What's for Dinner: Old-School Barbecue Chicken

Old-School Barbecue Chicken

PG tested

My daughter Catherine doesn't eat very much, so the fact she asked for seconds of this easy barbecued chicken, our first of the summer, speaks volumes. "I think I'm in love!" she declared.

The original recipe called for brining a whole chicken, halving it and then cooking the pieces "slow and low" for three hours over a wood fire. My Sunday night shortcut involved boneless breasts and a gas grill. Maybe it wasn't true "barbecue," but it was pretty darn close.

  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • Barbecue Rub #67 (recipe follows)
  • Thick and Rich Barbecue Sauce (recipe follows)
  • Cilantro leaves for garnish

Preheat grill on one side to medium heat.

Dry chicken breast with paper towels. Sprinkle it lightly with the rub, and massage into meat. Let rest for 10 to 15 minutes.

Transfer chicken to hot grill, and cook about 5 to 6 minutes on each side (depending on thickness of breasts), until light golden brown. Move chicken off direct heat, onto cooler side of the grill. Slather with barbecue sauce, shut lid and continue indirect cooking for 6 to 7 minutes, or until completely cooked through. With fresh sauce and a clean brush, slather on more sauce, and then remove to a platter and let rest 5 minutes before serving.

Remove from grill onto cutting board. Slice each breast on the diagonal. If desired, sprinkle cilantro leaves on top. Pass additional barbecue sauce.

Serves 4 to 6.

-- Adapted from "Slow Fire: The Beginner's Guide to Barbecue" by Ray "Dr. BBQ" Lampe (Chronicle, May 2012, $22.95)

Barbecue Rub #67

This is a great all-around rub, and it keeps in the fridge for up to 6 months.

  • 1/2 cup sugar in the raw
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 3 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coffee
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl and mix well. The rub may be stored in an airtight container in a cool place for up to 6 months.

Makes about 11/2 cups

Thick and Rich Barbecue Sauce

I skipped the liquid smoke in this thick, red barbecue sauce, but didn't miss it.

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced (I used 1/3 poblano pepper)
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup yellow mustard
  • 1/4 cup apple juice
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Louisiana hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add onion, garlic and jalapeno and cook for about 8 minutes, until soft. Add celery seed and mix well. Cook for 1 minute. Add remaining ingredients. Mix well and bring to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes, mixing often, until thickened. Remove from heat and serve, or cool and store sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Makes about 4 cups.


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