If you are looking for a good alternative to hamburgers, hot dogs and steak for this holiday weekend, a good option is always to do something with some chicken. You have lots options of available to you as far as just making a bunch of different chicken pieces or if you know that you have a crowd that really just wants to have thighs, legs, wings or breasts you can just go with those pieces on your grill. One thing about doing chicken on the grill is that you need to really watch it so that the skin doesn’t burn before the rest of the chicken is actually cooked through. This is one of the reasons I like to make barbecued chicken in the oven more than outside, which works out really well for me since I only have the electric grill to play with anyway. This particular recipe that I used comes from Better Homes and Gardens and is for their classic barbecued chicken, though I did modify the sauce recipe a bit to fit my own tastes. I have included my modifications in the recipe itself.
Classic Barbecued Chicken
2 3 1/2 pounds whole chickens, or 7 pounds of chicken pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup butter
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon chopped fresh garlic
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup cold water
1 1/4 cups cider vinegar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
2 tablespoons molasses
1 cup ketchup
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 cup tomato paste
Vegetable or canola oil
If you are using whole chickens, cut up the chicken, leaving the drumsticks and thighs attached. Season the chicken pieces with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Refrigerate, covered, up to 24 hours or until you are ready to use the chicken.
For the barbecue sauce, In large non-reactive saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter. Add the onion, garlic and salt and cook until the onion softens and is tender, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the crushed red pepper, paprika, chili powder and black pepper. Cook and stir the mixture for about 1 minute.
Add the water, cider vinegar, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce and bring the mixture to a simmer. Stir in the molasses, ketchup, liquid smoke, soy sauce and Dijon mustard until it is all blended. Whisk in the tomato paste until the mixture is smooth. Bring the sauce to a simmer over low heat and cook, uncovered, for 10 to 15 minutes or until the sauce has thickened, stirring occasionally. Taste the sauce for seasoning and make any adjustments with salt and pepper as needed. Remove 1 1/2 cups of the sauce to prepare the chicken. Store the remaining sauce in the refrigerator and simply reheat it to serve.
For the chicken, preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Heat 1/4-inch of the vegetable oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. Working in batches, place the chicken, skin side down, in the skillet. Cook until the chicken is well browned, turning once, for about 5 minutes.
Transfer the browned chicken to a large roasting pan or baking dish. Place the chicken skin side up and add 2 tablespoons of water to the pan. Spoon the reserved 1 1/2 cups of barbecue sauce over the chicken. Cover the chicken with parchment paper and then cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil. Bake the chicken until all of the chicken is cooked through and an instant read thermometer inserted into one of the pieces registers 170 degrees. Depending on the pieces of chicken you are baking, this can take anywhere from 40 minutes for breast portions to 75 minutes for legs and thighs.
Increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees. Uncover the chicken, removing the foil and the parchment paper, and spoon on some additional barbecue sauce. Bake the chicken, uncovered, for an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until the chicken is well-glazed and the meat is very tender. Serve the chicken with the reserved barbecue sauce (not the sauce you used to put on the raw chicken!) and store any remaining barbecue sauce, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Unfortunately, I did not remember to take a picture of the chicken when I made this one but it came out really well. you could certainly use the same idea and make this on the grill yourself, just keep a closer eye on the chicken to control the heat, cooking it on a lower heat side of a gas or charcoal grill to keep it from burning the skin easily. You should always put the sauce on towards the end of the cooking process so that the skin can get nice and crispy before the sauce goes on and you can retain the great sauce flavor that you get. Seasoning the chicken ahead of time or even brining it the night before can make a big difference here too, so if you have the time I recommend it. The sauce was great and I actually used some of the leftover chicken and remaining sauce to make some pulled chicken sandwiches, which I will post the recipe for soon as well. This goes great with any classic barbecue sides like baked beans, coleslaw, potato salad, corn bread,corn on the cob and the like.
That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day, enjoy your meal and have a safe, happy and festive July 4th!