Bacon Bourbon Grilled BBQ Chicken Skewers Recipe

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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! New recipes like this are the best – and all you need are simple ingredients! 

titled collage for bourbon chicken skewers


These are always a big hit anytime that I make them!

The tender chicken is the best thing to make during the summer grilling season, and I love how you can really pack on the extra flavor, too. 

BBQ chicken kebabs are fast, simple, and perfect for Memorial Day BBQ’s and gatherings.

I love to cook them on the charcoal grill over an open flame, but the cooking process can be pretty versatile for these juicy BBQ chicken skewers. 

If this is the first time that you’re making this chicken recipe, you’re going to be hooked.

I like to sometimes change things up and add red onions and bell peppers to the metal skewers but that’s really up to you. 

You can also change the flavor by adding soy sauce, olive oil, a brown sugar mixture, lime juice or lemon juice, fresh herbs, or anything else that you want to add tho this simple barbecue chicken recipe. 

You can make the best chicken kabobs any way that you want! It’s your perfect recipe to create so have a little bit of fun with it! The entire family will love the flavor. 

Bourbon BBQ Chicken Skewers ingredients

BBQ Chicken Skewers

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.

bacon paste in food processor

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Chicken – Breast meat works best for skewers since it can be sliced into uniform pieces. This ensures that your BBQ chicken kabobs are evenly cooked.
  • Barbecue sauce – I like to use my homemade version for bourbon BBQ chicken, but feel free to use your favorite!
  • Bourbon – Maker’s Mark is my preferred brand.
  • Spices – A combination of sweet and smoked paprika, plus salt and black pepper, are all you need to add to the sauce. 

    You can easily swap the smoked paprika for more of the sweet variety if you prefer less heat.
Seasoned bacon paste in food processor bowl

Cooking BBQ Chicken Kabobs Without A Grill

There’s nothing worse than heading outside to fire up the grill, only to see rain clouds rolling in! Or you may not own an outdoor grill to begin with!

Don’t worry, you can easily change course and still enjoy this grilled bourbon chicken for dinner.

  • Use a grill pan

    Either a stovetop or electric countertop grill will work! 

    Follow the recipe as directed, checking the internal temperature of the bourbon BBQ chicken to ensure it’s done.

    Keep in mind that things can get a bit smoky with this method, so turn on your exhaust fan or crack a few windows!
  • Use the broiler 

    Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil while you heat your broiler to High. 

    Place the BBQ chicken kabobs on the pan and broil for 10-15 minutes, turning every 5 minutes until cooked through.

    Finally, brush extra sauce on both sides and broil for an additional 1-2 minutes, until caramelized.
bbq chicken skewers on grill

Tips for Making Bourbon BBQ Chicken

  • 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 your BBQ chicken skewers 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.
  • Check the temperature. Ensure your grilled bourbon chicken is done with a digital meat thermometer.

    Chicken is done when it reaches an internal temp of 165°F.
  • 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.

Bourbon Grilled Chicken FAQ

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! Bourbon grilled chicken tastes great with baked beanspotato salad, or grilled asparagus.

If it’s been a hectic day, you can easily throw together a green salad or cut up some fruit instead.

With love, from our simple kitchen to yours.

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bourbon bbq chicken, close up

bourbon chicken skewers

Bacon Bourbon Grilled BBQ Chicken Skewers Recipe

Donna Elick
BBQ chicken skewers are tender, juicy, and easy to throw together at the last minute. Create mouthwatering flavor with just a few ingredients!
4.50 stars from 2 reviews
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Total Time 16 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine American
Method Food Processor, Grill
Servings 8


  • 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!


Serving: 1 | Calories: 476cal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 61g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 182mg | Sodium: 1500mg | Sugar: 24g | Fiber: 2g | Calcium: 48mg | Iron: 2mg

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.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
titled image for Bourbon BBQ Chicken Skewers

Originally published June 2012, updated and republished April 2024

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    1. Followed Exact – BUT…friend gave me some venison. Sapped out added the venison. Real nice. The flavors really complemented it.


    1. Thanks Caroline! We are really enjoying grilling so much. Although it is warming up quite a bit. I am hoping to continue!

    1. Thank you so much Julie! Chad was thrilled to read your comment. So happy you found us and hope to see you back again.

    1. 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.

  1. 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.

    1. Very first sentence after list of ingredients it tell you to combine barbeque sauce, vinegar and whiskey.

    2. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

    1. Hi Maria! It is actually uncooked bacon that goes in the food processor to create the bacon paste. Enjoy!

  4. 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

    1. 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.

    1. 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. 😉

  5. I take it this paste can be used on whole chicken pieces instead of kabobs? Sounds YUMMY…Maker's Mark included. 🙂

    1. 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!

  6. 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

  7. 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.

    1. 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.

  8. 4 stars
    I have tried this recipe twice. The first time it was perfect and delicious and the second time not so much. The second time I believe the bacon was more lean and caused the paste to be too thick and clumpy. Is there a way to thin the paste and have it coat the chicken more evenly?

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