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Trisha Yearwood’s Barbecue Chicken Recipe and how it saved us from a million take out meals


If you are suffering from boredom and inertia in your weekday meals, I have found the perfect recipe for you to add into your repertoire.  Since the arrival of our third child, sweet Baby Hiatt, my time in the kitchen has been fractioned.  I see glimpses of the future where I will gain a little of that time back.  Reality for the moment means I am severely limited in time, energy, and creativity.  I realize Sweet Baby Hiatt (SBH), has passed the year and a half mark and is no longer a baby at all.  That said, I forgot how intensely one is required to watch daredevil, strong, pixie-like toddlers.  As my friend Sarah says, I’m neck deep in the “Don’t Blink” phase.  I think I have made this recipe every other week or at least every three weeks for more than the last year.  Maybe not a million, but it saved us a bunch of pizza takeouts and desperately unsatisfying sub sandwich meals.

Sometime during a late night baby wrangling session, I caught Trisha Yearwood on the Food Network showing off her daddy’s Barbecue Chicken Recipe [2].  The episode is sweet and outdoors and full of family and cooking, so basically, right up my alley.  Instantly, I knew I had found my way back in the kitchen.  Now, I admit to not really liking chicken very much.  I consider it a necessary evil for both variety and health reasons.  I also admit to not ever previously liking barbecued chicken.  I love a steak or a burger on the grill, but chicken always seems to fall victim to that horrible burned flavor.

The best thing about this recipe is it is easy, has a short ingredient list, and requires no obscure items.  You need a grill.  Mine’s charcoal – but I’m not particular.  You need a decent basting brush.  Spring for the silicone one [3] – those thinner floss/corn silk like ones don’t stand up to heat well.  In a pinch, I’m sure you can spoon on the sauce, your grill will just likely flare more.  Do not get confused and sub olive oil for the peanut – you will have a hot smoky mess.  Most importantly, do not be scared by the spices in this recipe.  This is a basting sauce –  almost none gets through the skin.  I swear Mom, even you, could handle the heat, but you might have to forgo eating the skin which is delicious.  My kids all eat this with no complaints about heat (only Q eats the skin – cause I can’t think of anything he does turn down).  It saves well and is great the next day.  If I ever lose this recipe, I might cry, which is why I’ve come back to the blog to document what I’ve been cooking.  ‘


Trisha Yearwood’s Barbecue Chicken Recipe

adapted slightly from her Food Network show (aka we don’t eat dark meat)

4 split chicken breasts (the bone in/skin on ones) – check Central Market, Whole Foods, Costco or Albertson’s – weirdly our Tom Thumb quit carrying any bone in chicken breasts

3 tbsp kosher salt (if you’re short on time, double the salt and half the brine time)

1 c. apple cider vinegar

3/4 c. peanut oil

1 tsp Tabasco

16 turns ground pepper

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1/4 c. water

Brine chicken in water with salt for six hours or overnight in fridge.  This step is helpful, but if you need to speed it up you can use lukewarm water with double the salt.  Do not skip entirely, however.

Heat your grill.  If you’re charcoal, you want your coals mostly white to avoid flareups- but make sure you have enough coals to last 50 min of grill time if required.  If you have a gas grill, I’d start with a medium high heated grill then turn down to medium after you add the chicken.

Turn on your fan/vent in your kitchen to make your barbecue sauce.  Add vinegar, oil, Tabasco, pepper, cayenne, and 1/4 c. water to a small saucepan.  Bring sauce to a boil while stirring, then take to your grill.

Place chicken skin side up on grill, baste with your sauce.  Check at 4-5 minutes for flare-ups.  (In case of flare-ups, move chicken away from flame source to an outer edge of grill-plate then further reduce heat if a gas grill.)   Baste 10 min later.  Turn 5 minutes later and baste the other side.  Turn 10 min later then baste again.  Turn  10 min later, baste, check temp with meat thermometer.  You are now at 40 minutes of cook time.  Depending on the size of your chicken you may be finished or need 10 more minutes.  Chicken needs to reach an internal temp of at least 165, then remove from grill and let rest 5 minutes before serving.  I serve with a light green salad and couscous or black beans.