Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Kinder and Gentler Barbecue Chicken Recipe

It's one of the saddest sights of the summer barbecue season; a picnic table platter piled high with black, burnt barbecue chicken. Actually, the chicken isn’t burnt, that's probably juicy and delicious, it's the barbecue sauce on the skin that has incinerated.

Pouring barbecue sauce on an already cooked piece of chicken, while much safer, just isn’t the same. That's chicken with barbecue sauce on it, not barbecued chicken. When it comes to barbecued chicken, everyone wants that nice thick glaze of sauce attached to the skin, and the only way to
do it, is brush it on as it cooks.

Therein lies the problem. Because of the sugar content, it only takes a minute for a barbecue sauce to go from brick-red to solid black. This video recipe shows my fairly simple solution to the problem. I just "mark" the chicken's vulnerable skin side, then cook it all the way through in a closed grill, brushing on the glaze as it cooks.

In addition to seeing how not to burn chicken, you'll also see a slash and marinade pre-grill prep that adds to this recipe's overall deliciousness. This will work with any prepared barbecue sauce, but is especially good with San Francisco-style barbecue sauce.

What is San Francisco-style barbecue sauce? That's a great question! Soon you will be able to buy my very first prepared food product. Michele and I have been working on this sauce recipe for years, and it's finally ready to unveil.

Of course, I can't give you the exact recipe, but it’s a traditional American barbecue sauce base kicked-up with spices from around the world, as well as three of San Francisco's favorite things; red wine, chocolate, and coffee. It is an incredible sauce, and you be seeing it here soon!

In the meantime, use your favorite barbecue sauce recipe or brand and give this a try. Enjoy!



2 chicken halves
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tbsp San Francisco-style barbecue sauce, plus more for brushing
2 cloves crushed garlic

For the rub:
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp cayenne

60 comments:

Don Madrid said...

Chef John, was this directly over the coals or was it indirect heat.

Chef John said...

Nope, right over the hot coals. Since there is no sauce under there, and it's just the back bone and rib cage, it's no problem. Even if that side gets charred (which it really doesn't anyway) it doesn't effect the taste.

Scott R. said...

You have done it again. I actually cooked BBQ chicken last night and now am going to go for one more night to try this method.

Ok so one random question. Your grill always looks so perfectly clean. What kind of grate is it that you are cooking on?? Steal? Cast Iron? and how do you clean it after cooking something like BBQ chicken when you do end up getting that stuff on the grill??

U the man!

Scott

Chef John said...

yes, cast iron. I just brush it, nothing fancy. thanks!

SCott R. said...

ok one last question. My wife loves boneless/skinless chicken breast. Can you use this method with that? Could you make small slices in the breast, marinate it, and cook then the same way as in your video?

Scott

Chef John said...

You can, but don't slash. I hope she isn't denying herself the great pleasure of this recipe to save a couple calories! that would be very sad.

milkshake said...

Chef,

Do you use tamarind in your magicky BBQ sauce? Please say that you are adding tamarind because little bit of tamarind produces the most awesome hint of tangy goodness and the world would be a sad place without tamarind BBQ sauces.

And what will be the name of your sauce, and where can we get it?

Scott R. said...

Well she is 8 months pregnant so at this point it's happy wife = happy life : )

I think i'll buy one chicken breast for her and i'll get the real deal for myself. She will taste mine and be wanting more!

Thank you for all the great videos! You have seriously made me a much better "chef" and I love cooking much more than before. You have turned me into the head chef for my family. Even when I go to friends houses for a BBQ they all give me the tongs straight to me. I love it!

Scott

Chef John said...

No tamarind in this one, but I do love tamarind.

The sauce is called SFQ and will be sold here and on my wife's new SFQ website. All shall be revealed soon.

Anonymous said...

Hey Chef,
I know your from back east,and/or headed that way too..any chance of a "Cornell Chicken" video recipe?

Chef John said...

you read my mind... do you have a favorite recipe?

sunny said...

Your dish looking very delicious and tasty thanks to shear with us

adri_anah said...

Im excited to try a product made by you Chef John!! I bet its going to be great! :D

diva said...

ah great tips here. thank you! :) the bbq chicken looks fantastic.

CharGeorge said...

Heh, I assumed when i saw the chicken that this would be Cornell Chicken. Then Anonomous came here and stole the comment I was going to make ;).

The recipe for it is pretty standard, as the guy who wrote it was a cornell professor and pretty proud of it. I'm the son of two Vets from Cornell, so I've heard the story a few times ;).

Here's the basic recipe, It gets around the "incenerated sauce" by just not having sugar. Crazy.

http://www.roadsidefans.com/chicken.html

ghanima said...

