:
- Use bone-in, skin-in legs, thighs (or a combination of the two).
- Pan -sear the chicken before it goes into the oven.
- The barbecue sauce you pick is important! See tips above.
- How you bake the chicken matters:
- First, bake it covered to cook the chicken through without drying it out.
- Then, increase the oven temperature, and bake it uncovered to help the sauce stay put on the chicken.
5 MORE CLASSIC DINNERS YOU’LL LOVE
- Homemade Spaghetti and Meatballs features a quick and easy marinara sauce and perfect baked meatballs!
- Cheesy Broccoli and Rice Casserole with Chicken is a classic American comfort food casserole well deserving of a comeback! Featuring melty Colby Jack cheese and a crunchy Cornflake topping. The perfect comfort food casserole!
- Oven-Baked Crusted Pork Chops features pork chops with a crispy panko breading. Always tender, never dry — this easy pork recipe will be your family’s new dinnertime favorite!
- Fork-Tender Pot Roast is slow-cooked, savory and smothered in a rich brown gravy. This just might be the most wanted comfort food dish of all! And, this one, in particular, shines far above the rest thanks to a few simple steps other recipes are leaving behind.
- Slow-Cooker Spare Ribs are as close to ribs hot off the pit as you’ll get, and although cooked indoors and in a crock pot, they yield the perfect bite with a burst of big BBQ flavor. Best of all? They’re seriously easy to make.
A recipe for easy baked BBQ chicken featuring chicken legs and thighs, plus a quick, homemade barbecue sauce (optional).
- 4 tablespoons Canola Oil separated
- 3 pounds Chicken Legs and Thighs bone-in and skin on
- 1 tablespoon TAK House Seasoning (or your favorite seasoning blend)
- 1 ½ cups sweet and sticky-style BBQ sauce
Preheat oven to 350°, and pour a ½ cup of barbecue sauce in a 9x13” casserole dish and set aside.
Heat 3 tablespoons of Canola oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Pat legs and thighs dry with a paper towel and drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of Canola oil. Add seasoning and rub into chicken evenly on all sides.
Taking care not to overcrowd the pan, add the chicken skin-side down, and cook 3-4 minutes without jostling. Turn the chicken over and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Remove from the pan and place in casserole dish.
Brush evenly with remaining barbecue sauce on both sides, cover dish with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.
Remove the foil, place the chicken back into the oven and increase the temperature to 375°. Bake for an addition 15 minutes. Serve and enjoy.