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Beautiful Barbeque

July 9, 2010

BBQ Chicken RecipeI don’t usually post pictures of my meat on the internet, but sometimes it looks so mouthwateringly tasty that I just have to share.  I’m also celebrating something of an epiphany.  And I have a confession to make.  I don’t know how to barbeque.  It is somewhat emasculating to admit, but I only cook a couple of things on the grill, and none of them qualify as traditional American barbeque (chicken tikka, fajitas, etc).   Up until now, barbequed chicken was a matter of throwing some breasts on the grill and slathering them with store bought sauce.  Shannon liked it well enough, but for me the results didn’t warrant even the minimal effort it required.  Part of the problem is that we’ve spent our entire adult life living in a city.  No backyard, no barbeque.  But now, man-style cooking over open flame is de rigueur.  So if I’m going to do it, I want to do it right.  And I want it to be awesome.

What I’ve learned is that great barbeque isn’t about the sauce.  It is about layering flavors.  Store bought sauce can actually be very good, but if what is underneath is a piece of dry, tasteless carcass, then the whole thing ends up being a waste of time.  But there isn’t just one secret to making great barbequed chicken, there are two . . . rub and mop.  The rub (a blend of dry spices) forms the first layer of flavor.  Brown sugar and paprika in equal parts (together with salt, garlic, onion powder and pepper for some kick) creates a sweet and smoky base that screams traditional barbeque.  Rub the spices on to the chicken and let them soak in for several hours before grilling.

The “mop” sauce, however, is a revelation.  Basting grilled meat with sugary barbeque sauce causes the outside to burn before the inside is done.  But a vinegar-based, sugarless mixture of spices can be applied throughout the cooking process, keeping the meat juicy and adding another layer of flavor.  Only in the last couple of minutes does the barbeque sauce come into play, getting seared into the meat right before it comes off the grill.  The final product . . . mmmmmmmm, beautiful barbeque.

Barbeque Rub (makes enough for several meals)
1 tbs brown sugar
1 tbs paprika
1 tbs salt
2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp cayenne

Mop Sauce
1/2 cup white vinegar
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp thyme

Barbeque Sauce – Stubb’s Spicy (or brand of your choice)

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Chris H. permalink
    July 10, 2010 2:31 pm

    John doesn’t grill either, so it’s down to me. I’m not usually very adventurous but I have done a butterflied leg of lamb and planked wild salmon…both delicious. I do rosemary sauteed potatoes and my awesome marinated onions for fajitas on the side burners of the gas grill . Other than that, it’s throw a couple of steaks on the tabletop charcoal grill. and hope for the best

    But I an printing out your recipes….and charcoal is a must for barbeque

  2. July 11, 2010 6:11 am

    having lived in Texas for the last 25 plus years I would say that you have figured out the secret to great BBQ…

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