I am so excited that you're going to be producing BBQ sauce, just in time for me to move into a new place that allows barbecues!

Thanks for the helpful tips for barbecuing chicken -- it never would have occurred to me to spatchcock a bird for the grill, I probably would've just cut it into sections. Of course, you already know that your method for charring the bird is ingenious.

Flour said...

I'm so sad I don't have a grill to make this chicken. Must move out of this apt. Fast.
And...did you say coffee??!!! Your BBQ sauce sounds truly unique and I'm a fan of yours for it. Best wishes:)

tut said...

Ah nothing makes those annoying drool stains down the front of your shirt like a deep shiny glaze on a piece of meat,maybe that's why chinese shop keepers have those glazed ducks in the front window lol good work Chef!

Basia said...

Hey Chef John - ever since "Friday the 13th" slashes make me queasy. ;) What do you think of those injecting devices for marinades like this? Of course, the garlic would have to get the blender treatment - waddya think?

Chef John said...

never used an injector. This works for me so I think I'll keep slashing

Anonymous said...

Hey Chef, sorry I stole CharGeorge's thunder about Cornell Chicken BUT, I also forgot to mention "Salt Potatoes" and "Spedies" when you back east.Salt potatoes even some New Yorks don't no about..lol

Shia said...

I tried this recipe and i must say it tastes yummyyyyyyyyyyy..thank you chef!!

Josh said...

Chef John,

Thanks, this was delicious and looks great too! I snapped a few shots to make my friends jealous with - http://blog.guedalia.com/?p=90

Josh

Anonymous said...

what if i use drunbsticks

Anonymous said...

if using a 4 burner gas grill what temp would you have it at

ty:)

Anonymous said...

Hey Chef John!! Thank you, thank you, thank you for this amazing recipe! Let me tell you people...I'm no chef by any means, but this dish is the BOMB!!! I cooked it for my boyfriend and roommates this evening and all are raving! 8-Thumbs UP!!

gavi said...

Hey,

I've made this twice before and it came out amazing! But that got me wondering, could I marinate the chicken longer and make it taste even better (as the case with the Cornell chicken)?

Keep up the yummy work!

Gavi

Gab said...

Hi
Thanks for the recipe.
I tried it over the weekend and it tasted delicious!
Only problem was that because of the oil dripping out of the chicken into the fire, the part of the chicken next to the grill was burnt due to flamming.
Is there any way to prevent flamming?
Thanks and keep up the good work!

Chef John said...

not really, just a spray water bottle

Andy said...

Hi John -- just wondering, around what temperature was your grill for this recipe? Is it possible to do it on a stovetop or in an oven? Many thanks!

Anonymous said...

hi jon,

do you always cook your bone-in chicken over direct heat? i always seem to burn it when i try that. maybe your coals are at a medium heat when you put the chicken on? thanks for any advice!

Anonymous said...

thanks for your incredible tasting recipes!!

Anonymous said...

I just had to come on here and give you a big thank you for such a beautiful, easy and absolutely excellent recipe. We made this today and it turned out great. My husband said it was the best chicken he has ever eaten. After supper he went straight to the freezer to take out another chicken.

Steve said...

chef John,

I only have a gas grill. what temp should i use? for searing and cooking bone-side down?

Thanks!

islandboy said...

Hi Chef

I am from the island of American Samoa. and I am telling you that this is what we do is bbq, but everyone uses the same recipe, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, brown sugar and ketchup to marinate the chicken. but i saw your recipe i wanted to ask since you use a small portion of chicken, i what to use your recipe for a bigger portion of chicken, say a cook out for 20 to 30 people. how can i use your recipe.

islandboy said...

Hi Chef

I am from the island of American Samoa, and i am telling you that we love bbq, but people here tend to use the same recipe, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, brown or white sugar, ketchup to marinate the chicken. so i saw your recipe and i wanted to ask how can i apply that to a cook out for 20 to 30 people, FYI we samoans love to eat. So your recipe will be a good way to bbr chicken.

Chef John said...

this would work any number of people! Just 10x or 15x the recipe amounts.

islandboy said...

Chef,

So your marinated sauce is just Rice vinegar SF bbq sauce and garlic correct..

islandboy said...

Chef.

Since I don't have your special SF sauce whats a good bbq sauce to use for this recipe.

Anonymous said...

Im only a teenager and made this tonight and it was awesome! Tastes great even without the 1 tbsp of salt. Thanks Chef John

Ed Adams said...

Chef,

Active duty military recently retired and living in Italy now. Loved this BBQ recipe and can't wait to delve into your others. Would love to see some dishes utilizing the spices, cheeses and yummy ingredients I can only get while I'm here.
Ed

Anonymous said...

