Many years ago, a local, family owned business called Chiavetta's started up, doing catered chicken BBQs. http://www.chiavettas.com/
They have became very popular, cooking chicken dinners at churches and volunteer fire halls as fund raisers. In fact, they became so popular, the local supermarkets started selling their marinade. I've been buying it for years and have spread the word and marinade to several WLDGers, taking jugs of it to offlines and cooking with it at all the NiagaraCOOLs. Well, because of this, two problems have developed. First of all, by transporting several jugs around the country means I have less room in my truck for my home made wines (which I give away) and secondly, the price has more than doubled over the past few years; now up to $5.00 per half gallon. So, I decided to come up with my own version.
In the meantime, the ladies auxiliary of one of the volunteer fire companies has been making a chicken BBQ every year that is also very good, but somewhat different. They use a recipe that has been posted online from Cornell, but it is also much lighter in color. Here it is:Cornell Chicken Barbecue Sauce
1 cup Cooking oil
1 pint Cider vinegar
3 tablespoon Salt
1 tablespoon Poultry seasoning
1/2 teaspoon Pepper
Beat the egg; add the oil and beat again. Add other ingredients and stir. Brush on chicken halves several times during cooking, but don't use the mixture again on cooked chicken. Makes enough for 10 chicken halves.
I started with the above recipe and compared it with the ingredients on the jug of Chiavetta's list: vinegar, salt, spices, fresh garlic, xanthum gum. Drop the oil, as it leads to flare ups on the grill. I figure the egg and xanthum gum are both for thickening, so I decided on corn starch and added a few more spices that I thought would work. So, yesterday, I made up a batch. The result was slightly lighter in color and slightly lighter in consistency. I marinated two batches of chicken thighs for 3 hours, one in my version and one in original Chiavetta's. To avoid confusion and inconsistency on the grill I place the thighs on oven broiler pan and cooked them in a 375 degree oven for an hour. One of my sons joined me for last night's dinner and I gave him one piece of each; a blind tasting. He said the two were very similar and very good (both would have been better on the grill) but, he couldn't tell which one was the original, but the one I made was a bit spicier and preferred it. I agreed with him. I think the Ginger and Mustard are the difference. Here's the recipe:Howie’s Chicken Marinade
2 quarts Vinegar (I used 2 cups cider and 6 cups distilled, because that is what I had, but I think all distilled would be fine)
1/2 cup Salt
1/4 cup Pepper
1 head of Garlic - peeled
2 tablespoons Ground Ginger
2 tablespoons Ground Mustard Powder
1 teaspoon Ground Cloves
1/2 cup Poultry Seasoning *
2 tablespoons Cornstarch
Place garlic cloves, all the dry ingredients and 2 cups of vinegar in a blender and blend on high for a minute or so. Pour the mixture into a saucepan and heat over med-low, stirring, until it starts to boil and the cornstarch thickens up the mixture. Remove from heat and mix with remaining 6 cups of vinegar and allow it to cool. Store in the used vinegar bottle until ready to use.
Place chicken pieces in ziplock bag. I like to use leg quarters, back removed (save backs for soup), and pull the skin down around the “ankle?” while marinating and then pull the skin back up over the meat before cooking. Shake the marinade bottle vigorously and add enough of the marinade to generously cover the chicken pieces, squeeze as much air out of the bag as you can, close it and marinate in the fridge for 3-6 hours. Cook slowly on a grill with the chicken raised up or the coals lowered, depending on your grill type. Baste with the leftover marinade during cooking.
* - substitute for Poultry Seasoning
1/4 cup rubbed sage
2 tablespoon dried thyme
2 tablespoon dried marjoram
1 teaspoon ground cloves