Why Guy Fieri Says You Should Cook Barbecue Chicken Low And Slow

While barbecue chicken is easy enough to make on the grill at first glance — just throw your chicken on the grill and add some barbecue sauce — there are still some extra factors to consider during this two-step process if you want to achieve the most flavorful, juicy, tender barbecue chicken possible. For starters, according to celebrity chef Guy Fieri, who spoke with Parade in 2016 to discuss his series of restaurants aboard Carnival Cruise Line ships, slow-cooking any kind of barbecue is always the way to go. Regarding barbecue chicken specifically, he noted, "Don't get the coals too hot. Heat it up and slowly cook it to really break it down. That's when you get this super tender falling apart meat."

Of course, exactly how low and slow you cook your barbecue chicken will depend on your chosen cooking method (after all, barbecue chicken isn't just relegated to the grill) and your chicken cut of choice. For example, if you're grilling a half chicken, you could reduce your grill to medium heat and grill the bird for about an hour. You might plan for a similar amount of time if baking your barbecue chicken in the oven. If you're smoking a whole chicken, you might set your smoker to somewhere around 200 degrees Fahrenheit and let it smoke for multiple hours, the same amount of time you might need if making barbecue chicken in a slow cooker.

Other Guy Fieri-approved barbecue chicken tips

Guy Fieri is a fount of barbecue wisdom, so if you want even more tips for your summertime barbecue chicken, he has them. For example, Guy Fieri's barbecue chicken seasoning tip is to start with a brine. When speaking to Us Weekly in 2018, he suggested making a brine from equal amounts of salt and sugar, and then adding extra spices and seasonings like thyme, garlic, chili flakes, peppercorns, and bay leaves. The brine will both make your chicken more tender and add flavor, so you won't be chowing down on a bland piece of poultry that's simply been smothered in barbecue sauce. You can brine your chicken anywhere from two hours to overnight.

However you cook your barbecue chicken, though, and whether or not you use a brine, don't make the grilled-chicken mistake of adding your barbecue sauce too soon. Wait until the final moments of cooking so that the sauce just has enough time to heat through and caramelize. Otherwise, you could end up with burnt sauce that's equally bitter and smelly.