Saturday, September 7, 2013

Recipe: Sweet and Tangy Barbecued Chicken

Based on the recipe from the July 2013 Cook's Illustrated. Read the story behind this dish in Sunday, Dinner for Two.   Serves 6.


4 to 6 pounds bone-in chicken pieces
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
4½ teaspoons kosher salt
1½ teaspoons onion powder
1½ teaspoons garlic powder
1½ teaspoons paprika
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1 cup ketchup
5 tablespoons molasses
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil 
⅓ cup grated onion
1 minced garlic clove
1 teaspoon chili powder  
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)


  1. Trim the chicken pieces of excess fat and skin. Breasts should be split and, if they are large, cut in half.
  2. In a small bowl combine the brown sugar, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, and cayenne.
  3. On a rimmed baking sheet, sprinkle both sides of the chicken with the spice mixture, cover with plastic, and refrigerate for 6 to 24 hours.
  4. In a bowl, whisk together the ketchup, molasses, vinegar, Worcestershire, mustard, and pepper.
  5. In a medium saucepan heat oil over medium heat until shimmering.
  6. Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened, 2 to 4 minutes.
  7. Stir in the chili powder and cayenne and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  8. Whisk in the ketchup mixture and bring to a boil.
  9. Reduce heat and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Refrigerate until ready to cook the chicken.
  10. Place 1 or 2 (depending on the size of your grill) disposable pie plates directly on 1 burner of a gas grill and fill each with 1½ cups water.
  11. Light all burners, set to high, close the cover, and heat the grill for 15 minutes.
  12. Adjust primary burner (the burner away from the pie plates) to medium-high and adjust the other burners to low or off to maintain a temperature of 325°.
  13. Place the chicken skin-side down on the hot side of the grill and cook until browned, 2 to 5 minutes.
  14. Turn over the chicken and cook until the other side is browned, 4 to 6 minutes.
  15. Move the chicken to the cool side of the grill, skin side up, with the thicker pieces closer to the primary burner. Brush both sides using ⅓ cup of the sauce and cook for 25 minutes.
  16. Brush both sides of the chicken with another ⅓ cup of the sauce and cook until the temperature of the breasts is 160° and the dark meat is 175°, another 20 to 30 minutes.
  17. Remove chicken to a serving platter, cover loosely with foil, and rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Combine ingredients of the dry rub in a small bowl.

Sprinkle both sides of trimmed chicken with the spice rub and refrigerate for 6 to 24 hours.
Combine Worcestershire, vinegar, ketchup, molasses, pepper, and mustard in a small bowl.
Cook grated onion and garlic in oil until softened, bloom chili powder and cayenne, then add the ketchup mixture and simmer.

Brown both sides of the chicken on the hot side of the grill.
Move chicken to the cool side of the grill, baste with sauce, and cook until done.

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