I guess we knew there were risks involved, but as usual, we were more optimistic than the situation warranted when we went to pick out some chicks to replenish the crop of chickens that keep us stocked with eggs and seem to amuse us by doing nothing more interesting than chase each other around the pen if there’s a worm on the loose.
So when our little flock of hens had dwindled down to 3 old ladies who would lay maybe once a week if they were in the mood (which they usually weren’t), we knew it was time to get ourselves some chicks. So off we went to the feed store, and after asking all the questions; you know, “how can you tell if they're hens?” (you can't); “What kind are they?”; “What will they look like when they’re grown?”, we picked out 8 fluffy little chicks and brought them home. I spent the last 4 months feeding and caring for the little creatures, immensely excited at the prospect of having 8 layers this fall.
And now that they’re all about full grown, this is what we have…
Five bantams who are as cute as all heck, but will lay eggs the size of a quarter,
two hens who will barely cover our egg needs, and...
one rooster who crows at 5:30 each morning just outside our bedroom window.
Which brings me to today’s recipe…barbecued chicken.
Well, actually we’re mostly going to talk about this incredible BBQ sauce and rub that my son has perfected and how I still had to mess with it and why you really need to light up your ‘cue and grill yourself some chicken this weekend.
And to make your grilled chicken ever so incredible and impress your friends and neighbors, we’re going to start with this dry rub,
which we will rub into the chicken and let chill out in the fridge for a few hours before cooking. Then we're going to assemble this super scrumptious barbecue sauce, but you just shouldn't make it anywhere near as spicy as I made ours last time so that we could barely choke it down. Just a pinch of cayenne will do or leave it out completely.
Lastly, get out to the barbecue and set up your grill to medium. Cook your chicken for about 40-50 minutes, adding the barbecue sauce for the last 20 minutes or so, slathering on layers and turning each piece until it’s just perfect and slightly blackened and crispy,
and make sure that rooster can see what’s on the grill cuz we’re not even kidding. Here's the recipe…
CIRCLE B BBQ'D CHICKEN
My son developed this recipe as he watched a chef friend make this sauce and rub for some ribs he was grilling. I sort of tweaked it a tad by adding dry mustard to the sauce and playing with the seasonings a bit, but mostly this makes some of the best barbecued chicken in Circle B history.
2 chickens cut into pieces (I cut the breasts in half and the thighs, too, if they're overly large)
1/4 cup coarse salt (sea or kosher)
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup sweet paprika
3 tablespoons black pepper
1 tablespoon garlic flakes
1 tablespoon onion flakes
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
1 cup ketchup
1 cup tomato sauce
2/3 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
2 teaspoons hickory-flavored liquid smoke
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
3 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
Remove any excess skin from the chicken pieces. Combine all of the rub ingredients in a shallow bowl or plate. Dredge each chicken piece in the rub, cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.
For the Sauce:
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the catsup, tomato sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, molasses, liquid smoke, and butter. Cook briefly until well combined, and then add the rest of the seasoning ingredients. Bring to a simmer and then reduce the heat to low and cook for about 20 minutes. Cook longer for a thicker sauce and less for a thinner sauce.