Friday, April 15, 2011

Southern-Style Ketchup-Free Barbecued Chicken Article

A warm Kissing the Cook greeting to new subscriber Catherine. Welcome!

Several weeks ago, I posted two very special recipes, one for Stuffed Porcupines and one for Pineapple Pudding Pie.  Both were based on recipes from the cooking notebook of my wife’s “Grandma Texas.” As I wrote at the time, this is no ordinary cooking notebook. It’s a decades-old tablet notebook from the Waco School System. (Lillian was from Meridian, a small town just outside of Waco.) The notebook’s lined pages reach across time with wonderful recipes written in pencil by a genuine Texas grandma I never got to meet. If you’re looking for Southern cooking, it’s hard to get more authentic – or more meaningful - than that.

And now we draw again from this cherished source. This week’s Texas treasure: Southern Style Ketchup-Free Barbecued Chicken.

As a Jersey guy who had never heard of ketchup-free barbecue sauce, I admit to being surprised at first. However, after some exhaustive research (ok, I Googled “barbecue sauce” and spent a few minutes reading what came up) I found that many real Southern barbecue sauces are made without ketchup. They’re a bit thinner than the bottled kind, while still managing to keep a great barbecue taste.

A serving note regarding the photo at right: before putting the browned chicken in the baking pan, I covered the bottom of the baking pan with a mixture of onions, carrots and celery, then placed the chicken on top of that and added the sauce as described in the recipe below. In this way the chicken absorbed a bit of the vegetable flavor, and the vegetables absorbed some of the chicken and barbecue sauce flavor. After plating the chicken (in this case, on home-made noodles), I served the onion, carrots and celery as the vegetable side.

This makes three or four servings, depending on the size of your chicken. (Boning a 4-1/2 pound chicken gave me about 2-1/2 pounds of chicken parts, which was about 4 servings.)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Heat some olive oil and butter substitute in a pan. When it’s hot, brown about 2-1/2 pounds of chicken on both sides. (Just brown the chicken; don’t cook it completely, since it’s going to bake some more.) When the chicken is done, set it aside and use some balsamic vinegar to deglaze the pan. Reserve the deglazing liquid, and add enough water to it to make ½ cup total.

Put the water-deglazing liquid mixture in a saucepan, and combine with the remaining sauce ingredients: 1/2 cup honey; 1 teaspoon salt; a pinch of red pepper; 1/2 teaspoon black pepper; ¾ teaspoon of dry mustard; 1/2 teaspoon chili powder; 2 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar (plus additional for deglazing); 1/4 teaspoon of Tabasco; 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce; 2 tablespoons of finely chopped onion; 1 teaspoon of minced garlic; and the juice of ½ lemon. Heat the mixture over medium heat until just boiling, then lower the heat and simmer for five minutes.

When the sauce has finished simmering, put the chicken in a baking dish and pour the sauce over it. Cover and let steam in the oven till the chicken is cooked through, about 1-1/4 hours. Serve it with a vegetable and some rice, potatoes or pasta, and you’re all set for a delicious dinner. (Tastes pretty good as leftovers for lunch the next day, too!)
I hope you enjoy this special dish. As always, if you’d like a cookbook-style, notebook-ready copy of this or any other Kissing the Cook recipe, just let me know in a comment, e-mail, pony express, etc.

See you next week! Till then, stay well, keep it about the food, and always remember to kiss the cook. ;-)


  1. The chicken looks good. I, too, love the old recipes.

  2. You bet southern barbecue sauce doesn't have ketchup! It's more about the mustard in the Carolinas for sure. This looks delicious! Now I'm off the check out your recipe for porcupine. I have several on hand and don't know what to do with them. = )


  3. Thanks, Martha and Bonnie. I always love that feeling when food is so much more than something that tastes good. It can become almost like the Christmas tree ornament you take out of the storage box every year that connects you again to someone, something, or someplace very special - the best ingredient of all. (And I am hoping Bonnie will not be too disappointed that stuffed porcupines are meatballs. lol)

  4. Nostalgia makes food seem more comforting. The recipe looks good.

  5. Thank you! Meaning really is the ultimate seasoning, isn't it?