Bacon Bourbon BBQ Chicken Kebabs

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Bacon Bourbon BBQ Chicken Kebabs.  Probably the best grilled recipe EVER. |

You want bacon recipes?  I’ve got twenty.  But who cares?  No big deal.  I want mooooooooore…

Bacon Bourbon BBQ Chicken Kebabs.  Probably the best grilled recipe EVER. |

I once thought that recipes including bacon were pretty straight forward.  You’d just fry up some meaty goodness in its own fat, crumble it up if you’d like, and mix it in.  Then I found out about Bacon Jam, and then about using bacon grease in soups, and most recently, Bacon Paste.  It’s a whole new world.  (I’m just brimming with Disney references today.)

Bacon Bourbon BBQ Chicken Kebabs.  Probably the best grilled recipe EVER. |

Bacon Paste sounds… eh… interesting to say the least, I know.  When I first read about it, I imagined it coming out of a squeeze bottle and spread on toast, or something like that.  But don’t worry, that is not the case!

Bacon Bourbon BBQ Chicken Kebabs.  Probably the best grilled recipe EVER. |

Instead, to make Bacon Paste, we combine bacon and a bunch of our favorite spices in a food processor and then spread that stuff all over some chicken thighs before grilling them up.  It’s even better than you’re imagining.

Bacon Bourbon BBQ Chicken Kebabs.  Probably the best grilled recipe EVER. |

No, really.  The bacon adds so much flavor and juiciness to the chicken, and when topped off with a little bourbon-infused barbecue sauce, there’s nothing better.  My family demands that I make these again– not just once, but all summer long– because they are that good.  They won’t have to ask me twice.

When you make them, don’t forget to take a photo and tag #hostthetoast on Instagram so I can see your bacon-y creations!

Bacon Bourbon BBQ Chicken Kebabs.  Probably the best grilled recipe EVER. |

I think these kebabs would be perfect for Memorial Day, Father’s Day, Fourth of July… any holiday where you can grill… pool parties… graduation parties… Mondays… I mean just make up reasons to make these if you have to.  You need to try them.

Bacon Bourbon BBQ Chicken Kebabs
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe slightly adapted from The Slow Roasted Italian
  • 16 oz barbecue sauce
  • ¼ cup bourbon
  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1" pieces
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 3 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 6 slices raw bacon, cut into small pieces
  1. Light the grill and heat to medium-high
  2. In a small bowl, combine the BBQ sauce and bourbon. Mix well.
  3. In a food processor, combine the kosher salt, white pepper, onion powder, paprika, garlic powder, dark brown sugar, smoked paprika, and bacon. Pulse until completely smooth.
  4. Put the chicken thigh pieces in a bowl and then rub with the bacon paste. Once well-coated, thread the chicken thigh pieces onto skewers (pre-soaked, if they're wooden).
  5. Place the kebabs on the preheated grill. Cook for about 5 minutes per side, or until nearly cooked through.
  6. Brush the kebabs with the bourbon barbecue sauce and cook for an additional minute on each side.
  7. Serve with the remaining BBQ sauce.
You will have plenty of leftover BBQ sauce to serve the skewers with, and then some. If you’d prefer not to have leftover sauce, you can reduce the amount of BBQ sauce by half and have just enough.



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  1. says

    Made these yesterday, they were the hit of the party… I added Sriracha to the BBQ sauce to give a little kick.
    Great recipe – thank you!

  2. magda says

    just made these tonight on a beautiful early evening in Chippawa, ON. Turned out fantastic, but I found I have wayyyyyyy too much left over sauce! Can save it and use it up another time I guess, but the skewers were delicious! Thank you again!

    • says

      I’m glad you enjoyed them, and sorry about the extra sauce! I did use a ton for the recipe because my family loves BBQ sauce and I wanted everyone to have plenty to spoon onto their plates and have with our skewers and fries I made on the side, but I should note for everyone else reading that you would be fine reducing the BBQ sauce ingredients by half! Sorry for not clarifying that earlier.
      Thanks for commenting, Magda!

    • says

      2 lbs of boneless skinless chicken thighs should be enough for 6 skewers. If you’re looking per-person, I’d bank on everyone eating 2 skewers, so this recipe will serve 3 people. If you’d like to double the recipe, don’t worry about increasing the amount of BBQ sauce– there is plenty for 2 batches!

      • Willene Biere says

        Made it tonight for 4th of July, my husband won’t stop raving about it. Very easy to make, I put the paste on the chicken early and let marinate for about a hour or so.

      • Rachel says

        Can these skewers be frozen after cooking? I like to make my meals for the week on Sundays and then freeze them….

  3. Angie D says

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! It’s incredible. My husband is not keen on new recipes (he likes tried and true recipes) but he’s in love with this! We have no leftovers it was such a hit. To top it off, it was easy to make and can be served with any number of side dishes (I served it with a rice & corn salad). YUM! Can’t wait to make it again and again.

