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Vinegar BBQ Chicken

The secret to juicy chicken? Is in the sauce. But this isn’t Fried Green Tomatoes honey–it’s vinegar BBQ chicken you can count on to turn out juicy and flavorful. And no matter how picky the eaters, it’s sure to please. 

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four chicken breasts on the grill

Well that’s exciting. Another picture of grilled chicken. Yeah…no.

I hear you. Stop that.

Because this chicken is 1: juicy 2: full of flavor 3: good 4: juicy 5: really good

It’s marinated in what we call a “Carolina barbecue sauce” which has a vinegar based sauce instead of a traditional tomato-base and I’d take it 10 times over the traditional.

a bowl of vinegar brine with chicken soaking

The secret here is in the brining process. Anytime you soak a meat in a salt mixture it allows the proteins to hang on to the moisture better (I’m saving you a big science lesson here so go with it) and keeps the meat from drying out.

Every time I serve this it gets tons of compliments and it’s my go-to for times when we have picky guests coming for dinner and I don’t know what to make. It’s always safe and fantastic.

a grilled chicken breast on a cookie sheet

Vinegar BBQ Chicken

The best vinegar based brine for juicy flavor-packed grilled chicken. It's true!
4.34 from 6 votes
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours
Servings: 5 people
Calories: 600kcal
Author: Rachel Ballard


  • 4 split chicken breasts bone and skin on
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes optional


  • Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Add the chicken and cover. Marinate in the refrigerator 4-6 hours if possible and up to 16 hours. Grill it to awesome perfection.


Calories: 600kcal

Note: You must really should use bone-in, skin on split chicken breasts for this for the best result. It takes a bit longer to cook but it’s worth it. You can peel the skin off when it’s done cooking but the fat helps protect the meat even more. No hacking on dry chicken in this house. Mix your sauce in the morning and drop in your chicken before you head out for the day and grill it when you get home. Several hours in the brine is fine.

Recipe Rating


Saturday 30th of October 2021

I know this is much later but just tried recipe in attempt to replicate local ruritans chicken...this is so good and so close..thanks for taking the time to reveal it!

Rachel Ballard

Sunday 31st of October 2021

Ruritan chicken is great stuff! I'm glad you enjoyed it! --Rachel


Wednesday 18th of November 2020

After marinating, do you add pepper or garlic to the chicken?

Rachel Ballard

Friday 20th of November 2020

No Tom, there's really no need. Sometimes I'll put a few extra red pepper flakes on there, but the chicken is great right out of the brine. --Rachel


Saturday 19th of September 2020

What temp and time for a smoked version?

Rachel Ballard

Saturday 19th of September 2020

Nicky I wouldn't have the slightest idea. I only grill these. --Rachel


Monday 10th of February 2020

Will a gas grill work?

Rachel Ballard

Tuesday 11th of February 2020

Sure will. I don't think gas has the same grill flavor but it works just fine! --Rachel


Tuesday 22nd of January 2019

Can I bake the chicken in the oven.

Rachel Ballard

Wednesday 23rd of January 2019

Hey Carl, well...this is meant to be a recipe for the barbecue and while the flavor would probably be okay, you wouldn't get the nice charred skin that comes from the grill. I'd say you had better wait for the grill. --Rachel

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