You know what they say about barbecue? If you don’t get messy eating it, you are doing something wrong. My Finger Licking’ BBQ Chicken is quite messy. Be sure to have lots of paper napkins on hand if you decide to make it.
I never just throw chicken on the grill and brush it with store-bought barbecue sauce. First, I marinate it; this infuses the pieces with flavor and helps them stay juicy and tender during the grilling process. Next, I precook my chicken in the oven prior to placing it on the grill to ensure my finished produce is totally cooked. When the chicken is almost cooked through, I finish it on the barbecue, basting it with sauce made from scratch. If you throw uncooked chicken onto the grill, by the time the meat is cooked enough to eat you have a charred, inedible finished product.
My Finger Licking’ BBQ Chicken is a must try!
Finger Licking’ BBQ Chicken Makes 12 pieces
For the barbecue sauce:
1 bottle (12-ounces) chili sauce 1 bottle (12-ounces) water 1 can (10 ¾-ounces) tomato purée ¼ cup Worcestershire® sauce ¼ cup apple cider vinegar ¼ cup tightly-packed brown sugar 1 ½ cups white onion, chopped 1 teaspoon minced garlic 1 ½ teaspoons dry mustard 1 teaspoon large grind black pepper In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients over medium-high heat. Fill the chili bottle with water and shake to free any remaining sauce. Pour water into the sauce. Bring the sauce to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring often to prevent scorching, about 1 hour. Let cool before serving. Makes about 3 cups of sauce.
To marinate the chicken:
3 chicken breasts, 3 thighs, 3 legs, 3 wings ½ cup fresh lemon juice (about 3 lemons) 1 teason chili powder 1 teaspoon large grind black pepper 4 teaspoons minced garlic Oil for coating rack
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Rinse chicken under cold water and pat dry with a paper towel. In a small bowl, combine lemon juice, chili powder, pepper, and garlic and whisk to blend. Place chicken pieces in a large bowl and smother with marinade, tossing to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until 1 hour before grilling.
Bake chicken breasts and thighs for 40 minutes and legs for 14 minutes. Only cook wings on the barbecue. Lightly oil a grill rack and arrange chicken on the rack, skin side down, so that most of the chicken is not directly over the coals. Dark-meat pieces should be closer to the coals than the white meat. Grill, covered, for 10 minutes. Brush with barbecue sauce. Turn chicken skin side up and brush with barbecue sauce. Cover, close the vents, and grill another 5 minutes, or until chicken is done. Adding sauce too soon can cause burning. Serve with extra sauce on the side.
Tips on Shopping for Chicken:
Only purchase chicken that is inspected by the USDA and bears a shield identifying it as USDA Grade A. A USDA inspection seal means that your food has been inspected and ranked for its quality. Grades B and C chickens are blemished and are normally used for frozen dinners and canned products.
There are many varieties of chicken available at the supermarket these days. If you prefer to purchase organic chicken, the most meaningful label is a USDA Certified Organic seal. If chicken bears this seal, it has only eaten organically grown feed and has not been treated with hormones or antibiotics. It must have access to the outdoors and cannot be cloned.
Chicken labeled pasture raised means the birds have spent some time outdoors feeding on grass or forage. There are no government standards for this label, including how much time chickens spend outdoors. If buying pasture raised chicken is important to you, look for a “certified humane” label. This means chickens have a minimum of 108 square feet to roam outdoors.
A free-range label means chickens have access to the outdoors. The label does not specify how much time or space chickens are given to roam freely.
According to the USDA, chicken labeled natural or naturally raised means that it cannot contain artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives and should be minimally processed. This label does not indicate how the animals were raised, what they were fed, or if they received antibiotics or hormones.
If irradiation is a concern, chickens that have been irradiated must bear a radura symbol.
No matter which type of chicken you purchase it should feel cold to the touch when it’s in the supermarket cooler. Grocery stores do from time to time have trouble with refrigeration, so never purchase a chicken that feels warm.
Fresh chicken often sits in a pink liquid. This is mostly water absorbed by the chicken during the chilling process. It is not blood. Most blood is removed during slaughter, and only a small amount of blood remains inside the muscle. While this pink liquid is unattractive, it is not harmful.
Always check dates on packages. If the chicken has a “Sell-By” date, it will be good for 1 to 2 days passed this date. If it has a “Use By” date, use or freeze by this date. Never purchase product that has passed its “Sell-By” or “Use-By” date.
Chicken meat can be white or yellow in color. Its pigment does not affect its quality or nutritional value. If chickens are fed substances containing yellow pigment, then the color of their flesh will be more yellow than white.
When selecting chicken, shop with your eyes and your nose. Look for meat that is not transparent, blotchy, or dried around the edges. Fresh chicken has a clean smell.
Carol Ann Kates is the award-winning author of cookbook, Secret Recipes from the Corner Market and Insider Grocery Shopping Secrets. She’s an expert in how to shop, select, and store produce for maximizing home cooking outcomes and minimizing time and money spent. As a former supermarket and deli operator, Carol Ann shares grocery-insider wisdom—the same expertise you used to receive when patronizing a mom-and-pop establishment. Contact her at CarolAnn@CarolAnnKates.com and explore her website, www.CarolAnnKates.com.
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