The Best, Simple BBQ Grilled Chicken Marinade Recipe is healthy, easy, and perfect for summer cookouts. Marinate your wings, legs, or chicken breasts overnight. You can even drizzle in your favorite spicy BBQ sauce. This seasoning is kid-friendly and works well for baked chicken, too!
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This post was originally published in April 2017 and has since been updated.
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The best-grilled chicken marinade for cookouts was born during my college days. I was one of a few people who lived off campus and owned an outdoor grill. The moment I was shown how to work a grill I was determined to become a pro user! Chicken and burgers were my favorite items to throw on the grill.
I still love serving grilled chicken wings, drumsticks, and burgers at all of my cookouts. I learned early on the secret to successful grilling is having an amazing marinade recipe.
A key component to my marinade is McCormick’s Grill Mates line. I also typically marinate the night before I plan to grill. I let the juices and spices soak into the meat overnight using Ziploc bags.
You can use this marinade as a fast marinade for grilled chicken when you don’t have time, but for optimal flavor marinate for at least 2 hours.
How to Make Homemade Grilled Chicken Marinade
- Drizzle the chicken in low-sodium soy sauce, liquid smoke, and season with McCormick’s Grill Mates Chicken Seasoning, McCormick’s BBQ Seasoning, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Marinate the chicken overnight in sealable plastic bags.
How to Marinade/Marinate Chicken for BBQ
I like to use liquid to marinate because it helps ensure juicy chicken. In this recipe, I use low-sodium soy sauce, which makes the chicken juicy and also adds flavor.
The right combination of seasoning is key, too. I love the Grill Mates line by McCormick’s. They have virtually every seasoning you can think of to compliment grilling.
How Long Should You Marinate Chicken? How Long Should I Let My Chicken Marinade/Marinate?
You can safely marinate raw chicken for up to 2 days. I usually opt for overnight/a little less than 24 hours.
You can marinate chicken for a minimum of 1 hour. You can read more about How to Marinate Chicken here.
Can You Marinate Chicken Too Long?
Yes, chicken starts to become unsafe after marinating for 2 days.
Can You Marinate Cooked Chicken?
It does not make sense to. The purpose of marinating is to produce juicy meat that is loaded with flavor. It should be done while the meat is in a raw state.
How Do You Grill Chicken on a Gas Grill?
- Preheat the grill on High for 10-15 minutes.
- Adjust the temperature to 400 degrees and medium-high heat.
- Grill the chicken for about 10 minutes and flip halfway through.
You can read more about How to Grill Chicken on a Gas Grill here.
Can You Marinate Chicken in BBQ Sauce?
Absolutely! I typically do not marinate with BBQ sauce. I like for the BBQ sauce to be an optional addition, especially when serving it to a large group of people.
What Temp to Bring the Marinade When Basting Grilled Chicken
I like to grill the chicken at 400 degrees.
What is the Best Marinade for Chicken Leg to Be Grilled
The best marinades are a combo of acidity (soy sauce has some acid, but low), fat (butter is added to the chicken after cooking), and sweetness (which can be found in the seasonings and herbs used to marinate).
You can pair the chicken with Grilled Steaks or brisket, too.
Check out my steak marinade recipe documented within these posts:
Here are a few other links to side dishes served for dinner:
Southern Style Soul Food Homestyle Baked Mac and Cheese
Southern Style Green Beans
Air Fryer Ribs
Air Fryer Fries
Instant Pot Ribs
Instant Pot Potato Salad
Crack Mashed Potatoes
The Best, Simple BBQ Grilled Chicken Marinade Recipe
- 2 pounds chicken wings
- 2 pounds chicken drumsticks
- low-sodium soy sauce Use enough to coat the chicken so that it does not dry out while in the bags. I used a few tablespoons
- 1 tbsp liquid smoke
- 2 tbsp McCormick’s Montreal Chicken Seasoning
- 2 tbsp McCormick’s BBQ Seasoning
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter (omit if dairy free)
- Drizzle the liquid smoke and soy sauce over the chicken.
- Add the chicken to Ziploc bags. Add the seasonings to the bag and shake to ensure the chicken is fully coated. Seal the bags. Refrigerate overnight.
- Grill the chicken on medium high heat. Flip the chicken a few times to ensure it is fully cooked on both sides. I grilled the chicken for about 4-5 minutes on each side. Cooking time will vary depending on your grill.
- Melt the butter in the microwave for 15-20 seconds.
- Using a cooking brush, coat the chicken with the melted butter.
- Remove the chicken from the grill. Serve!