Firecracker Chicken Recipe

Grilled Firecracker Chicken Recipe

Grilled Firecracker Chicken Recipe

Today I have a recipe for Grilled Firecracker Chicken that you’re gonna to love. It’s a simple recipe with tons of flavor and it only takes a few ingredients that are already in your pantry; I call this one Firecracker Chicken!

For this Firecracker Chicken recipe I use a whole chicken cut into 8 pieces (wings, breast, legs, & thighs). Most supermarkets have these prepackaged, but you can start with the whole bird and cut it up yourself. I prefer to have both white and dark meat for serving, but’s it’s ok to use just the pieces you like as well.

grilled firecracker chicken

First the Firecracker Chicken goes into a marinade, and for this, I use a big bottle of Frank’s Red Hot Sauce. Franks is a milder hot sauce but it has a garlic flavor that I really like.

You’ll need about 2 cups to cover the chicken and a little more for making the Firecracker Chicken sauce at the end, so reserve at least a ½ cup for later.

Place the chicken in a large ziplock bag and pour the hot sauce over it. Move the pieces around so each piece is covered in the marinade and get the bag into the refrigerator for an overnight rest. It’s also a good idea to place the bag into a larger container just in case it leaks.

grilled firecracker chicken

The next day remove the chicken pieces from the marinade and let the excess drip back into the bag. Place the chicken on a large platter and season the outside of each piece with Salt, plenty of course ground black pepper, and a little ground cayenne pepper. Be careful with the cayenne because it brings the heat!

grilled firecracker chicken

Now that the Firecracker Chicken is seasoned it’s ready for the grill. For this cook you want to set your grill up for indirect cooking.

I used my Big Green Egg with the deflector plate in place but you can do this on any grill just keep the heat on one side and cook on the opposite. The grill temperature needs to be in the 275-300 range.

You also want to use a little wood for added smoke flavor. For me it’s a couple chunks of pecan or your favorite wood will do the trick.Once the grill is holding steady at 275 arrange the chicken pieces skin-side up on the cooking grate and close the lid.

This cook takes about 2 hours, but the important thing here is to make sure the Firecracker Chicken is done. For the white meat that means 165 internal and the dark meat needs to hit 175. Larger pieces like the breast will take longer to cook, so don’t go by time alone when you’re cooking chicken. It’s always best to have a meat thermometer handy.

grilled firecracker chicken

For the first hour the Firecracker Chicken grills skin-side up. After an hour flip the chicken pieces over so the fat underneath the skin has a chance to render. It will also firm the skin so you get bite-through texture.

After 30 minutes of skin-side down cooking, flip the pieces back over. You’ll notice that the color is really looking good and some of the smaller pieces may even be done.

The breast and thighs still need more time, so it’s ok to remove the wings and legs if they temp out. Use your meat thermometer to verify proper doneness. Just place the smaller pieces in a pan and cover with aluminum foil until the big pieces are ready.

The breasts have to hit 165 internal and the thighs need to reach 175. You should see clear juice running out of the holes where you placed the thermometer. This is an indicator that the Firecracker Chicken is fully cooked. Now it’s time to set a quick glaze.

grilled firecracker chicken sauce

Firecracker Chicken Sauce:

  • ½ cup Brown Sugar
  • ½ cup Killer Hogs Hot Sauce (you can use Frank’s Hot Sauce)
  • 1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes

Combine these ingredients in a small bowl and stir until the sugar is melted.

At this point return the smaller pieces to the grill skin-side up. Brush the glaze on the skin and flip each piece over. Glaze the bottom side and close the lid for 2-3 minutes.

firecracker chicken

Flip the Firecracker Chicken over and set the glaze on the bottom side for an additional 2-3 minutes. Remove the chicken from the grill and serve. It’s that easy!

firecracker chicken

The Firecracker Chicken Glaze really makes this chicken pop and the heat level is just right.

You can tone back the cayenne pepper for the wimps but trust me it’s really not that hot at all.

