Skillet Barbecue Chicken

Barbecue chicken

Growing up my Dad put barbecue sauce on everything, and I mean EVERYTHING! Ever my Father’s daughter, I love barbecue sauce. Now that I realize how easy it is to make I don’t think I’ll be going back to the pre-packaged varieties. I really hate how the ingredients say “smoke flavor”, natural flavorings, and preservatives. What is “smoke flavor”?

This particular recipe for barbecue sauce comes from The American Heritage Cookbook, which is a compilation of historical recipes by the editors of “American Heritage, the Magazine of History.” I found this out-of-print gem at the Strands Bookstore in New York City when my fiancé and I were there with his family for Thanksgiving. The American Heritage Cookbook pulls its recipes from historical cookbooks, letters, records and other primary sources. It is just divine!

With the barbecue chicken I also made lemon-garlic Swiss chard from Cooking Light (recipe below)and Northern Johnny Cake. I’ll post the Northern Johnny Cake recipe tomorrow!

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Skillet Barbecue Chicken

  • Author: American Heritage Cookbook
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: Serves 4-6 1x


An easy from-scratch barbecue chicken! 


  • 26 skinless, boneless Chicken Breasts (Use as many or as few as you like, you will just have extra sauce!)
  • 1 can tomatoes (1 pound, 3 ounce size)
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • ½ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ cup vinegar (I used white wine, but I think cider would also work)
  • ½ teaspoon salt (original 1 teaspoon)
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • Dash cayenne (a really small pinch)
  • ¼ teaspoon dry mustard


  1. Pour tomatoes into a medium saucepan, breaking up the large chunks with a fork. Add all remaining ingredients, cook to boil, then reduce heat, and simmer on low for about 45 minutes. The recipe looked a little chunky to be barbecue sauces so I pureed it in a blender until smooth.
  2. In the last 30 minutes of simmering preheat the oven to 400° and prepare the Johnny Cake. Sear chicken over medium-high heat in an oven-proof cast iron skillet or pan. Spoon a generous amount of sauce over all chicken breasts lifting up the breasts to make sure the underside is also coated. Place chicken in oven and cook until a thermometer reads 170° or the chicken is no longer pink on the inside.
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 45
  • Category: Desserts

In the last few minutes of cooking prepare the Swiss chard.

Lemon-Garlic Swiss Chard – Cooking Light (Jan/Feb 2013 Issue)

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 12 cups Swiss chard (chopped , large stalks removed)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 ½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 teaspoons shaved fresh Parmesan cheese

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute garlic for 2 minutes or until garlic is just starting to brown. Add Swiss chard and 2 tablespoons of water to the pan; cook 3 minutes or until chard wilts. Stir in lemon juice and pepper. Sprinkle with cheese and serve immediately.

The barbecue sauce was a nice vinegar-based sauce and, while I loved it, my fiancé said it is no KC Masterpiece. How can I compete with fake “smoke flavor”?!


  • Heather
    March 7, 2013 at 10:11 am

    I’d been wanting to try a homemade bbq sauce recipe! I will definitely have to give this a try. Does the American Heritage Cookbook have a homemade ketchup recipe?

  • Lindsey
    March 7, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    It doesn’t but The American Woman’s Cookbook has one for “Cold Tomato Catchup” that was used in General Washington’s kitchen! I’ll have to put that on the docket. I also have another BBQ recipe that doesn’t use any ketchup, which I will be posting soon.

  • […] ← Previous […]

  • Susan Brown
    March 9, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    Where is the “Like” button?

    • Lindsey
      March 10, 2013 at 12:36 pm

      That is an excellent question! I think that I need to create a Facebook Page specifically for my blog. I’ll do that this week and keep you posted! Thanks for the great suggestion, Susan!

  • […] Dad is going to be very jealous because the only thing he loves more than barbeque sauce is hot fudge smothered vanilla ice cream. Not on the menu? Doesn’t matter, he’ll ask anyway. […]

  • John Varrato
    April 20, 2013 at 7:57 pm

    Most etymologists believe that barbecue derives from the word barabicu found in the language of the Taíno people of the Caribbean and the Timucua of Florida, and entered European languages in the form barbacoa. The word translates as “sacred fire pit.”*

    • Lindsey
      April 20, 2013 at 10:20 pm

      Facinating! Thanks for the trivia tidbit 🙂

  • chief bbq smoker
    April 26, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    Hey there! I’ve been reading your site for some time now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Porter Tx! Just wanted to tell you keep up the excellent job!

    • Lindsey
      February 12, 2014 at 10:42 pm

      I can’t believe I missed your comment! I’m so sorry! I hope you are still with me from TX!

  • […] maple, molasses and chipotle chilies create a veritable flavor explosion! If you read my previous Barbecued Chicken post several months ago, my enthusiasm should be no […]

  • darien
    February 7, 2014 at 7:44 pm

    hi from berrigan australia ,just found your site today .tonight i’ll be making the skillet barbeque chicken .sounds too good not to make for our mob (family) thankyou for the great website ,it’s a great pleasure to read

    • Lindsey
      February 7, 2014 at 10:16 pm

      I’m so glad you found me! Welcome! Let me know how you like it!

      • Darien
        February 12, 2014 at 8:06 pm

        great recipe ,my wife would not beleive me i just thought it up ,kind regards Darien

        • Lindsey
          February 12, 2014 at 10:43 pm

          Lol! I’m glad you both enjoyed it!

  • SmokinBackYardsBBQ
    January 8, 2018 at 7:21 am

    We are certernly give this one a go…Thank you!


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