Bourbon BBQ Chicken Skewers
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BBQ chicken skewers are tender, juicy, and easy to throw together at the last minute. Create mouthwatering flavor with just a few ingredients!
Chicken pieces are coated in a spicy bacon paste and brushed with a drunken barbecue sauce to create a flavor that is out of this world!
I know, I know – pureed bacon? Trust me, you’ll never want to make grilled chicken any other way after you try it.
The paste keeps the meat tender and moist, and you don’t have to worry about flare-ups from fat dripping off of strips.
In the mood for more skewers? Check out my Grilled Peach Basil Caprese Sausage Skewers!! They’re incredibly tasty and unique!
Love the bourbon BBQ sauce? Try my Jack Daniel’s Double Kick version next time. It’s got a sweet, smoky flavor with some extra heat from red chili peppers.
How To Make BBQ Chicken Skewers
First, whisk together the bourbon BBQ sauce and puree the bacon with sugar and spices.
Cut the meat into 1-inch pieces and pat dry with a paper towel. Don’t make them too small since they will shrink a bit when cooked.
Use your hands to coat the meat in bacon paste, pressing slightly to help it adhere to the surface. Then, slide the pieces onto the skewers. Be sure to leave space on each end so they are easier to flip.
Grill for a few minutes on each side, brushing on the sauce towards the end. Once they are done, let them rest on a platter while you bring the remaining sauce to a boil on the stove.
Serve with your favorite sides and enjoy!
Helpful Tips and Tricks
- Get a bolder flavor. If you have time, coat the chicken with the bacon puree and let it marinate in the refrigerator overnight.
- Don’t use cold meat! Poultry fresh out of the fridge tends to dry out and cook unevenly. Instead, let it warm on the counter for about 15 minutes before transferring to the grill.
- Soak your skewers. These should sit in water for an hour or so to prevent them from catching fire over the flames.
- Tip for alcohol-free alternative: Most of the alcohol will cook off between the grilling and boiling on the stove. However, you can omit the bourbon and vinegar altogether and just use the barbecue sauce by itself.
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FAQ – Common Recipe Questions
Can I make bourbon BBQ sauce ahead of time?
Absolutely! In fact, I like to make a big batch of my homemade recipe on a regular basis so I always have some on hand.
Mix everything together at once, or keep the base in the refrigerator for up to a month and add the bourbon and vinegar when you start this recipe.
What goes with BBQ chicken skewers?
You can’t go wrong with any of your favorite summer side dishes! These taste great with baked beans, potato salad, or grilled asparagus.
If it’s been a hectic day, you can easily throw together a green salad or some cut up fruit instead.
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Bourbon BBQ Chicken Skewers
- 16 ounces barbecue sauce, I used my homemade sauce
- 1/4 cup bourbon whiskey, I prefer Maker’s Mark
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 5 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1”x1” pieces
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh black pepper
- 1/4 cup sweet paprika
- 3 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 6 slices bacon, cut into small pieces (uncooked)
- 8 12 inch wooden skewers, soaked in water for an hour
- In a medium bowl combine barbecue sauce, vinegar and whiskey. Whisk to combine. Set aside and allow flavors to meld.
- Add bacon to the bowl of your food processor and blend until bacon becomes a paste. Add salt, pepper, paprikas, and sugar. Pulse until well combined.
- Pat chicken with a paper towel to dry. Add bacon paste mixture to chicken; mix with hands until chicken is completely coated. Place chicken on skewers.
- Place on preheated grill. Cook on each side for 2-3 minutes. Brush cooked surface with barbecue sauce and cook each side (coated in sauce) for 1 additional minute.
- Remove kebabs from grill. Pour remaining barbecue sauce into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Pour into a serving container and serve barbecue sauce along side kebabs. Enjoy!
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.
Recipe inspired by Cook’s Illustrated bacon paste.
Originally published June 2012, updated and republished May 2021
Disclosure: Posts may contain affiliate links. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link your price will remain the same and The Slow Roasted Italian will automatically receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting us, it helps us keep creating new recipes.
