Barbecue Chicken Marinade

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist Condiments, RecipesComments: 15

barbecue chicken

Our family loves barbecue chicken wings but the ones you get when eating out are a surefire recipe for one nasty headache.  The reason is that commercially prepared barbecue sauces are loaded with MSG using one of a number of aliases on the ingredients label designed to fool the consumer into complacency.

Don’t be fooled if your headache doesn’t show up immediately either.  In my processed food eating days when I was just learning about the dangers of MSG and wasn’t quite savvy enough to avoid it all the time, I would sometimes not experience an MSG onset headache until 24 or even 48 hours later!

No need to avoid the foods you love if you adore chickens wings like me … just learn to make the healthy version at home.  You will not be sacrificing anything in taste, I can assure you.

Getting rid of the MSG and using real food flavors will not only taste better, but it will feel better in your stomach and you will sleep soundly knowing that a horrible headache is not awaiting you in the middle of the night or the next day to ruin your plans.

We had barbecue chicken wings for dinner the other night and boy oh boy, did they taste amazing.   I was snowed under with other commitments, so my hubby took the wheel (don’t you just love it when Dad awesomely pulls off the Mr. Mom thing?) and made dinner for the family.

He came up with this barbecue chicken marinade which uses bottled organic sauces that are MSG free plus a couple of other odds and ends to get the right flavor and consistency. A better option for the barbecue chicken marinade would be to use homemade ketchup and homemade worcesteshire sauce, but we were out at the time so hubby improvised.

Another key to killer wings at home besides homemade barbecue chicken marinade is to get quality chicken wings either organic from the healthfood store or even better, from a local buying club so that you will save a bundle or even – BONUS – get them locally.  Finding out about good buying clubs is usually a matter of word of mouth advertising, so ask your friends who are into healthy food where they get their grub for some ideas.

Barbecue Chicken Marinade


1 cup organic ketchup (where to find)

2 TBL organic worcesteshire sauce (where to find)

1/2 cup filtered water

3 TBL sucanat (where to find)



Mix all the ingredients together in a large glass bowl.  Place the chicken wings in the bowl and mix with the sauce until the wings are thoroughly covered.

Leave in the refrigerator to marinade for a few hours or even up to 24 hours.

Bake chicken wings until thoroughly done and a bit crispy on top.

Serve and enjoy.   Be sure to eat every bit of the skin.  That fat is good for you!

More Information

Love homemade sauces?  Check out these articles with more recipes for you to try.

8 Homemade Sauces and Dressings

Homemade Steak Sauce

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

Comments (15)

  • Roseann @ The Wholesome Life

    Thank you for posting this recipe. I’ve been wanting to make a healthy bbq sauce. I will make it with the lacto fermented ketchup that I made and stevia…all I need to shop for is the organic worchestire sauce.

    April 14th, 2012 9:52 am Reply
  • Faith

    Thanks for this! I get nasty migraines from MSG and as I get older I seem to be more sensitive.

    April 14th, 2012 11:27 am Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Me too. I avoid MSG totally … it not only gives you headaches but it messes up your hormones too and I’m having NONE of that!

      April 14th, 2012 12:26 pm Reply
  • megan

    actvated charcoal. I take this when I go somewhere I might get MGS by mistake. No heavey eye feels, breathing issuesyuk feeling, or headache if I take it.

    April 14th, 2012 5:12 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      That’s what the vet gave my German Shepherd once when she ate some mushrooms in the yard and started hallucinating!!! Worked like a charm. Where do you get this for human consumption? This could really come in handy when traveling when it is so difficult to avoid every single bit of MSG.

      April 14th, 2012 6:55 pm Reply
      • Alexandra

        They sell it at most health food stores in the supplements section. It is AMAZING for any type of food poisoning, I always have it on hand when I travel!

        April 14th, 2012 11:18 pm Reply
  • Leah

    M hubby experiences severe itching on his hands and feet when he eats MSG. Anyone else have a reaction like this?

    April 15th, 2012 9:13 pm Reply
  • Leah


    April 15th, 2012 9:13 pm Reply
  • Amy

    This recipe was delicious! We used chicken thighs instead and it was so tasty! Thank you for posting :)

    April 15th, 2012 9:15 pm Reply
  • Roseann @ The Wholesome Life

    That bbq sauce was delicious….I added some liquid smoke to it to give it.that smoked flavor and it really worked well. I know maybe the liquid smoke isnt, but it sure added great flavor. I didnt label the packages in the freezer, so instead of defrosting chicken, surprise, I defrosted pork chops…lol. It still came.out great.
    My husband cant take.msg either. He gets bad headaches plus he is hypoglycemic and the msg wreaks havoc with his blood sugar. Msg doesnt affect me, but I avoid it anyway.

    April 16th, 2012 9:02 pm Reply
  • Janelle

    This is great, I’m going to try this! I havent made anything with BBQ sauce since we started traditional cooking. Can’t wait! Thanks for all you do.

    November 19th, 2012 7:47 pm Reply
  • Raluca Schachter

    I love chicken wings and haven’t had them in a long time since I haven’t eaten out in a very long time :) But I’d love to make my own..
    Question: Where do you get organic wings? I bet maybe only from a local, organic farmer, right? Because I haven’t seen them in health food stores…

    November 19th, 2012 9:17 pm Reply
  • Al Green

    This is exactly what I need! I eat BBQ sauce all the time and can really use a healthier version than what I’ve been using.

    October 30th, 2013 1:00 pm Reply
  • Andi

    Can someone please tell me if it is good and healthy, or a bad idea to eat the chicken skin?

    September 16th, 2014 4:40 pm Reply
    • Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      It’s fine!!!!!! Eat and enjoy :)

      September 17th, 2014 9:05 am Reply

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