Cornell-Chicken-Featured

Cornell BBQ Chicken!

As of this past Sunday, summer is officially over – punctuated by the first day that could potentially pass as brisk. We spent a week at the Outer Banks (Hi! I’m really bad at updating the blog when I’m on vacation!) and Sunday was the day we sullenly returned, my spirits lifted only by the fact that I didn’t break an upper lip sweat immediately upon exiting my car.

The changing of seasons in my house usually consists of massive house cleaning, sifting through summer wardrobes for items to donate to Goodwill and then hours of mental gymnastics about whether I think I’ll ever wear that t-shirt from college again, finally deciding that I probably won’t but then getting all sentimental about where and when that shirt came to be a part of my wardrobe and somehow it lives to see another year. NOT THIS YEAR. This year things are different.

This year I actually have TIME to sort through EVERYTHING and also a complete lack of SPACE to store ANYTHING, and finally a complete and total *cough* lackofdisposableincome *cough*, which will hopefully be remedied by selling some of these (never worn!) items that were doomed from the start. The hoarder’s trifecta.

So let me tell you what Fall is not around this house: Pumpkin Spice obsessed. My apologies if you’re a fan of the ubiquitous “flavor” (if I deign to even call it that) that was at one time a product of actual pumpkins and actual spices baked into pies and not much else, but is now a bonafide non-food flavor syrup that is added to just about every item that could act as a vehicle for flavor or scent. Call me a contrarian (I really totally am) or a food snob (I’m very much not), but Pumpkin Spice – I’m just not that into you.

Last week we went to the beach. While at the beach we ate like KINGS. There was this place called I Got Your Crabs (seriously) that had THE BEST crabs I have ever had the privilege of slicing my hands open on sharp-ass crab shells for. Yes, even better than Maryland crabs. Crabs so big that it took ONLY ONE to fill me up and a full 45 minutes to pick.i-got-your-crabs

These things were serious business. We ate crabs no less than 4 times that week. After a particularly delicious run-in with the massive crustaceans and a metric ton of melted butter, I finally came to the realization (or was no longer able to deny) that I may be *gasp* lactose intolerant.

You guys. This is NOT OKAY. This body runs on 95% cheese. I’m utterly (udderly) beside myself here. I’ve been trying to be dairy-free the past few days, but cow’s milk is so freakin’ ingrained in my psyche that I just instinctively still ate dairy at every single meal even though I was expending active brain energy on not eating dairy. Bah. Feh. The road ahead is bleak, friends.

pray for mojo

The above has zero bearing on the point of today’s post. Forgive me! It’s been awhile since we last chatted so I have all these rant-y observational humor-y thoughts floating around my noggin that I must get out into the ether before I start yelling at strangers in public (WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH AIRLINE PEANUTS?). So, anyway. On one of the days that we weren’t rolling around in piles of crabs like Scrooge McDuck in his mountain of gold, I made my take on Cornell BBQ Chicken. My family made the original Cornell recipe at every bbq when I was growing up and there’s nothing else out there like it.

I’ve modified the recipe a bit to cut back on salt and oil. In the original recipe, it was easy to end up with overly salty chicken if you marinated for too long or basted too much. With this version, the amount of salt is just right to complement the chicken without overwhelming and you no longer have to play this should I or shouldn’t I basting game – baste to your hearts content and this is pretty much guaranteed to never come out over-salted. Also, with the original recipe measurements, the amount of oil called for usually caused my grill to mercilessly flame up, often burning the crap out of the skin, both mine and the chicken’s (it still tasted good anyway). By reducing the amount of oil, I’ve made this version several times over with nary an errant flame!

While I absolutely love fall, I am a little sad to see summer go. You can bet I’ll be grilling as often as possible while we still have some warmth!


cornell-chicken-watermarked

Elizabeth's Modified Cornell BBQ Chicken
 
Ingredients
  • 1 Tbsp poultry seasoning
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup sunflower oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 chicken, split into quarters
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients except chicken in blender, and blend until mixture is emulsified (it'll turn white when ready). This step is important! The marinade MUST be blended to ensure emulsification.
  2. Place chicken parts in a large ziploc bag and pour marinade over chicken. Seal the bag, squeezing any air out to ensure marinade is touching all parts of the chicken.
  3. Marinade for at least one hour, and not longer than 3. The longer you marinate, the saltier your chicken will be.
  4. When finished marinating, reserve some of the liquid to baste the chicken while grilling. If you worry about cross contamination, feel free to boil the liquid before using it to baste, but beware your house will smell like hot vinegar, which is never a good thing.
  5. Fire up your grill and make sure you arrange coals/your burners so that you have a hot side and a cooler side.
  6. Grill chicken over hot coals, and move to cooler side if flare-ups occur. Turn chicken frequently and baste often with the marinating liquid. Refrain from basting in the last few minutes of cooking to avoid raw chicken cross-contamination.
  7. Your chicken is done when skin is brown and crispy and internal temperature reaches 165 or above.
Notes
This recipe is best made with bone-in skin-on chicken. It will technically work with skinless but I wouldn't recommend it. The beauty of the marinade is how the egg helps it cling to the chicken skin, resulting in crispy deliciousness when grilled.
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Elizabeth
Blogger at Merit + Fork
The Merit of Merit + Fork, Elizabeth's posts are driven by her innate need to just make stuff.

9 Comments

  • Top 40 Paleo Game Day Recipes - Dr. Anthony Gustin

    07.03.2017 at 02:45 Reply

    […] Cornell BBQ Chicken by Merit + Fork […]

  • Audrey V

    22.09.2014 at 14:03 Reply

    My husband is from upstate NY, and his mom makes this recipe, they call it Firemen’s Chicken because the Firemen in their town always BBQed chicken this way. The weird thing they do, however, is they boil the chicken first, then marinate it, then finish it on the grill. I’m going to try it your way. Thanks!

    • Elizabeth

      22.09.2014 at 14:21 Reply

      That’s so interesting, I’ve never heard of that method before! Hope you enjoy the recipe :)

  • Aunt Karen

    16.09.2014 at 20:02 Reply

    Hi Elizabeth!! I’m loving this post and am going to try your new version…looking forward to the lower salt. I agree that marinating for too long can make it a bit too salty. Miguel likes it salty and, since he has recently become the BBQ chef around here, I’m going to have to convince him to leave out one tbs!! It’s neat how this recipe has survived the years (It’s a classic!) and it makes me so happy to know it lives on in another generation. I encourage all your readers to try it. Like you say, it’s so easy and yet so tasty. Yum!! :)

    • Elizabeth

      17.09.2014 at 15:37 Reply

      Hi Aunt Karen! So happy you liked the post :). Like Uncle Miguel I like it salty too, but I find that this way is a bit kinder to my body ;). Miss and love you! Thank you SO much for reading xoxo.

  • D

    16.09.2014 at 13:00 Reply

    pumpkin has been overdone and played out. it was all good when it was limited to candles and the occasional pie. but now I want to tell everyone, “don’t let Starbucks f*ck with yo seasons!” no one should ever want a pumpkin latte because sweet, delicious coffee needs no modifiers.

    • Elizabeth

      16.09.2014 at 13:05 Reply

      AMEN. I knew there had to be more of us pumpkin h8ers out there! Love it girl.

  • Heather @ Cook It Up Paleo

    16.09.2014 at 10:47 Reply

    This looks delicious!! I love anything grilled.

    • Elizabeth

      16.09.2014 at 10:58 Reply

      Thanks Heather! You have to try it. It’s so simple but the flavor is unreal!

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