Used skinless, boneless chicken breasts. Turned out fantastic. Just didn't take as long to cook, but followed same instructions of dark grill marks before turning. Family loved!

Jeff said...

I suck at cooking! I cooked two 1/4 chickens for 30-35 minutes (bbq was reading 5-600 degrees) and it came out raw as hell. :( Looked amazing but I was so ticked off I ended up chucking it rather than putting it back on.

George said...

Hello again chef John, man o man am I glad I found your site, I have made 5 of your dishes so far and they have all been awesome. I'm doing this bbq chicken tonight, I already know its going to be great, the chicken has been marinating in the fridge for about 30 minutes, I put your rub together and I'm about to go fire up the grill yeeehaaawwwww lol
Thanks again

Anonymous said...

Dear chef John,
I saw this video and it was fantastic!!! I just wanna ask sometning, instead of grilling ( it's really cold outside) , can i cook it in the oven, and if yes , for how many degrees??? I want cook for my husband....

Thanks...

Anonymous said...

Dera Chef John,
I saw ur video and it was so fantastic!!!! Ur blog helps lots of people including me...I just wanna ask if i can cook this bbq chicken in the oven instead of grilling....it's cold and raining latelty outside....please help me...thanks

Jojo said...

Dear Chef John,

Ur video is really interesting and it helps lots of people including me...
I just wanna ask sometning...can i cook it also in the oven, and if yes , how...please help me...
Thanks...
Jojo from Germany

Chef John said...

Sure! Just use the broiler or oven on high setting (425F) until cooked through. Can't give exact times. Use a thermometer to check doneness!

cookinmom said...

Made this last night with chicken thighs and made extra for my lunch. Needless to say, "what lunch"??? It was all gone! Man my kids can eat...especially good dishes from Chef John. EXCELLENT!!! TKS

Nejo said...

Love it...thanx

Jackson Clarke said...

This recipe looks fantastic and as I have a gas swiss grill bbq it works absolute wonders in cooking meats fast and well and if i'm lucky I really can get that same smokey taste...although I must admit an original coal is as amazing as can be! I will try this and report back on my success!

eleanorrlawson said...

This looks interesting. Especially now that we're planning to buy a gazebo for our new place. We can definitely have a chill place after our bbq grilling session.

Joaquin Anaya said...

Good afternoon chef i ve got 2 questions, first one here in my country i couldnt find cayenne so its ok if i only use paprika? And second one, it is 100% necessary that i close my bbq while cooking my chicken? Because im grilling some meat at same time.

Chef John said...

Yes, but cayenne is hot and paprika usually isn't. There are no hot ground chilies where you are?? Yes, cover should be down, so chicken cooks evenly.

Carri said...

Hi Chef John, first time on your site. I saw the video and am going to BBQ my chicken this way tonight. I'm just a house wife but love to cook delicious things for my husband and 20 year old son. They love my food and it makes me feel good.Plus I love to eat it too. Thanks for making your expertise available to all of us!

Chef John said...

Enjoy! :)

cdcphoenix said...

Wow, Chef. Super huge congratulations to you and your wife on the development and release of your SFQ sauce! I will definitely be trying it.
This is a great tip for bbq-ing chicken. I'm a really good cook, made better by your blog of course, but don't have the bbq gene that ensures perfect poultry on the grill. This should change that!
Thanks, once again, for improving our culinary skills.
Claudine

Cherry Bomb said...

I made this last night. Everything about it was awesome except for the bottom. It was burnt. I used boneless breasts over hot coals. I'm a novice cook, too so I'll try to figure out why they burned. Two possibilities are the coals were too close to the grill or it was because they were boneless. Anyway, besides the burnt bottoms, the chicken was amazing and looked gorgeous, all juicy and saucy and full of flavor. We had it with corn on the cob. :) Thank you Chef!

Chef John said...

The main problem is this method is not meant for boneless breasts! The bones under the half chicken protect the meat. Try with half chickens next time! Plus WAY better flavor. Enjoy!

Gordon Simmons said...

Here is a simple procedure to clean those rusty Barbeque grill grates:
• First, heat the grill for about 15 minutes so that the grease will be removed. In removing the oil and grease early on you cleaning can help you save time.
• After heating the grill, brush off the rust with the use of brass-bristled brushes for grills. Also, start brushing lightly and then increase the force of your brushing slowly. Scrub back and forth to scrape the rust on the grill grates.
• After brushing, you can shower an amount of baking soda on top of the part of the grill with visible rusts. Baking soda is helpful in cleaning grill grates because it does not easily damage metal materials. Place the grill grates with baking soda on the heat and as the baking soda heats the carbon dioxide from the baking soda will make the rust softer to brush off.