Sweet and Spicy Beer Barbecue Chicken

Beer barbecue chicken with sweetness and spicy flavor. Juicy, tender chicken beautifully coated with a rich, moist sauce. Perfect juicy grilled chicken.

Happy 4th of July Weekend! I’ve notice a lot of holiday recipes are already out. You can either make a red, white and blue themed dessert; or 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. This is an adapted recipe that has been fine-tuned 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. If you want perfect grilled salmon check out my popular Lemon and Dill Salmon Kabobs.

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. I now have a 30 Minutes to Healthy Eating free eCookbook if you register here on in the sidebar to download and receive even more recipes.

Food Science and Cooking Tips:

Pre-baking chicken in the oven guarantees evenly cooked chicken. Simply bake the chicken with a little bit of salt and pepper to bring out the savory, meaty flavor (we’re not cooking till it’s done, just enough to get a head start). After about 30 minutes take out the chicken, smother with delicious sauce, and grill both sides until cooked through and just crispy. A shorter grill time prevents the sauce from burning off on the grill, and keeps chicken moist and juicy.

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

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Sweet and Spicy Beer Barbecue Chicken - www.platingpixels.com
5 from 1 vote

Sweet and Spicy Beer Barbecue Chicken

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.
Course Barbecue
Cuisine Chicken
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 8
Author Matthew Ivan



  • 8 chicken drumsticks or thighs about 3 pounds total
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 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 30-35 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

Share or Pin this recipe if you like it. Thanks! Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
Are you excited to try this a what’s your favorite type of barbecue recipe?

13 Responses

  1. This looks really delicious and love the flavor combination! Pinned!

  2. I’ve been meaning to try cooking my chicken with beer…the last time we visited my sister in law, her husband made something similar and it was fabulous! Looking forward to trying your recipe!

    • Matthew says:

      You definitely should Michelle. Beer is great with and in food. I’m pretty sure Julia Child said “I enjoy cooking with wine, sometimes I even put it in the food”. Smart words from a brilliant chef.

  3. Meagan says:

    This looks amazing! I’m so excited to try it out! I love spicy BBQ chicken, especially during the summer. We always go to Buffalo Wild Wings, but I’d much rather make them at home. Definitely saving this for our summer parties coming up!

    • Matthew says:

      I’m a huge fan of BWW Meagan! They have the wing specials on Thursday. I think the garlic Parmesan is my favorite. Hope this recipe comes in handy for those homemade wings.

  4. I never take the time to make wings, but I’m sure this would make my husband very happy

    • Matthew says:

      They do take a bit of time and effort Amanda, but are so worth it. I guarantee this would make your husband happy. Thanks for visiting!

  5. This looks so so SO tasty!! I love BBQ chicken, and I love the sweet and spicy spin you put on it. This is a great idea for the fourth of July… or for a random Tuesday! Can’t wait to try it out. Pinned!

  6. Drumsticks are the best, finger licking good!

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