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The Best, Simple BBQ Grilled Chicken Marinade Recipe

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.

FOR THE FULL LIST OF INGREDIENTS AND COMPREHENSIVE INSTRUCTIONS, PLEASE SEE THE RECIPE CARD AT THE END OF THIS POST. BEFORE YOU SCROLL, THERE’S IMPORTANT INFORMATION IN THIS BLOG POST.

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.

raw seasoned chicken breasts on a cutting board

How to Make Homemade Grilled Chicken Marinade

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

mccormicks grill mates chicken seasoning rub

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.

raw seasoned chicken breasts in a ziploc bag

Can You Marinate Chicken Too Long?

Yes, chicken starts to become unsafe after marinating for 2 days.

grilled bbq chicken wings in a large white bowl

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.

grilled bbq chicken wings in a large white bowl

How Do You Grill Chicken on a Gas Grill?

  1. Preheat the grill on High for 10-15 minutes.
  2. Adjust the temperature to 400 degrees and medium-high heat.
  3. 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.

grilled bbq chicken wings in a large white bowl

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.

grilled bbq chicken wings in a large white bowl

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).

best chicken marinade

You can pair the chicken with Grilled Steaks or brisket, too.

Check out my steak marinade recipe documented within these posts:

Spicy Low-Carb Steak Lettuce Wraps
Sheet Pan Steak and Veggies

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

grilled bbq chicken wings in a large white bowl
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5 from 14 votes

The Best, Simple BBQ Grilled Chicken Marinade Recipe

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!
Save this recipe here.
Course dinner, lunch
Cuisine American
Keyword bbq grilled chicken recipe, best grilled chicken marinade, best grilled chicken recipe
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 10
Calories 294kcal

Ingredients

Instructions

  • 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!
Recipe Tools Used in this RecipeAs an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition (displayed with net carbs)

Calories: 294kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 17g
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Nutrition DataMacros are provided as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. This information is calculated using MyFitnessPal.com. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.
Recipe Rating




Easy E

Saturday 3rd of September 2022

This is a hit that sticks like grits! This has become my go to marinade for grilled wings. It never misses. I add bbq sauce at the end of grilling instead of butter, and it is…*chef’s kiss*. I gotta try the butter version one day too!

staysnatched

Saturday 3rd of September 2022

I’m glad you enjoy it.

Alanna

Monday 20th of July 2020

Made these this weekend and SO GOOD. Highly recommend. I haven’t found the perfect chicken wing marinade until now and this is it.

staysnatched

Monday 20th of July 2020

Yay! So glad you enjoyed it.

camila

Thursday 24th of May 2018

Just in time for Memorial Day weekend!! Delicious recipe!

Bintu | Recipes From A Pantry

Thursday 24th of May 2018

This sounds like the perfect marinade - definitely going to have to give it a try next time I'm having a cookout!

Shelby

Thursday 24th of May 2018

This looks like it is full of flavor! I love fresh grilled chicken and have a marinade that I have used most of my adult life from the popular "Fireman's Field Day BBQ's". However, I love to change things up too and the ingredient combination in your recipe sound tasty! Can't wait to give it a try!