Like any Southern girl, I love my BBQ chicken and unlike some, I'm not too fussy about it. I love it pulled, boneless or grilled on the bone. Mustard, vinegar or tomato based sauces all suit me just fine. I'll take the leg, breast, thigh or bone… In short, when it comes to BBQ chicken, I'm not prejudiced - I love it all!
That said, I don't have any outside space or a barbecue at home here in London, so up until recently, I've been relying on the kindness of both friends and strangers for my BBQ fix. This year I'm making a change and doing some oven BBQ at home. Not only is it convenient for those who don't have grills and gardens, but doing it this way is 100% weather-proof. It's not at all difficult and though there's always the option of buying a sauce from the grocery store, I find that making a sauce at home is fairly easy and well worth the results. A homemade sauce helps make up for the lack of charcoal or mesquite taste of doing it in the oven and there's usually enough sauce left over for subsequent meals, depending on how many you're feeding. Also, it's worth noting that this sauce stands on its own. If you're using an outdoor grill at home or heading to a friend's BBQ party, this is a great sauce to use on the grill!
As far as meat choices go, you can certainly use boneless cuts of chicken, however cooking the meat on the bone is going to yield a juicier, more succulent result. If you do decided to go boneless, it may effect the cooking time, depending on the size of the chicken pieces you're using. In the photo above, I've used two whole chicken legs, which comprises of thigh and drumstick together, however you can use any cut you like.
Chicken pieces on the bone (breasts, thighs, legs & drumsticks)
1 banana shallot, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons of kosher rock salt
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon mild chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons dried chili flakes
1 cup cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
280g tomato puree
1/4 cup molasses
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a baking tray with foil. Spray with a bit of non-stick cooking spray.
2. Skin the chicken by using a paper towel to grip the skin at the meatiest end and pulling back. Use a sharp knife to separate the skin from the joints as needed and cut off any remaining skin or fatty pieces.
3. Place the chicken pieces, bone side up, in the foil-lined tin and bake for 35 minutes.
4. While the chicken is baking, get started with the sauce. In a large saucepan, cook the shallot, salt and butter over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes before adding the garlic. Cook until all is tender, stirring occasionally throughout.
5. Add the smoked paprika, chili powder, dried chili flakes and a few generous grinds of black pepper. Stir and continue cooking for about another minute or two.
6. Add the water, vinegar, dark brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce and bring to a boil. When the mixture starts boiling, stir in the tomato puree and molasses with a wire whisk until completely smooth.
7. Boil the mixture gently, uncovered over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally.
8. When the chicken has baked for 35 minutes, remove it from the oven and turn in the pan so that it's bone side down. Brush the chicken generously with the sauce when it's ready and return to the hot oven to bake for another 15 to 20 minutes or until fully cooked.
9. Heat some of the remaining sauce and serve on the side. Leftover sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about a week.