Thai BBQ Chicken

I’ve been making a lot of pad thai recently (yes, I’ll share the recipe soon, still perfecting it), and the sauce is definitely the best part of pad thai (although AK would argue the mung beans are…I digress). Classic pad thai sauce is a combination of tamarind, palm sugar, and fish sauce (or soy sauce). If you’ve never had it before, it’s this great combination of sour, sweet, and salty. I took those base ingredients and made them into a BBQ sauce, which I then slathered on a whole chicken and roasted low and slow in the oven. The result: Succulent oven-roasted BBQ chicken.

If you don’t eat meat, this sauce also works great with tofu–just brush on tofu slices and bake in the oven. You can also double or triple this recipe and store extra sauce in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

A note about tamarind pulp: You can buy tamarind paste or tamarind sauce in most stores, but if you are feeling adventurous I highly recommend making your own; it’s time intensive but tastes a lot fresher (check out this post for lots of information about tamarind, and how to make your own pulp). If you are using a store-bought tamarind sauce, make sure the ingredients don’t include sugar; if they do, add palm sugar in this recipe to taste so you don’t end up with overly sweet BBQ sauce.

Thai BBQ Chicken


1/4 cup tamarind pulp
1/8 cup gluten free soy sauce
1/8 cup palm sugar (or brown sugar)
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tsp chopped fresh ginger or 1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp sriracha
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 large onion sliced into rings
1 whole 3 lb chicken


  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees (or set up your crockpot).
  2. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients but the onion and chicken.
  3. Place the onions in the bottom of a baking dish that just fits the chicken. Smear the BBQ sauce all over the chicken, inside the cavity, and under the skin. Place chicken in baking dish.
  4. Cover the chicken with a foil tent so that the foil covers the baking dish but doesn’t actually touch the chicken.
  5. Bake the chicken for 4.5-5 hours at 250 degrees, or 6 hours on low in your crockpot. If your chicken is larger than 3 lbs, bake until it’s cooked through.

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