Monday, November 3, 2008

The Ultimate Barbecued Chicken

Cook Time: 1 hr 5 min
Level: Intermediate
Yield: 6 servings


* 2 quarts water
* 2 tablespoons kosher salt
* 1/4 cup brown sugar
* 2 garlic cloves, smashed with the side of a large knife
* 4 sprigs fresh thyme
* 6 chicken legs and thighs, still connected, bone in, skin on,
about 10 ounces each

The Ultimate Barbecue Sauce:

* 1 slice bacon
* 1 bunch fresh thyme
* Extra-virgin olive oil
* 1/2 onion, chopped
* 2 garlic cloves, chopped
* 2 cups ketchup
* 1/4 cup brown sugar
* 1/4 cup molasses
* 2 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar
* 1 tablespoon dry mustard
* 1 teaspoon ground cumin
* 1 teaspoon paprika or smoked paprika if available
* Freshly ground black pepper


For the brine, in a mixing bowl combine the water, salt, sugar,
garlic, and thyme. Transfer the brine to a 2-gallon sized re-sealable
plastic bag. Add the chicken, close the bag and refrigerate 2 hours
(if you've only got 15 minutes, that's fine) to allow the salt and
seasonings to penetrate the chicken.

Meanwhile, make the sauce. Wrap the bacon around the bunch of thyme
and tie with kitchen twine so you have a nice bundle. Heat about 2
tablespoons of oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the thyme
and cook slowly 3 to 4 minutes to render the bacon fat and give the
sauce a nice smoky taste. Add the onion and garlic and cook slowly
without coloring for 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, give
the sauce a stir, and turn the heat down to low. Cook slowly for 20
minutes to meld the flavors. Once the sauce is done cooking, remove
about 1 1/2 cups of the sauce and reserve for serving along side the
chicken at the table. The rest of the barbecue sauce will be used for
basing the legs.

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.

Preheat a grill pan or an outdoor gas or charcoal barbecue to a medium
heat. Take a few paper towels and fold them several times to make a
thick square. Blot a small amount of oil on the paper towel and
carefully and quickly wipe the hot grates of the grill to make a
nonstick surface. Take the chicken out of the brine, pat it dry on
paper towels. Arrange the chicken pieces on the preheated grill and
cook, turn once mid-way, and cook for a total of 10 minutes. Transfer
the grill marked chicken to a cookie sheet and then place in the oven.
Cook the chicken for 15 minutes, remove it from the oven and then
brush liberally, coating every inch of the legs with the barbecue
sauce and then return to the oven for 25 to 30 more minutes, basting
the chicken for a second time half way through remaining cooking time.
Serve with extra sauce.


No comments: