The Best BBQ Chicken Kebabs Recipe

One of the best chicken recipes – BBQ Chicken Kebabs!

This isn’t your ordinary barbecue chicken. In fact, these BBQ Chicken Kebabs are the best barbecue chicken I’ve tasted. It has definitely earned its place among the best chicken recipes out there! A few easy extra steps really add a depth of flavor that you can’t get from just a BBQ sauce. Don’t let it overwhelm you… it’s easier than you think! In fact, you can watch a video of the action HERE.

One of those extras is the addition of processed raw bacon; a bacon paste, if you will. Stay with me here… I promise it is worth it. Just cut up a few slices of raw bacon, then put the pieces in a food processor or blender and process until you have bacon paste or puree. (I usually use Zaycon chicken and bacon!)

The bacon doesn’t actually add much of a bacon flavor, but more of a smoky flavor that enhances the rub and the sauce. Sounds weird, but it works!

Food processors and blenders can be expensive. A hand blender with accessories can be a great alternative…it’s a multi-purpose tool! It is a great tool to have – there are so many other great uses for it like making protein shakes, whipping eggs, whipping cream, emulsifying salad dressing, pureeing sauces, making salsa, and even guacamole! And it works to make the bacon paste for this recipe. ?

Two Types of Paprika

Another element that really adds flavor is a rub made of paprika, smoked paprika, and sugar.  Yes, that’s right…two different types of paprika in there.

I couldn’t find one in the store that said “sweet paprika,” so I use any good quality regular paprika for that. Smoked paprika seems to be clearly labeled and easy to find though. You can always try looking online too!

Before threading the chicken onto skewers, coat the chicken with the bacon paste and the paprika spice mixture. I use my hands to mix it all together and it does get messy, but it rinses right off. A baking sheet makes a good tray for mixing the chicken and transporting the skewers!

My Favorite Skewers

These stainless steel skewers are awesome, by the way. You don’t have to remember to soak them like you would with wooden ones. They are high quality, simple, and work well. I actually have two sets of them!

The chicken only needs 30-60 minutes of “marinating” time total; so it doesn’t take several hours of planning ahead to make these yummy kebabs. Hooray for that!

I have made these BBQ chicken kebabs with the homemade sauce originally included with the recipe and it is good, but I prefer a slightly sweeter sauce. My recommendation is to use 1 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce, whether it is homemade or store-bought. If you’re like me, you might want to try this Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce copycat recipe.

P.S. – Using a Pit Mitt or something similar makes it quick and easy to flip kebabs on the grill! See more grilling gloves.

Watch this delicious recipe in action:

Side dish ideas to go with the kebabs:

I first saw this recipe on Pink Parsley, but ended up adapting it to be more similar the one posted on Mel’s Kitchen Cafe. However, the recipe is originally from Cook’s Illustrated May/June 2011. Hope you try it and love it!

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5 / 5 (5 REVIEWS)

PREP TIME: 50 mins | COOK TIME: 10 mins
YIELD: six 14-inch kebabs | SERVES: 6-8


  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 2-3 slices raw bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce


  1. Trim chicken of excess fat, then cut the chicken into 1-inch cubes. In a large bowl, toss the chicken with the salt. Then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.
  2. Turn all grill burners to high, close lid, and heat for about 15 minutes. Leave primary burner on, but turn off other burners.
  3. Meanwhile, pat the chicken pieces dry with paper towels. In a small bowl, combine both paprika and sugar. Place the raw bacon in a food processor or blender and pulse for about 30-45 seconds, until a smooth paste forms, scraping down the sides of the bowl twice throughout. Add the bacon paste and spice mixture to the chicken. Mix with hands or spatula until the ingredients are blended and chicken is coated. Thread the chicken onto the skewers, rolling or folding as needed to maintain 1-inch cubes.
  4. Grill the chicken over the primary burner with lid closed, turning one-quarter of a turn every 2 minutes or so, until browned and slightly charred (about 8 minutes total for chicken breast and 10 minutes for thighs). Brush the top of kebabs with BBQ sauce; flip and cook until sauce is browned in spots, about 1 minute. Brush second side with sauce; flip and cook for another minute or so, until cooked through.
  5. Remove kebabs from grill, tent with foil, and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve, passing remaining BBQ sauce separately, if desired.
Nutrition Facts

The Best BBQ Chicken Kebabs Recipe
Amount per serving
% Daily Value*
17%Total Fat 11g
18%Saturated Fat 3.5g
Trans Fat 0g
50%Cholesterol 150mg
16%Sodium 390mg
1%Total Carbohydrates 4g
0%Dietary Fiber < 1g
Sugars 3g
0%Includes 0g Added Sugars
Protein 32g
Vit. D 0IU0%
Calcium 169mg17%
Iron 0mg2%
Potas. 15587mg445%

Recipe Adapted From: Cook’s Illustrated May/June 2011

Ingredients: BaconBBQ SauceChickenKosher SaltPaprikaSaltSugar
Meal Type: Main DishPopularFather’s DaySummerSuper Bowl PartyDairy FreeEgg FreeGluten Free
Categories: BBQMeat and PoultryGrill

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