“Lick your fingers” BBQ Baked Chicken

I spent my first 2 years of college at East Carolina University (go Pirates!), which is in Greenville, NC. This also happens to be the heart of BBQ Country. This is also where I fell in love with good barbecue. I’m talking about REAL barbecue with a tangy and slightly spicy vinegar sauce, cold crisp coleslaw on top and Oh Heaven!!

Living in Florida, there’s not an awful lot of good ‘real’ barbecue! I’m sorry if I’ve offended you with that statement, but it’s the truth. So I’ve had to settle for good meat, but covered in a thick sweet sauce. I’ve adapted by mixing some hot sauce into the sauce and now I actually really like it like that. (I can’t believe I’m admitting that!)

I wanted to grill chicken for dinner tonight, but we were having some serious thunderstorms so I had to go for the oven instead. I mixed up this sauce, which is the perfect mix of a sweet traditional sauce and my vinegary love. It’s not spicy, but has a subtle hint from the cayenne.  This is super easy to whip up. The hardest part is waiting for the chicken to cook!!

Note: I cooked it on a pan lined in foil, but next time I make it, I’m going to put it on my broiler pan or on a baking sheet with a rack on it – like this. Using the straight foil method, the chicken couldn’t drain and sat in a little bit of liquid. It was fine, but just a little softer on the bottom. If all you have is foil, don’t worry and just go for it!

“Lick Your Fingers” BBQ Baked Chicken

Serves 4 (1 drumstick and 1 thigh per serving)

4 chicken drumsticks
4 chicken thighs
salt and pepper to season chicken
3 Tbsp olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup yellow mustard
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp chili powder
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp kosher salt

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2) Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. (If you dont have a giant pan, you can do this in batches) Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add to the skillet. Brown the chicken by cooking for 2-3 minutes on each side. Remove from pan and set on a plate.

3) Combine the remaining ingredients (garlic through kosher salt) in a medium-sized bowl. Stir with a whisk until well combined. Remove 3/4 cup of the marinade and set aside.

4) Give the chicken pieces a good dunk in the sauce and place on a baking sheet or broiler pan.

5) Bake the chicken at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and baste the chicken with the remaining marinade. Return to the oven and bake 10 minutes more, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature 165 degrees (this is the USDA recommended temperature!)

6) Remove the chicken from the oven and allow to rest 5 to 10 minutes before eating. Enjoy!

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