  4. Laura says

    I am very eager to try this recipe, but I’m just wondering what kind of BBQ sauce you used. There are so many different variations, I don’t want to try the wrong one! Thanks!

    • says

      I used Sweet Baby Ray’s Hickory and Brown Sugar, I believe. However, whatever your favorite BBQ sauce is should be perfectly fine =)

    • says

      If you have a good blender it will be able to turn the bacon into a paste! Cheaper blenders will be more difficult (I have a cheap blender at home that I’ve been meaning to replace, sigh) but you should be able to make it work.

  5. Michele Kennedy says

    Just a funny question… How did you get the paste to stick to the chicken?
    I made the recipe exactly as posted and the bacon paste looked great but, I could not get it to stick to the chicken. I was left with a bunch of paste just falling off or left in the bowl.

    • says

      Sorry to hear you had problems with the paste. One thing I can think of is that maybe your paste wasn’t pureed enough? The mixture should be really thick, you really have to try to rub it all over the chicken and smush it on. There will be clumpy parts, but it should stick. By any chance, did you use a leaner bacon, like turkey bacon for example?

      • Alina says

        I don’t have bourbon. If I don’t put it in the paste do I need to substitute it for something else?

        • says

          Not at all! Of course, you won’t get the bourbon flavor, but the bacon and smokiness of the spices combined with the BBQ sauce is plenty of flavor without it.

        • says

          I’ve never tried it with turkey bacon, Jessica, but if you try it please let me know how it goes. I am concerned that it may not adhere because it’s dryer, but adding just a little bit of water might actually help if you’re having issues getting it to work.

  6. ezekiel says

    Gonna try this tonight. Noticed you didn’t mention what to do with the garlic powder, guessing it goes with the bacon paste.

    • says

      You’re totally right, Ezekiel, that was a typo on my part. Thanks for letting me know, I will fix it now! I hope you enjoyed the Bacon Bourbon BBQ Chicken Kebabs!

      • ezekiel says

        They turned out great, just like the 15 or so other recipes I’ve tried of yours. I broiled them in the oven instead of the grill, otherwise still really good.

  7. Anad says

    Hello there!
    I have a question- I am not grill savvy… is there any chance I can through this bad boy into the oven?

    • says

      You can heat the broiler to high and make the chicken pretty much the same way! Just make sure you have it on a broiler pan if you have one, and turn to cook evenly =)

  8. Ross says

    I have a question, I have made these a few times and they are great!!!! But I would like to know if there is a better way of getting the bacaon past on the chicken/ keeping it on the chicken better????

    • says

      I made these great flavor glad I wasn’t the only one who could not get bacon paste to stay on chicken. Wonder about better way and is was puréed enough.

  9. Linda says

    I love the idea of this recipe but I am concerned with the last line. I would not serve any leftover sauce since it has raw bacon in it. I would however save it for another recipe and use it within a week. I can’t wait to try it! Thanks………..

    • says

      In the last line, I’m talking about serving the leftover BBQ sauce, not the bacon paste =) I hope you enjoy it when you give it a go, Linda!

      • Linda says

        Thanks for the clarification. I don’t know why I read it as meaning the bacon paste the first time?????

  10. Joe says

    Hey Morgan,

    Thanks for the recipe, these were awesome! Fantastic picture documentation:

    I do have a question though. I purchased a food processor due entirely to your recipes (Chicken Parm meatballs and this one) and yesterday was my first time using it. When I was making the bacon paste, what do you mean by smooth? I imagined this becoming a paste similar to, well a paste that could be spread. What I got was like paste, but it was very thick and very difficult to spread. It was what I imagine chunky bacon peanut butter would behave like. I then realized there was no liquid in the bacon paste recipe so I am not sure what to make of this. Should I have just continued pulsing the appliance? Did I throw in the towel to early? I certainly used the mixture on my chicken but I lost a lot of it on the grill. I kinda just slapped it on the chicken in lumps and hoped the heat would bond it all together. I am not well versed on the heat properties of food and how they behave. My theory did not entirely work and I feel there must be a better way. Any help and lessons you can share would be greatly appreciated.

    On the other hand, those chicken parm meatballs were dope AF and I will certainly be making them again. Never thought I could make stuffed anything and I knocked that one out of the park. Thanks for the inspiration and developing my skills in the kitchen.


    • says

      I love the snapchat screenshot, Joe! Haha.

      I guess “smooth” wouldn’t be the perfect way to describe the paste– it is somewhat chunky/thick but should still be sticky, evenly mixed, and relatively smooth enough to coat the chicken with. It does take a while through the food processor for it to be a consistency where it won’t entirely fall off the chicken while grilling. The bacon paste also does need to be kind of smushed onto the chicken so that it stays. That being said, you should expect to lose a little. If you lost a lot of it on the grill, I’d say it likely wasn’t processed enough. If your bacon isn’t as fatty, it also will be more difficult to adhere– try adding just a tiny bit of oil to the mixture while processing if you have the same problem in the future. I hope those tips work for you in the future, and I’m sorry that you had difficulty with these (although it seems that you still liked them, which I’m glad to hear!)

      Also, yay for Chicken Parm Meatballs! Happy you enjoyed them! =)

  11. says

    Oh my gosh, I am literally drooling at this recipe. Bacon – Chicken – and Bourbon BBQ !!! It’s on next weeks to do list. I hope it’s OK if I share this link on our social pages.

  12. Victoria says

    I was wondering if you’ve tried this on any other meats? I was thinking of using it for hamburgers, do you think it would work? Thanks in advance!!

    • says

      I haven’t tried it on other meats. I don’t know if you could really rub the bacon paste on the hamburger, per say, because an uncooked hamburger is soft and smushy, but maybe patting it on (until it kind of becomes the thin outside layer of the burger patty) would work. If you give it a go, please let me know how it turns out for you!

      • Victoria says

        Ok awesome…thanks so much! Probably try it this weekend and do a couple with it on the outside and maybe mix some into the beef and see which works best, I’ll update you and let you know!

  13. Chris McG says

    Absolutely loved this recipe and so glad I found it. Thank you! Only amendment I made was adding a 1/4 cup of water to the bacon paste to make it just a little bit more manageable as I made a big mess before :-)

  14. Elizabeth says

    Bacon + bourbon are two of my favorites, so I had high hopes for this recipe. Tried this tonight and it was a definite keeper. Thank you so much – it’s so great to find a recipe on Pinterest that actually works…and such a unique preparation!

  15. Jason says

    Has anyone tried preparing this the night before and putting the kabobs in the marinade in the refrigerator overnight until ready to grill? Would that work?

  16. Matt Lavoie says

    I’ve made this twice now – once for myself and girlfriend and once for a BBQ with my friends. Everyone was so impressed with it! For the bourbon sauce I used Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey Whiskey mixed with Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce. Thanks!

  17. Jonathan says

    How to cut the chicken so it could fit that way? I usually cut the chicken into cubes and it won’t fit nicely like in the picture.. helpp! :(

    • says

      I cut mine into small cubes, too! Once they are coated in the bacon paste and smushed together on the skewer, it should look like mine. Just really squish ’em all together =)

  18. Cynthia says

    Made these for our New Year’s Eve party and they were a BIG hit! I broiled them in the oven and they turned out great. Love your website. Going to try more recipes! :-)

    • says

      Thanks for commenting, Cynthia, I am so happy that the recipes you made went over so well on NYE! I hope you enjoy the next recipes you try just as much, and have a wonderful 2015!

  19. says

    Good recipe – I used about 1/2 of the soy sauce and used the light kind. The sauce didn’t thicken like I thought it would, so next time I will try cornstarch. My picky eater even enjoyed it.

  20. says

    Deliciously-flavourful kebabs. Everything worked nicely and this was enjoyed for Sunday lunch along with cole slaw, pita bread and tzatziki.

  21. Ruby says

    2 lbs fed hubby, Great Dane and I
    This is a keeper, and will be served to company, and I will even make it for the family in Italy the next time I go there.
    Paste came out perfect. Stayed on thighs.
    Speaking of thighs this is the first time I’ve ever used them and I am now a believer and will be making many other recipes using thighs because of this. Mine came out exactly like your picture but soft and juicy also absolutely wonderful flavor.
    Served with yellow rice plus frozen green peas poached in olive oil with cubes of Capicola ham.
    OH, and Pinot Grigio.
    Thank you.

  22. Marlene says

    i used your sauce on pork tenderloin (oven baked) and it was amazing!, lots of compliments and hints for the recipe! Thanks!

  23. Cassie says

    These are AMAZING! I’ve made them twice and we just love them.
    A tip though, I found it way easier to thread the chicken first, and then put on the bacon paste. Way way easier! Thanks for the amazing recipe.

  24. LND says

    Is it possible to make this the night before (sans kebab sticks) and it still come out tasting great? I have a plan for using this for poker night but like to get prep work done the night before if possible.

  25. Richard says

    Made these yesterday to marinate them overnight and they turned out awesomely.
    I changed the bacon to pancetta and used a sweet/chipolte spiced bbq with whisky (was out of bourbon), the skewers went on the BBQ and turned out to a tender, sweet, salty, spicy goodyness.

    These will a regular on my BBQ party’s. Thankx!

  26. Bill says

    I had the same problem with the past not wanting to cover the chicken. I think the fat base of the bacon past is the reason it does not want to stick I “smushed ” it on and it came out great but felt that there was not enough bacon paste adhering. The second time I made it, I added some bbq sauce until I had a slightly thinner consistency and then dredged the chicken in it. It worked perfect. Because of the short grilling time needed, I did not have to worry about the sauce causing the coating to burn. I am going to bacon paste up a slab of freshly caught grouper next!


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