BBQ Chicken Kebabs with a Spicy Bacon Rub

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BBQ Chicken Kebabs with a Spicy Bacon Rub

Slathering on a spicy bacon rub before grilling chicken kebabs not only gives them a wonderful smokey flavor, it also keeps the chicken moist and tender. 

Cook’s Illustrated sent me an email with a link to their Barbecued Chicken Kebabs recipe. What’s unique about their recipe is it’s smeared with spicy bacon paste before grilling.


The flavor of these kebabs was fantastic. Cook’s recommended using chicken thighs, but chicken breasts would have been much easier to cube and put on skewers.

I changed up the spices because I don’t like paprika. Also, Cook’s made their own barbecue sauce, but I took the easy way out and just used my favorite BBQ sauce. If you like to grill chicken, give this one a try.

Yield: 10-12 kebabs

BBQ Chicken Kebabs with a Spicy Bacon Rub

Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes


  • 3 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon lemon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 slices bacon, uncooked, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce
  • 10-12 12-inch metal skewers


  1. In a large Ziploc bag, mix chicken and salt and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 hour.
  2. Heat grill to high. While grill heats, pat chicken dry with paper towels.
  3. Pulse bacon in food processor until it forms a smooth paste, about 30 to 45 seconds, scraping down bowl occasionally.
  4. In a small bowl, mix together chili powder, lemon pepper and sugar. Add spices to bacon paste and mix well.
  5. Using your hands, coat chicken with spicy bacon paste. Thread chicken onto skewers.
  6. Place kebabs on grill and cook turning occasionally, until well browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. During the last few minutes of cooking, brush kebabs with BBQ sauce and continue to cook until brown in spots and instant-read thermometer inserted in center of meat registers 160 degrees for breasts and 175 degrees for thighs.
  7. Remove kebabs from grill and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve with additional BBQ sauce if desired.


Adapted from Cook's Illustrated

More BBQ recipes you might like:

Orange Teriyaki Chicken Kabobs, Barbara Bakes
Spicy Grilled Pork Tenderloin, Barbara Bakes
The Secret to Grilled Babyback Spare Ribs, Foodie Crush
Lemon Herb BBQ Chicken, Picky Palate
Grillin’ Recipe Contest Winners, The Pioneer Woman Cooks

BBQ-chicken-kabobs- collage -Barbara-Bakes

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