There is nothing that says summer quite like barbecued chicken. The sweet and sticky sauce is so delicious that I think of it deep into the winter. I used to always subcontract out the making of the barbecue sauce. In fact, it never actually occurred to me that I could make it myself. Why bother when there are 100 different varieties easily available in the grocery store.
Well, I'll tell you why. Homemade barbecue sauce really is a lot better that the commercial produced stuff. And the good news is that it's easy to make, so there's really no excuse not to get down to business and whip up a batch.
By now I've tried lots of different recipes for barbecue sauce. I played with them and came up with one I really like. I usually double or triple the recipe so that I have enough to use for the summer. It keeps very well in the refrigerator.
My recipe is an adaptation of Ina Garten's barbecue sauce. I like it a little hotter than she does so I add more red pepper flakes. I also like it a bit thicker so I go with more tomato paste as well. Simmering the sauce over a low flame for a half hour or so really brings the flavors together in a really pleasing way
One of my favorite ways to use the sauce is on classic barbecued chicken. I usually have Mark the Butcher quarter the chicken for me and then, leaving the bones in, flatten it out a bit so that it all cooks evenly. Sometimes, if I remember, I have him cut the wing tips off as well. They usually just burn anyway.
You may scoff at making your own barbecue sauce but I promise you that you'll never look back.
Recipe: Barbecued Chicken
(Adapted from Ina Garten)
2 chickens (2 1/2 to 3 pounds each), quartered, with backs removed
1 recipe Barbecue Sauce, recipe follows
Marinate the chickens in 2/3 of the barbecue sauce for a few hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
Heat the coals in a charcoal grill. Spread the bottom of the grill with a single layer of hot coals and then add a few more coals 5 minutes before cooking, which will keep the fire going longer. Place the chicken quarters on the grill, skin side down, and cook for about 45 minutes, turning once or twice to cook evenly on both sides. Brush with the marinade, as needed. The chicken quarters are done when you insert a knife between a leg and thigh and the juices run clear. Discard any unused marinade.
Serve with extra barbecue sauce on the side.
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion (1 large onion)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
12 ounces tomato paste
1 cup cider vinegar
1 cup honey
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 cup hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
3/4 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
In a large saucepan on low heat, saute the onions and garlic with the vegetable oil for 10 to 15 minutes, until the onions are translucent but not browned. Add the tomato paste, vinegar, honey, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, chili powder, cumin, and red pepper flakes. Simmer uncovered on low heat for 30 minutes. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator.
Yield: 1 1/2 quarts