Sweet and Spicy Beer Barbecue Chicken


Happy 4th of July Weekend! I noticed most food blogs have already posted holiday recipes; especially red, white and blue themed desserts. The simplest way to do this is a dessert with strawberries or raspberries, and blueberries. I even made frozen custard like this recently, but the recipe still needs developing (looks like that will be featured during next year’s holiday). While these recipes are certainly fun, another staple for celebrating our independence is a good old-fashioned barbecue!

Sweet And Spicy Beer Barbecue Chicken recipe - www.platingpixels.com

This Sweet and Spicy Beer Barbecue Chicken recipe is my spin on a 4th of July recipe. Beer is popular with barbecues, especially during the holiday. What if you could enjoy your drink and flavor your food with it at the same time, well now you can. There are cookbooks based entirely on recipes with beer, so I can’t claim the idea. However, I have fine-tuned this recipe for optimum sweetness, with just the right amount of spicy flavor. All this while still having juicy, tender chicken that is beautifully coated with a rich, moist sauce.

Sweet And Spicy Beer Barbecue Chicken recipe - www.platingpixels.com

Play around with different beer choices; wheat beer adds a hoppy citrus undertone. Stronger beers like an IPA will create even bolder flavor. Depending on how long you cook down the sauce, you may need to add more or less cornstarch to thicken it up. I suggest adding it at the end, starting with less and adding more if needed. Follow instructions in the recipe below for making this perfect barbecue chicken. The food or photographs have not been doctored in any way, they will look that juicy when you make this wonderful barbecue recipe.

Sweet And Spicy Beer Barbecue Chicken recipe - www.platingpixels.com

Serve with a garnish of beer on the side and have a happy and safe holiday! This recipe is featured in my Plating Pixels Top 10 Summer Potluck & Barbecue Recipes free eCookbook. Register in the sidebar to download and receive even more summer recipes.

Food Science and Cooking Tips:

Pre-baking chicken in the oven guarantees evenly cooked chicken and prevents the sauce from burning off on the grill.

Food Photography Tips:

Each and every recipe on Plating Pixels has food photography and food styling tips. I hope home-cooks and food bloggers can learn valuable information from these.

I shot this in natural light at 1/200 sec, f/ 2.8, ISO 200 with a 50 mm macro lens. The photography for this recipe had to have a summer feel. That meant photographing outdoors, preferably on table, to create a barbecue scene. While grilling I was still finalizing options for how to setup the scene (I’d suggest coming up with this idea before cooking even, but sometimes you have so many options to decide on). I placed the chicken in my grill basket once they were cooked and set it on the table. I was about to look for a plate to start creating a scene, and notice the perfect one was right in front of me. You can’t get more a more authentic scene than that. The scene portrayed that chicken had just been cooked and was ready to serve to a group of hungry guests. A bottle of beer placed in the background adds to the feel and is a way to visualize that important ingredient. Sometimes the unexpected things are the best, when they come around just go with them.

Sweet And Spicy Beer Barbecue Chicken recipe - www.platingpixels.com

Sweet And Spicy Beer Barbecue Chicken

Products used in this recipe:

Pyrex Clear Baking Dish
T-fal Nonstick Cookware Set, 10-Piece
Char-Broil 3-Burner Gas Grill

Sweet and Spicy Beer Barbecue Chicken
Recipe type: Barbecue
Cuisine: Chicken
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
Beer barbecue chicken with sweetness and just the right amount of spicy flavor. Juicy, tender chicken that is beautifully coated with a rich, moist sauce.
  • 8 chicken drumsticks or thighs (about 3 pounds total)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil (for grilling)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup finely chopped yellow onion (about 1 medium)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 cup beer (gluten free, wheat, ale or lager) + extra for drinking
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons chili hot sauce (Sriracha)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (use gluten-free)
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch (more or less depending on thickness)
  1. Preheat oven to 375º F. Place chicken drumsticks into large baking dish in single layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake uncovered for 35-40 minutes, or until chicken is slightly firm and reads 170º F internally with instant-read thermometer. While baking start making sauce (chicken will be grilled to completion later).
  2. To make sauce: Heat olive oil in medium sauce-pan to medium heat. Add onion and garlic, cook about 5 minutes until tender, string occasionally. Stir in chili powder and cook 1 minute more. Stir in 1-cup of beer, ketchup, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar and brown sugar. Bring to bowl then simmer on low, uncovered, for about 15 minutes. Sauce will thicken. Stir in cornstarch, cook additional 5 minutes until consistency of barbecue sauce.
  3. To barbecue chicken: Heat gas or charcoal grill to medium heat. Wet paper towel with cooking oil and grease grill to prevent sticking. Immediately place baked chicken on grill and brush tops generously with half of barbecue sauce. Cook, covered for 8 minutes. Flip over and top other side with remaining sauce. Cook covered for an additional 6-8 minutes or until completely cooked in center (meat will be white). Serve with more beer on the side.


– Recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens: Chicken Dinners. 2014. Print

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