I have a weakness for just about anything smothered in sticky sweet BBQ Sauce and this BBQ Chicken Recipe is no exception. And the saucier the better!
But there are two big things I don’t like about the typical BBQ Chicken recipe; 1) Grilling—it makes a huge mess and 2) Sugar–the typical serving of a conventional BBQ sauce has just about the same amount of sugar as a cookie (Yikes!)
You won’t believe it until you try the recipe below, but I managed to do away with both the mess and the sugar and still keep all the sweet, yummy sticky goodness that makes a good BBQ Chicken recipe so darn finger lickin’ good. And thanks to slow baking, the clean version is considerably more moist than what you’d get from the grill method.
A BBQ Chicken Recipe is Only As Good As the Sauce
But as with any BBQ Chicken recipe, it’s the sauce that makes the dish. And nothing beats Homemade BBQ Sauce. By using fiber-rich “whole food” date puree as the primary sweetener in my BBQ Sauce Recipe, I can avoid the pitfalls of refined sugar without sacrificing sweetness.
Of course I realize the idea of making your own BBQ Sauce from scratch might seem a bit of a stretch if you don’t have all day to spend making dinner, but it’s honestly the easiest thing in the world to do. It takes all of 12-minutes to make the sauce (yes, I timed it) and then no more than a few minutes to prep the chicken.
So if you set aside a bit of time over the weekend to prepare the sauce, this BBQ Chicken Recipe actually makes such an easy weeknight dinner meal served with a simple green salad and corn on the cob.
No Time to Make BBQ Sauce From Scratch?
But what if you just don’t have an extra 12-minutes to spend making homemade BBQ Sauce? No worries!
I myself am often time crunched too and so just yesterday I asked our Clean Cuisine Facebook Community if they had any recommendations for a taste-tested clean prepared BBQ sauce. The requirements were that the sauce not have refined sugar, refined oils, preservatives, undisclosed “natural flavors”, etc.
Although I have not yet had been able to taste-test it for myself, from a nutrition standpoint, the hands-down winner in the prepared sauce department would be Tesse Mae’s Organic BBQ Sauce.
Tesse Mae’s is the first prepared BBQ Sauce I have ever seen to use fiber-rich date puree as the sweetener. The ingredients in Tesse Mae’s all get a 5-star when it comes to being healthy and clean….
Ingredients in Tesse Mae’s Organic BBQ Sauce
Organic Date Puree (Organic Dates, Water, Organic Lemon Juice), Organic Tomato Paste (Organic Tomatoes, Salt), Organic Balsamic Vinegar, Water, Organic Mustard (Organic Vinegar, Water, Organic Mustard Seed, Sea Salt, Organic Turmeric, Organic Spices), Sea Salt, Organic Black Pepper, Organic Coconut Aminos, Organic Spices, Organic Onion Powder, Organic Garlic Powder
I was so excited to learn about Tesse Mae’s healthy BBQ Sauce that I had to order some right away! The only problem is, I could not find anywhere online to order just one bottle. I had to order an entire variety pack of eight 10-ounce sauces including: Dijon Mustard, Organic BBQ, Organic Cracked Pepper, Organic Balsamic, Organic Ketchup, Organic Lemon Garlic, Hot Buffalo Sauce, Southwest Ranch from Amazon. However, the entire Tesse Mae product line is clean and considering how crazy I am for sauces and condiments, I know I will put them all to good use.
Other than ordering direct from the company or Amazon, the only other place I know to buy Tesse Mae’s condiments is from Whole Foods Market. However, each store carries different products, so you are not guaranteed to get the BBQ sauce at your local store location (big bummer, I know…)
How to Buy the Cleanest Chicken
You can’t make a clean BBQ Chicken Recipe if you don’t have the best, healthiest chicken.
If you don’t know what you are looking for, it can be awfully confusing to try and figure out which natural, vegetarian, organic and free range chicken is the best. But here’s the deal: the number one thing you want to look for when buying a chicken is that it is pasture-raised. Natural and free range mean nothing. Chickens are not supposed to be vegetarians and organic doesn’t mean the chickens were raised eating organic healthy food. Pasture-raised is the only thing that really means anything.
For Thanksgiving I did an article talking about the 4 rules for buying a healthy turkey, but the same rules also apply to chicken. Here’s what you need to know about pasture-raised and about buying the healthiest / cleanest bird.
BBQ Chicken Appetizers
One more thing…you can also turn your BBQ Chicken Recipe into an appetizer simply by cutting the chicken and adding a toothpick. I made the BBQ Chicken appetizers in the photos below when I hosted the Go Red for Women BetterU Challenge Celebration at our house a few weeks ago and it was one of the most popular recipes on the buffet.
I mean, who doesn’t love BBQ Chicken?
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 pounds pasture-raised chicken thighs (trimmed of visible fat (Note: I like to use kitchen shears to trim the fat))
- 1 tablespoon crushed garlic
- Unrefined sea salt (to taste)
- Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
- 1 1/4 cups prepared Clean Cuisine BBQ Sauce (Note: see name brand suggestions for organic prepared BBQ Sauces in the article above)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Lightly oil the bottom of a large baking dish. Add the chicken to the dish and season with crushed garlic, salt and pepper. Use your hands to rub the garlic, salt and pepper all over each chicken thigh. Roast for 20 minutes.
- Remove the chicken from the oven and generously brush the BBQ sauce all over the thighs. Use a fork to flip the thighs over and brush the other side. Return the thighs to the oven and bake for 8 minutes.
- Remove the chicken from the oven and brush on more sauce. Return the chicken to the oven and bake for another 8 minutes.
- Turn the oven temperature up to 425 minutes. Remove the chicken from the oven and brush on more sauce. Return the chicken to the oven and bake for another 3 to 5 minutes, or until the sauce just begins to brown. Remove the chicken from the oven and let sit for at least 15 minutes before serving. Serve warm or cold.
Looking for More Everyday Healthy Dinner Recipes?
If you liked the Clean Shrimp and Grits Recipe, be sure to check out a full month’s menu of delicious healthy dinner recipes (including weekly shopping lists!) in our Clean Cuisine Dinners digital cookbook.