Well, blog fans, after a bit of a hiatus I’m BACK! It’s been a long few weeks for us as we were undergoing some apartment renovations and enjoying “inside camping”! Are you wondering what “inside camping” is…well, it means your entire apartment is packed into 1 room and you literally have a bed, 2 plates, and a section of the bare couch to sit on in between hotel stays when the water is turned off. No cooking, no baking, nothing but takeout food for weeks on end! I am thrilled to get back into the kitchen today and get cranking on some good summer eats! Oh how I’ve missed my little garden, fresh herbs and veggies and food that is served on a plate not in a takeout container!
So…back to the Traverse City Cherry BBQ Chicken! Over 4th of July weekend we visited my in-laws who have a fabulous river front cabin in Michigan. We ventured up to Traverse City to check out the Cherry Festival and I fell in love with this Spicy Cherry BBQ Sauce from Cherry Republic, a fabulous little shop in downtown Traverse City that is filled with everything cherry! I decided to BBQ chicken on the grill with this sauce and it was AMAZING! The key to successful BBQ chicken I’ve learned is patience! You need to be prepared for low and slow cooking…and of course a great BBQ sauce, like the Spicy Cherry BBQ sauce from Traverse City!
- 4 pounds of your favorite chicken parts (legs, thighs, wings, breasts), skin-on
- Vegetable oil
- 1 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce
- Coat the chicken pieces with vegetable oil and sprinkle salt over them on all sides. Prepare your grill for high, direct heat.
- Lay the chicken pieces skin side down on the hottest side of the grill in order to sear the skin side well. Grill for 5-10 minutes, depending on how hot the grill is (you do not want the chicken to burn). Once you have a good sear on one side, move the chicken pieces to the cooler side of the grill. If you are using a gas grill, maintain the flame on only one side of the grill, and move the chicken pieces to the cooler side, not directly over the flame.
- Reduce the temp to low or medium low (between 250 and 275 degrees F, no more than 300 degrees F). Cover the grill and cook undisturbed for 20-30 minutes.
- Turn the chicken pieces over and baste them with with your favorite barbecue sauce. Cover the grill again and allow to cook for another 15-20 minutes. Repeat, turning the chicken pieces over, basting them with sauce, covering, and cooking for another 10-30 minutes.
- The chicken is done when you the internal temperature of the chicken pieces are 165 degrees F for breasts and 170 degrees F for thighs, which you test by using a meat thermometer. If the chicken isn't done, turn the pieces over and continue to cook at a low temperature. If you want can finish with a sear on the hot side of the grill. To do this, put the pieces, skin side down, on the hot side of the grill. Allow them to sear and blacken slightly for a minute or two.
- Paint with more barbecue sauce and serve.
- Chicken thighs and legs will hold up better to long, slow heat than will breasts which can more easily dry out. If you barbecue breasts, keep them on the coolest part of the grill.
- This recipe assumes fairly large chicken pieces (like the main pieces from a 4 to 5 pound whole chicken). If you are working with smaller chicken pieces, they may require a shorter cooking time. If you are cooking wings, they too may be done before the other larger pieces.
- Even if you do not plan on eating the chicken skin, it's best to barbecue it with it on. The skin will protect the chicken pieces from drying out.