I really like cookout or BBQ food; unfortunately, living in an apartment can make that really tough. Between a limited number of grills and not really being able to let things cook for long times, I have to find other ways. Baking makes for a pretty sure-fire bet when you are limited by equipment. Chicken definitely bakes well so the only thing you maybe loose is some char or smokiness.
I tried a few new techniques for this baked BBQ chicken to experiment. Thankfully everything worked out great. So if you have the time and want to try something new, I highly recommend these.
First, we ended up breaking down the chicken ourselves into its parts. We had bought a whole chicken thinking maybe we’d roast it. In the end we decided to do this and thought parts would be easier. My resident butcher (aka Rob) took care of all of this. He had tried this a few times before and has definitely learned because the parts were perfect! You can find tips and videos all over the place on how to do this.
The next new thing is really one of the biggest parts of this recipe. We tried a buttermilk brine on the chicken. Being a little acidic, buttermilk acts like any other brine or marinade by breaking down some of the chicken proteins to make it more tender and juicy. Buttermilk also adds some richness and browns nicely when baked.
Last, but not least, is Rob’s BBQ sauce. Rob loves making these kinds of sauces since he can really play around with flavors. He typically starts with a tomato base (he is not a vinegar base fan) and then adds to that. He has made sweet style sauces in the past, but for this one he wanted to add the sweetness with some flavor. So he used muddled blackberries in the sauce. It added a subtle flavor and sweetness that was to my liking for sure.
We paired this with some baked mac and cheese. It was just such a natural pairing, I mean every BBQ place has mac and cheese. We went back to basics on this one with fontina and gruyere for the cheese mix.
Baked BBQ Chicken
- 1 Chicken broken down to parts
- 2.5 Cups Buttermilk
- 2 Tsp Salt
- 1 Tbs Whole Peppercorns
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 1 Tsp Paprika
- 1 Tsp Garlic Powder
- 1 Tsp Onion Powder
- 1/2 Tsp Cayenne
- 2 Cups Ketchup
- 1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
- 1 Cup Blackberries muddled
- 1 Tbs Honey
- 1 Tbs Worcestershire Sauce
- 1.5 Tbs Dijon
- Combine all of the ingredients for the brine.
- In a large plastic bag, combine the chicken parts and the brine.
- Refrigerate for between 6-24 hours (8-10 is probably the normal).
- Remove the chicken from the bag and allow to drip dry at room temp for at least 1 hour (2 is preferable).
- Preheat the oven to 375F.
- Pat the chicken to remove excess brine prior to baking. Salt/pepper before baking as well.
- Bake the chicken for 25-30 minutes.
- Combine the ingredients for the BBQ sauce in a small sauce pan. Bring to a simmer then allow to reduce over a low heat for about 15-20 minutes.
- Slather the sauce over the chicken and bake for another 10 minutes. You may need to apply more sauce about half way through.