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Firecracker Chicken

Grilled Firecracker Chicken Recipe


A simple recipe with tons of flavor and it only takes a few ingredients that are already in your pantry; I call this one Firecracker Chicken! And I use a whole chicken, but you could use any cut you like!


  • 1 whole chicken cut up into 8pcs
  • 2 cups hot sauce (Killer Hogs or Frank’s Red Hot)
  • 2 Tablespoons Kosher Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Cracked Black Pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Ground Cayenne Pepper

For the Fire Cracker Chicken Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Hot Sauce (Killer Hogs or Frank’s Red Hot)
  • 1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes


  1. Place chicken pieces in extra large ziplock bag and pour 2 cups of hot sauce over the chicken. Move the pieces around so everything is covered and place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours up to overnight.
  2. Prepare grill for indirect cooking at 275 degrees. Add a chunk of pecan wood for smoke flavor.
  3. Remove chicken from marinade and shake excess moisture off into the bag. Combine the Kosher salt, cracked black pepper, and cayenne pepper in a dredge shaker and season the outside of the chicken pieces.
  4. Place the chicken pieces on the grill skin side up for 1 hour, flip each piece over skin side down for 30 minutes to render the fat under the skin, then flip the pieces back over for 30 additional minutes or until and internal thermometer reads at least 165 degrees in the white meat and 175 in the dark meat.
  5. To make the glaze: combine the brown sugar, hot sauce, apple cider vinegar, salt, and crushed red pepper flakes in a small bowl. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and brush over the chicken on the grill.
  6. Glaze the chicken for 2-3 minutes on each side then remove from the grill and serve.

Keywords: firecracker chicken, grilled chicken, spicy chicken

Malcom Reed
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Firecracker Chicken

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12 responses to “Grilled Firecracker Chicken Recipe”

  1. bobby says:

    Sounds great, and now i am super hungry. Wright now i have pork-loin ¿ribs? In an electric. oven with McCormik memphis pit dry rub . itchin to do one of your recipies!.

    • Scott says:

      I fixed the firecracker chicken. It was pretty good. I was skimpy with the cayenne but will bump it up a little. I will defiantly fix it again.

    • Dean says:

      Hey, Malcom. Just tried this recipe. Holy smokes! Grand slam. Your website is my go to place for recipes. Keep up the good work. New fan in Kansas on the BGE.

      • Malcom Reed says:

        Firecracker chicken is a fave around here – thanks for checking out the recipes

        • Tony says:

          Don’t know why it took me so long to make this recipe. I’ve been a long time follower and have had many outstanding meals following your recipes. This one was no exception. It’s turned into a firecracker chicken summer here. Wife and neighbors love it. I did try something a bit different. Instead of Franks Sauce,I used Tiger Sauce, for the marinade. A bit sweeter with a touch of heat. Both are excellent. Thanks Malcom for all the great recipes, products and knowledge that you share. Have a great summer.

  2. Jeremy Hall says:

    Trying this recipe this weekend!!

  3. Kurt Schmitz says:

    This recipe is amazing! I use the glaze for wings too. I use a Traeger Tailgater Model and it makes this recipe a piece of cake

  4. Doug Robertson says:

    I love this recipe. I cooked a whole cut up chicken like Malcolm shows above. But then I like wings so yesterday I did this with just wings and it’s my favorite wing recipe now! Thank Malcolm!

  5. Luke says:

    Does the brown sugar sweetness stand out? We prefer spice over sweet…

    Also, my plan is to smoke these on my BGE the night before a tailgate. Would it be best to just baste the next day for the sauce to set once I re-heat on a normal propane grill in the parking lot?


  6. Tony says:

    Great recipe. Don’t know why it took me so long to try this. My wife and neighbors love it. I did try something a bit different. Instead of using Franks Sauce, I used Tiger Sauce. Kinda of a sweet heat. Also went over really well with everyone. It’s turned into a firecracker chicken summer here. Really appreciate your recipes, videos products and sharing your bbq knowledge with everyone. I’ve been following along and trying lots of your recipes. My favorite is the Porchetta sandwich. Ridiculously good. Have great summer Malcom.

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