This was my lunch on Tuesday, such a glorious, warm, sunny day that I was compelled, despite a crazy-busy week and a looming analysis deadline, to enjoy it out on the back deck. Because basking in the sun, watching the leaves drift down, and reveling in sticky, messy, moist & delicious, finger-looking good barbecue chicken is soon going away, not to be seen again around these parts for many moons.
If I were a Brit, I’d call this recipe “cheap & cheerful.” It’s not haute cuisine, it’s not going to win any South Carolina barbecue contests, but it’s easy, relatively quick, inexpensive (3 lbs of organic, Kosher cut-up chicken on the bone was $10) and quite delicious. The chicken does not develop the smoky complexity of barbecue chicken on the grill, but it stays extremely moist and develops its own unique flavor from the slow braise and reduction of the sauce: thick, caramelized, almost jammy. We’ve been eating it for a week and it just gets better as it sits in the fridge. The best part? I combined two half-empty jars of barbecue sauce and hence cleared two jars out of the fridge! Now that’s what I call a win-win.
- 3 tbsp grapeseed or olive oil, or clarified butter
- 3 lbs chicken on the bone, cut into pieces
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup wine (I used a fruity organic Syrah, but any wine, or even dry vermouth, will do)
- 1 pint barbecue sauce
- 1/4 cup cider vinegar (optional)
- Preaheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Heat the oil in a medium Dutch oven (4-quart) over medium-high heat until shimmering, but not smoking.
- Generously salt & pepper the chicken pieces. Add, in batches, to the hot Dutch oven, frying on both sides until the skin is a nice golden brown, 3-5 minutes a side; removed browned chicken to a clean plate.
- When all the chicken pieces are browned, remove the Dutch oven from heat and pour off excess oil. Add just enough wine to deglaze the pan, and scrape up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan (you want the nicely browned fond to flavor your dish, but you don’t want stuck on gunk to ruin your Dutch oven!). Add a little cider vinegar to thin your barbecue sauce if necessary, then add the sauce and the chicken, including any juices that have collected on the plate. Coat each of the pieces in sauce, trying to push the larger pieces under the sauce (sauce will not cover all of the chicken, which is fine; you just want to give all the pieces a good coating. They will all stay moist in the humid environment of the Dutch oven).
- Cover the Dutch oven and roast in the preheated oven until chicken is cooked through (165 – 170 degrees F on an instant thermometer), about 20 – 30 minutes for smaller pieces (legs, wings) to 35 – 45 minutes for larger pieces (breasts with ribs or meaty thighs). Remove cooked chicken to a plate or platter, cover with an inverted bowl and allow to rest for about 10 minutes. Whisk barbecue sauce to blend and serve alongside the chicken.
Serves 6 – 8.
- You could try this with boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but I would submerge them completely in sauce and watch them carefully; they’ll overcook in a heartbeat.
- I used the meat from one chicken breast and the leftover sauce for a barbecue chicken pizza with this dough, some sliced red onion, mozzarella and a little grated Ouray cheese. Fan-freaking-tastic.
- This recipe can be 100% local; I made (and used) a completely local barbecue sauce a while back (pre-blog, so unfortunately there is no recipe) and used the very last 1/2 jar in this recipe. One of these days I’ll repeat that sauce and share the recipe here. In the meantime, if you need other sauce inspiration, check out Charred Chile, Peach Cascabel or Rhubarb barbecue sauce.
Refrigerated, about 1 week. Save chicken bones for stock!
Year-round, but mostly when it’s not grilling season.