Bacon wrapped chicken has long been a cookout tradition at the Smith household here in Chicago. But, this is the first time we added beer into the concoction and it was the best batch of chicken skewers to date! Spicy, rich, sweet, tangy and salty, this easy recipe hits all the right notes. And everything is better on a stick, right?

 A home brew (of course) robust porter went into this recipe to compliment the brown sugar and deep flavor of the paprika, brown sugar and smokiness of the dry rub. The salt and fat of the bacon worked really well with all of these flavors too. The beer marinade made the chicken moist and tender, helping to prevent overcooking on the grill. Because who wants dry chicken? Not this kid.

Need help selecting a porter? BTL has you covered. We recommend the following readily available porters for this recipe: Founders Porter, Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter, Revolution EuGene or just good old Anchor Porter.

Remember! Soak your bamboo skewers for at least 30 minutes before grilling. Otherwise, they will go up in a puff of smoke in seconds and all your efforts will have been wasted. Also, if you don’t do bacon, go ahead and leave it off. Skewer the chicken with chunks of vegetables for kabobs, or leave the breasts whole on the grill. Feel free to replace the chicken breasts with thighs, wings, drumsticks, pork ribs, tenderloins, or hell, I’d even throw some kielbasa in here for a few hours and then throw it on the grill, just to see what would happen. I guarantee no one would be disappointed! I won't alienate my darling veggies out there either. Throw some of this on some seitan or tofu and you've got yourself dinner in no time.

I've included two recipes for you here: JJ's O-G-Q Rub (Original Gangster BBQ, so no one is confused) and the BBQ Chicken Skewers recipe that uses the rub.



JJ's O-G-Q Rub

This is a standard dry rub recipe I use on any type of meat that I’ll be grilling, especially chicken or pork. I don’t like my dry rub too sweet or too spicy. It has to have a balanced smokiness and a good amount of savory flavor.

Like most of everything I make, this is easily customizable to your tastes. Feel free to add what you like – some coriander for a citrusy zing? Maybe a little coffee and red pepper flakes? Perhaps ground ginger for extra heat? How about some ground herbs too – thyme? Rosemary? The possibilities are endless! Feel free to experiment and have fun with it. 

This recipe liberally seasons up to 5 pounds of meat. It’s rare I grill that much meat at one time, so I make the spice mixture and store it in a small, airtight jar to always have on hand during grilling season. 

1 ½ tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
½ tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
½ tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon ground cumin 
½ teaspoon ancho pepper or regular chili powder
A couple dashes cayenne pepper

Mix all ingredients in a small dry bowl and store in an airtight jar or container. This mixture is best used when applied at least one hour before cooking.


Bacon Wrapped BBQ Chicken Skewers

4 single chicken breasts
3 tablespoons JJ's O-G-Q Rub or your favorite BBQ seasoning
½ cup of robust porter
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 slices of thick cut smoked bacon, about ½ lb.
Bamboo skewers
1 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce, plus extra for dipping

Soak bamboo skewers in water for at least 30 minutes before grilling.

Cut the chicken breasts into ½ inch thick strips and season well with BBQ dry rub. Add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Add ½ cup of porter. Mix well and refrigerate up to 6 hours.

Thread a couple pieces of meat onto each skewer carefully. Wrap one strip of thick cut back around each skewer and secure at bottom and top.
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Preheat grill to medium-low. Because there is so much fat in the bacon, you don’t want it to just go up in a blaze of pork glory. Let the fat render out and baste the chicken at the same time, and it will all come together in a crispy BBQ glazed delight at the end.

Grill for 5 minutes on each side at first, then turn when grill marks are apparent on each side. When skewers are close to done (10-12 minutes), baste with your favorite BBQ sauce. I really like Famous Dave’s Rich & Sassy BBQ Sauce so that’s what I used here. Feel free to use what you love.

Let the BBQ sauce caramelize on both sides for 2-3 minutes and remove from the grill.

Let rest for 3-4 minutes before serving. Serve as desired. These are great at room temperature too!