Do you have a best friend? Well, call him (or her) and tell them, sorry, but you have a new best friend. That would be me. You new best friend. As my new best friend, you might want to know …my likes – chocolate, cats, and the color pink…dislikes – okra, lima beans, and National Geographic Wildlife Shows (not all the shows, but the ones where the innocent, frolicking, little antelope gets killed by totally unremorseful lion, and since you never know when they are going to spring that on you, I avoid them all).
Why am I your new best friend? Well, I am introducing you to the best barbecued chicken recipe in the whole world, that’s why. I’m not kidding. I don’t make these statements lightly. This is seriously the best barbecued chicken recipe ever. And I am not just saying that because it’s Tyler’s and because there is always the possibility that he may feel the need to come thank me. In person.
You begin by brining the chicken. A step I usually skip. Never again. It makes the chicken so flavorful and moist. It really complements the sauce, so it becomes almost one flavor the chicken and the barbecue sauce as opposed to chicken…and sauce. And speaking of sauces. What can I say about a sauce that has you begin by wrapping bacon around thyme? I repeat, bacon around thyme. The sauce was amazing, rich and thick, and sweet and smokey and everything you want a barbecue sauce to be.
The Ultimate Barbecued Chicken
from Tyler’s Ultimate: Brilliant Simple Food to Make Any Time
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.
This will be my entry for this week’s Tyler Florence Fridays.