You don’t have to be a pitmaster to make finger-lickin’ good barbecue chicken. These tips and tricks will have you mastering the grill like a pro.
First, start with the sauce. Whereas bottled sauces are a tasty convenience, homemade sauces can be much tastier. Surprisingly easy to whip up using pantry staples, homemade sauces have a fresher and brighter flavor than their packaged counterparts. The recipe below is a basic barbecue sauce. But you can doctor it up by adding ingredients like honey, hot sauce and even bourbon to make your own signature sauce.
When preparing your chicken for the grill, be sure to let the meat stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes before putting it on the grates. Taking away the chill will help your chicken cook more evenly and quickly.
For a boost of flavor, an easy trick is to season the chicken with a spicy dry rub instead of just salt and pepper. Brushing the chicken with a little oil before adding the rub will not only help the rub better adhere to the meat but will also help prevent sticking on the grill.
Two-zone grilling is especially helpful for cooking foods like bone-in chicken. Sear the chicken first over direct heat and then move it to an area with no heat to finish cooking by indirect heat. To create an indirect heating zone on your gas grill, simply turn off the burners on one side. For a charcoal grill, place the hot coals only on one side of the grill. Also, closing the lid is essential when using indirect grilling. A closed lid helps the grill mimic an oven and evenly cook the chicken.
Finally, the key to perfect barbecue chicken is to apply the sauce when the chicken is almost done. This prevents the sauce from burning.
From Simply Grilling by Jennifer Chandler
For the Homemade Barbecue Sauce:
2 cups ketchup
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon ground dry mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
For the Barbecue Chicken:
Vegetable oil, for grates
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 1/2 pounds mixed chicken parts, such as breasts, thighs, drumsticks, and wings
1 cup barbecue sauce
To make the barbecue sauce:
In a large saucepan combine the ketchup, water, vinegar, brown sugar, molasses, red pepper flakes, onion powder, dry mustard, and Worcestershire sauce. Over high heat, bring the sauce to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, about 20 to 25 minutes. Measure out 1 cup of sauce. Refrigerate the remaining sauce for another time.
To make the chicken:
Preheat a clean grill to medium-high with the lid closed for 8 to 10 minutes. Lightly brush the grates with oil.
In a small bowl combine the paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Brush the chicken with the olive oil. Generously season the chicken with the dry rub.
Place the chicken on the grill. Close the lid and cook, turning once or twice, until no longer pink in the middle, about 12 to 15 minutes per side. During the final 5 minutes of cooking, baste the chicken with the barbecue sauce. Remove the chicken from grill.
The Photo was taken by the talented Justin Fox Burks.