CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — No-Grill Barbecued Chicken

Do you know anybody who doesn’t like barbecued chicken?

Of the many ways to prepare chicken, it’s probably the most popular of all. It’s the centerpiece of most summertime grilling events, perhaps even more so than hamburgers and hot dogs.

But when the temperature is between 10 below and 20 below zero and it’s the last thing even avid grillers have on their minds, there is always the oven.

Oven-baked barbecue chicken is one of the simplest and easiest ways to feed your family or a group of friends when the weather isn’t cooperative. It’s one of my favorite ways to prepare birds, whether it’s chicken, upland game or waterfowl.

I fix barbecued chicken two ways. For both, I usually start with a whole chicken (or some breasts and thigh meat of wild birds), which is cut into bite-size pieces, skin removed.

In the first recipe, I place the pieces in an 8-by-11 baking dish, covered with tinfoil, and bake for 45 minutes.

While the chicken is cooking, I saute onion, celery and garlic in olive oil in a saucepan until translucent. Then, I add the  rest of ingredients and bring the mixture to a boil. The sauce is ready when it starts to thicken.

When the chicken has been in the oven for the prescribed time, I remove the covering and baste pieces with about half to two-thirds of barbecue sauce. I return it to oven for 30 minutes and then turn pieces of chicken and cover with remaining sauce. I bake the chicken another 20 minutes at 400 degrees or until the sauce sticks to the chicken.

In the second recipe, I place the chicken in a Dutch oven and cover it with the barbecue sauce and place it in a 350-degree preheated oven and bake for about 2 hours.

Barbecue Sauce for Chicken
1 4- to 5-pound chicken, cut up, skin removed
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup ketchup
1 cup water
4 tablespoons cider vinegar
4 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce
1 dried cayenne pepper, cut up
1 tablespoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Saute onion, celery and garlic in olive oil in a saucepan until translucent. Add the rest of ingredients and bring to a boil. Sauce is ready when it starts to thicken.

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