It’s summer, it’s warm, it’s beautiful out and I had an intense craving for barbecued chicken. Of course, it helps that I live with a top ranked, world famous barbecue expert.  Yes, that would be my partner in this pandemonium called life, but I digress.  So, we set forth to create a scrumptious barbecued chicken.  I’ll be honest, I’m not a fan of heavy, spice dense, smoky barbecue.  I like my food to be light, pleasant, with flavor that awakens the mind and palate.  I believe that heavy foods corrupt our sensibilities and hence, cause us to make poor decisions like watching reality TV and ordering fast food five days a week.  I want to feel satiated after a meal, not over stuffed with something that tastes like MSG, butter, and wood chips.  However, I do like a nice spice rub and of course, barbecue sauce.  The sauce we created is simple, sweet yet savory with a little uncomplicated bite of tartness. Enough of trying to sell this recipe.  Try it and see for yourself.


First, I like chicken legs for barbecue.  While breast is good too, it doesn’t lend itself well to low and slow cooking and will often dry out.  Darker meats like legs and thighs hold up much better and remain juicy and tender throughout the cooking process.


Second, you need a good spice rub to get things started.  Don’t worry, I will add the measurements in the actual recipe below.

Grilled Chicken with Apple Barbecue Sauce

  • Servings: 4
  • Print

8 chicken legs, skins removed

For rub:

1/2 tablespoon sea salt flakes, we use Maldon

1 teaspoon dried marjoram

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon mustard powder

1/2 teaspoon mild chili powder (you can add a spicier variety if you wish)

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

For barbecue sauce:

1 cup ketchup

1/3 cup apple jelly (not apple butter, but actual jelly)

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon allspice

Prepare sauce beforehand.  In a small sauce pan over medium heat, lightly simmer ketchup and apple jelly until jelly has melted through.  Reduce heat to medium low, add cider vinegar and simmer for additional 1-2 minutes.  Add remaining ingredients, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.  You can store in refrigerator if making a day in advance. However, warm the sauce for 1 minute or so in the microwave before using.


Preheat grill for high heat. Remove skin from chicken legs. Yes, we do this to not only to reduce calories, but to apply the seasoning right on the meat.  Make two medium cuts into the drumsticks, nearly to the bone.  Pat legs dry with paper towels.


Combine rub ingredients and apply on all sides of chicken legs.


Reduce heat on grill to low and put chicken onto grill grate.  Cook chicken for about 40-45 minutes, turning occasionally.


During the last 10 minutes, begin applying the sauce.  Apply, cook for 2 minutes, turn and apply sauce to other side, cook for another 2 minutes before repeating process.  Do this at least 4 times to generate a nice sweet, sticky coating on the chicken legs.  Keep a close eye as the sugar content in the sauce cause flare-ups.


Once chicken has reached an internal temperature of 175 degrees, remove from heat. Remember to test several pieces as they can vary in thickness and not all of them have reached a safe serving temperature.  Place chicken on platter, tent with aluminum foil, let stand for 5 minutes of so and serve.  Enjoy!

All photos on this site were taken by Sabrina S. Baksh and is property of Food as a Metaphor/Regarding BBQ, Inc.


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