Welcome Labour Day weekend! Just a few more days before the neighbourhood kids are chasing school buses and the autumn brings that wonderful cool, crisp air to our yard. Edie, my oldest, is another year away from her kindergarten start but we still feel the effects of change as soon as this holiday ends: play dates are few and the park offers an eery quiet. Although my girls are not yet enrolled in school, this holiday weekend always brings back that gut ball of excitement, nervousness, anxiety I felt myself year after year, right before that first day back to school. For summers come and summers gone let’s laugh with friends and family, bask in some more sunlight and make some damn fine BBQ chicken this holiday weekend.
When I was a young teen I was a .. umm.. ahhh.. some would say “hellion”, so the decision was made for me to make the move from my Mom’s house in the quaint small town of Haliburton, ON, to my Dad’s house in a not-so-welcoming neighborhood in the City of Mississauga. It was a terrifying first day of school that year. Going from riding the school bus with all of your friends and classmates to entering through metal detector doors alongside the gang-bangers and Barbies. I quickly found a new identity with Gwen Stefani inspired belly tops with baggy Dickies, a brick-like pager hanging down, spiral curl perm, dollar store fake nails and that thick brown eye goop used as lip liner. I said things like “da bomb” and “guy” with that annoying tooth kiss to go along with it and I always seemed to have a finger of pure attitude waving in the face of anyone who would take it. It sends shivers down my spine just thinking of what kind of teenage karma I have coming my way.
Isn’t it funny how a simple change in the temperature can so quickly flood our minds with these memories? Especially these days when I can never seem to remember why I walked into a room. Seriously, I’m losing my mind. Oh well. At least I have the memories and one-helluva-great BBQ Chicken recipe 😉
Ultimate BBQ Chicken
Inspired by Tyler Florence @ The Food Network
- 2 quarts water
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed with the side of a large knife
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 6 chicken legs and thighs, still connected, bone in, skin on, about 10 ounces each
- 1 slice bacon
- 1 bunch fresh thyme
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 cups ketchup
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 2 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon dry mustard
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika or smoked paprika if available
- Freshly ground black pepper
For the brine, in a mixing bowl combine the water, salt, sugar, garlic, and thyme. Transfer the brine to a 2-gallon sized re-sealable plastic bag. Add the chicken, close the bag and refrigerate 2 hours to allow the salt and seasonings to penetrate the chicken. Meanwhile, make the sauce. Wrap the bacon around the bunch of thyme and tie with kitchen twine so you have a nice bundle. Heat about 2 tablespoons of oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the thyme and cook slowly 3 to 4 minutes to render the bacon fat and give the sauce a nice smoky taste. Add the onion and garlic and cook slowly without coloring for 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, give the sauce a stir, and turn the heat down to low. Cook slowly for 20 minutes to meld the flavors. Once the sauce is done cooking, remove about 1 1/2 cups of the sauce and reserve for serving along side the chicken at the table. The rest of the barbecue sauce will be used for basing the legs.
Preheat your barbecue to a medium heat. Take a few paper towels and fold them several times to make a thick square. Blot a small amount of oil on the paper towel and carefully and quickly wipe the hot grates of the grill to make a nonstick surface. Take the chicken out of the brine, pat it dry on paper towels. Arrange the chicken pieces on the preheated grill and cook, turn once mid-way, and cook for a total of 30 minutes. Brush liberally, coating every inch of the legs with the barbecue sauce at least twice while cooking. Serve with extra sauce.
Reminiscing aside, enjoy your holiday weekend! Be sure to barbeque a-plenty and play outside often. Fall is coming – and I can’t wait to bake it, write it and taste it with you. xo