Classic Barbecued Chicken

Classic Barbecued Chicken

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Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes
Servings: 6 Serves 6.
Ancho chilies—dried poblano peppers—have a sweet, earthy flavor with just a touch of heat.


  • 1 ancho chili, seeded and cut into pieces
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 chickens, each about 3 1/2 lb., cut into serving pieces

For the barbecue sauce:

  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup steak sauce
  • 2 Tbs. cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar


In a small heatproof bowl, combine the ancho chili and boiling water. Let stand until the chili has softened, about 20 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the liquid.

In a food processor or blender, combine the softened ancho chili, the reserved liquid and the olive oil. Process until a thick, smooth paste forms. Rub the chicken with the paste and place in a shallow nonaluminum dish. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or for up to 24 hours. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before grilling.

Meanwhile, make the sauce: In a saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the ketchup, water, Worcestershire sauce, steak sauce, vinegar and brown sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover partially and simmer until thickened slightly, about 20 minutes. Set aside.

Prepare a hot fire for direct-heat cooking in a covered grill. Position the grill rack 4 to 6 inches above the fire.

Place the drumsticks and thighs on the center of the rack. Cover the grill and open the vents halfway. Cook, turning once, until browned, about 7 minutes on each side. Move drumsticks and thighs to the outer edges of the rack, and place the breasts and wings in the center. Cover and cook until browned, about 8 minutes. Turn over all the pieces and continue to cook until the juices run clear when a thigh is pierced, about 8 minutes more.

Meanwhile, reheat the barbecue sauce. Transfer 1/2 cup of the sauce to a small bowl.

Brush the chicken with 1/4 cup of the reserved barbecue sauce. Turn over the chicken and brush with the remaining 1/4 cup sauce. Cook, uncovered, turning once, until crisp, about 2 minutes on each side. Transfer chicken to a platter and serve. Pass the remaining sauce at the table.
Serves 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Lifestyles Series, Backyard Barbecues, by Phillip Stephen Schulz (Time-Life Books, 1999).
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