These are on my list of summer recipes to try! Looks SO good.
Thank you Valerie! They are amazing. A little extra work, but the payoff is huge.
Sounds and looks sooo good yummy…
Followed Exact – BUT…friend gave me some venison. Sapped out added the venison. Real nice. The flavors really complemented it.
It sounds good! I'll have to give this a try.
Oh how I love bbq/grilling season…these look amazing!! x
Thanks Caroline! We are really enjoying grilling so much. Although it is warming up quite a bit. I am hoping to continue!
Your first photo is the most beautiful picture of meat I have EVER seen! Awesome…
Thank you so much Julie! Chad was thrilled to read your comment. So happy you found us and hope to see you back again.
Those have to be the best kabobs I've ever seen!
Thanks so much Melissa! They are the best tasting ones I have ever had for sure. Chad just has this fabulous way of translating that into the lens.
I love this idea! They look so good!!! And I love me some Maker's Mark!
big job. recipe never tells you when to use the vinegar. i used less chicken. i used 6 slices of bacon. was a big messy job. wont even begin to tell you about when i put the bbq sauce in frig without lid and it fell over. what a mess. i put 7 pieces of chicken on each skewer. used my george forman type grill. was very good. a lot of work but i will make it again maybe.
Very first sentence after list of ingredients it tell you to combine barbeque sauce, vinegar and whiskey.
Anonymous If you are going to use less chicken than just use less bacon. The mess spilling it was because of you not putting a lid on the bowl than you wouldn't have had the problem.
Lol ahhhhh that's pretty funny…
Pin! Pin! Pin!
I can't stop myself from pinning this post 🙂
How about if I substitute paprika with chilly?
Say hi from our food network, please come visit us and share your recipes to our members, that will be awesome!
Is there a way to print out the recipe without the pictures?
You can get the printable recipe here http://theslowroasteditalian-printablerecipe.blogspot.com/2012/06/bacon-bourbon-barbeque-chicken-kabobs.html
Hope that helps! Enjoy.
And I like having the pictures so I have to do a copy and paste. 🙁
And I like having the pictures so I have to copy and paste. 🙁
Hi, I was just wondering about the bacon…the ingredients and instructions don't mention if this is cooked bacon or raw? I am thinking cooked…but since it isn't stated I am unsure.
Hi Maria! It is actually uncooked bacon that goes in the food processor to create the bacon paste. Enjoy!
I learned two recipes, one for the kebabs and one for the bacon paste. Even if I just grilled whole chicken thighs, wings or drumsticks, this paste will knock it up a notch! Bacon is an aphrodisiac to a southern woman like me. lol
Would it be a good idea if I marinated the bacon paste on the chicken overnight?
I haven't tried that but think it would be fabulous. The sauce would have a chance to really flavor the chicken. YUM. Enjoy and let me know how it goes.
Could I use something other than bourbon?
You can eliminate the bourbon and just use the BBQ sauce., Enjoy and let us know how it goes.
If you just add the bourbon to the mix that's used on the grill, the alcohol will cook out. Unless you don't want to have it in the house, which I certainly understand. 😉
I can seriously imagine how good this roasted chicken must have tasted.
I take it this paste can be used on whole chicken pieces instead of kabobs? Sounds YUMMY…Maker's Mark included. 🙂
Absolutely Karen! Enjoy and let us know how it goes.
Can this be cooked in a slow cooker?
I am going to say no Teresa, although I have never tried it. If you figure out a way to make that work please let us know, our readers would be thrilled. Enjoy and let us know how it goes!
I have to laugh, these are a huge hit every time I make them. We just decided yesterday to have them on Father's Day and there's a copy of the recipe on my kitchen counter. I open my email this morning, and there are the kabobs lol
That is funny, April!!! We are so happy you enjoy this recipe as much as we do!!
well looking delicious and I must try for today's dinner party.
How can I cook this without a grill? Time & temp in oven? I really want to make these this weekend but I don’t have a grill.
I saw on a sight to cook at 375 for 15-20 minutes and then finish with the broiler for about 5 minutes to get a nice finish on the sauce glaze.