Adding Some Spice To Your Barbecue Chicken Recipes

in General Outdoor Advice

One of the things which is sometimes missing when cooking meat on the barbecue is complexity of flavor. It’s great to hear that sizzle when you drop a nice steak or piece of chicken onto the grill, and knowing that you are going to get a wonderful char-grilled flavor. But occasionally, it’s also nice to make a change and do some preparation away from the flame. Marinating your meat in different ways for a few hours before all your friends turn up for a “barbie” is an epic way to spice things up. The only problem is that your friends may never want to leave!

Here are a few ideas to get your barbecue chicken recipes chirping with extra flavor, and they are very easy to put into action. You can use nice large quartered chicken pieces, or legs or quick-cooking chicken wings. Just remember to make sure the chicken is fully cooked all the way through before serving. Use a skewer to pierce the meat and check that the juices run clear.

1. Spicy Cajun Chicken

For a really quick and simple marinade for your chicken pieces before dropping them onto the grill, get a large Ziploc bag or freezer bag and put your pieces in, along with some Cajun spice mix. There are many different recipes which call themselves a Cajun spice rub, and you might even have your own family recipe, but for simplicity you can usually just buy a ready-mixed one from the grocery store. Add enough spice mix to the chicken in the bag to ensure a good coating, and add some oil before leaving to marinate for an hour or two.

When it’s time to barbecue, just place the chicken skin-side down on the grill and cook until almost done. While the meat is cooking, get some melted butter and add an equal amount of your favorite hot pepper sauce. The one I like to use is Frank’s Red Hot Wings Sauce as it is mildly hot but not overpowering. Brush the buttery pepper sauce over the chicken pieces and finish cooking. Hot and delicious! And if you are not very keen on hot spicy food, just leave a few pieces cooking with only the Cajun mix and they will be less firey but equally tasty.

2. West Indian Jerk Chicken

For a sweeter and hotter alternative to the Cajun recipe, you could offer your guests some jerk chicken. You will need a few extra fresh ingredients for this:

  • Jerk spice mixture (enough to coat the chicken) – you can usually buy this ready-made from the grocery store
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1 inch cube of fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 Scotch bonnet chili peppers, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tbsp freshly chopped cilantro
  • 2 scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive (or vegetable) oil
  • 1 tbsp runny honey

You can take all the fresh ingredients and chop them individually, or if you have a food processor, just drop them all in and whizz them up until they form a nice paste.

Put the chicken pieces and the spicy paste into a new Ziploc bag and leave to marinate for a couple of hours in the fridge.

Then, when you are ready to barbecue, just cook them as for the Cajun recipe, making sure the chicken is cooked through before serving. If you love your barbecue chicken really hot and spicy, you can add extra buttery pepper sauce during cooking, but remember that these jerk chicken pieces already have cayenne pepper in the jerk spice mix and you have marinated and coated them in hot West Indian chilies – for most people, that’ll be enough.

When you have lots of guests around for a party, why not try out some of these recipes so your friends can have a choice. There’s no reason you shouldn’t also serve beautifully seasoned chicken with just salt and pepper too. But it is great fun to add some really robust flavors while grilling outdoors; enough to get all the neighbors wishing they were on the invite list.

For more ways to spice up your cookery, indoors and out, why not visit Neil’s blog at

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