Even though it’s still a little chilly out yet, I could not wait a single minute longer to grill! Are you anxious for the first piece of barbecued chicken hot off the grill, too? Well, wait no longer! Even if the weather isn’t ideal, this chicken is only finished on the grill after most of the cooking is done in the oven. So it’s till doable this time of year!
Years ago, back when I lived in Indiana, I bought my first bottle of Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce from the little corner meat market where Steve the Butcher had a few bottles sitting out as a new item on display. The next day, after trying it out on some ribs, I went back to buy some more to stock up, ya know 😉 , and someone beat me to it! He had sold out! This sauce was so new that it wasn’t available in the stores yet!
After BEGGING my regular grocer to order some too, Mike finally caved and said he’d order just a little and see how it sells. Needless to say, he kept it fully stocked after that. So did Steve. 😉 This sauce was instantly all the rave! Literally an overnight success!
Yes, this sauce is that good!
But before I get too far ahead of myself. Let’s start with the chicken. To me, you should always begin by seasoning well to get extra flavors into the skin and meat. I don’t measure this part, so I made sure I took a photo so you could see. I just sprinkle both sides with as much as I want. So you do the same. You really can’t mess this up, so don’t fret.
I then like to bake it until it’s very tender. I’ve cooked chicken on the grill from start to finish, but I actually prefer baking the pieces in a little water and juice for extra tender and moist. Never dry! This time, I spied a little bottle of apple juice, so into the pot it went! 😀
After baking until fall-off-the-bone tender and juicy, I got the grill going for the first time this year! BOY did that ever feel good! 😀 I was so excited to grill again!
Though I LOVE Sweet Baby Ray’s sauce, don’t get me wrong, I wanted to thin it just a bit. (It’s a very thick sauce, so you can use it as is, or there’s wiggle room to play! 😀 ) But what to add?? It already had a bit of apple flavor….so I went on a treasure hunt! 😉
And lookie what I found in the fridge! A half of a pitcher of freshly made sweet tea left! JACKPOT! It could work, right? I mean, coffee is used in many, many recipes, so why not tea? 😀 And, oh yeah baby, boy did it ever work! I think I’m on to a pretty good idea that will be repeated in many other recipes this summer! 😉 You can use bottled I’m sure, but if you’d like to make a pitcher of homemade, here’s a link to how I make it! (Southern Sweet Tea) Nothin’ beats a pitcher of homemade sweet tea!
So uncover the grill, check your tanks, and scrub the grates clean, because you’re going to want to have your first cookout this weekend! As you can see, we had quite a little summer celebration with my homemade mustard potato salad and blue ribbon baked beans! But cole slaw would also go extremely well with this, too! Just add your own favorite side dishes and be sure to call me! 😉 Have fun all, and enjoy the upcoming weekend! 😀
APPLE SWEET TEA BARBECUED CHICKEN
7-8 assorted pieces of bone in/skin on chicken
1 (8 oz.) bottle Mott’s Real Apple Juice, or your own favorite (1 cup)
1 cup water
salt, nice pinch (per side), to taste
fresh cracked black pepper (or coarse ground), as much as you like per side
garlic powder, light to medium dusting per side
paprika, light to medium dusting per side
Old Bay Seasoning, light dusting per side
1 cup Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce
1/2 cup sweet tea, homemade or bottled
In large heavy-bottomed roasting pan with lid, pour in apple juice and water. Season both sides of chicken with seasonings to taste, seasoning well. Place into pan pretty side-up. Place on lid and bake in 350 degree oven for 1 1/2 hours until very tender. Remove chicken to platter, tray or baking sheet lined with foil and sprayed lightly. Discard or save pan juices for another use.
In small glass pitcher or bowl, whisk together the barbecue sauce and sweet tea. Coat chicken pieces well on both sides.
Heat grill to high heat to get it nice and hot. While grill is heating, gather all of your grilling tools. (Tongs, wad of oil-soaked paper towel to oil grill grates, spoon or basting tools, mitts, ice cold beer, 😉 , etc.) *A clean tray isn’t needed because chicken is fully cooked and can be placed right back onto same surface.
When grill is fully hot, turn down heat to medium /medium-high, oil grates and place bbq sauce-coated chicken onto grill, pretty side down. Sear and cook sauce until nice grill marks. Baste top sides with more sauce while cooking. Turn to pretty sides-up, and baste with last of sauce while bottoms sear. (*3-5 minutes per side depending on your grill.) *Use a sharp spatula if small areas of the chicken want to stick.
Remove to same plate and let rest a few minutes before devouring.
*Also! This chicken is even better when you marinate it in sweet tea overnight! (Then season and bake according to my recipe.)