Apple Barbecue Grilled Chicken

The end of summer means back to school, cooler nights (and hopefully cooler days), and transitioning to fall foods. To celebrate the unofficial end of summer I grilled chicken and topped it with a chunky apple barbecue sauce to welcome fall.

Inspired by a dish that a chain restaurant used to serve in the fall (they may still serve it, but there are not any in the area where I live now), I developed a version of the chunky apple barbecue sauce using a couple of different types of apples so that some of the apples would retain their shape while others became more integrated into the sauce.

Apple Barbecue Grilled Chicken

I was a little too enthusiastic about mashing the apples for the sauce this time, so there are not as many apple chunks as I would have liked. In order to have apple chunks after cooking the apples, I use a couple of different varieties/types of apples. I combine a sweeter, softer apples with more tart, crisper apples that will hold their shape. If you would rather have a smoother sauce, just mash or blend it more to reach the desired consistency and use more (or only use) sweeter, softer apples.


Recipe: Apple Barbecue Sauce


  • 1 – 2 firm, tart apples (like Granny Smith, etc.)
  • 2 softer, sweet apples (like Golden Delicious, etc.)
  • 3/4 c. water
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion, minced or diced
  • 1/2 c. ketchup
  • 1/2 c. honey
  • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. Sorghum or 1 tsp. molasses or 3 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1/4 -1/2 c. cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. ground mustard
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • salt, to taste


  1. Peel and chop apples into desired size chunks.
  2. Place apples in a pan with 1/4 c. of water and boil covered until apples are soft.
  3. Remove cooked apples from pan and set aside.
  4. Melt butter in the pan and saute onions until tender.
  5. Add apples back into the pan.
  6. Mash apples with a potato masher until desired consistency is achieved. (The softer apples should mash easier and more completely).
  7. Add ketchup, honey, Worcestershire, and sorghum or brown sugar.
  8. Add 1/4 of a cup of vinegar. Taste and add more vinegar if needed. It usually takes about 1/2 c. to achieve the right balance, but the sweetness of the apples, etc. influence how much is needed.
  9. Add mustard, paprika, cinnamon and salt to taste.
  10. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes over medium heat. Mixture will thicken. Add more water if it becomes too thick.
  11. Serve over chicken or pork.

Serves 6 – 8


If using molasses instead of sorghum or brown sugar, note that black strap molasses can be very strong. Always start with a smaller amount and add more if needed.

Dried onions may be substituted for fresh. Just add the butter to the apples while they are initially cooking, then add the onions. There is no need to remove the apples.

Copyright © 2014.
Recipe by Paula, A Simple Home Cook.


To grill the chicken, I like to use a meat mallet to pound the boneless, skinless chicken breasts so that the thickness of the entire breast is about even. I then add a mixture of salt, paprika, and garlic powder to the breast before placing them on the grill.

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