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Brooks BBQ chicken is an upstate New York favorite. Here’s a copycat that happens to be genuine too.
An Upstate New York Favorite
If you’ve ever gone to a fundraiser or local fair in upstate New York, you’re sure to have enjoyed Brooks BBQ chicken. This chicken is a beloved favorite in the northern parts of the state.
The reason is simple–it’s got great flavor! There’s nothing really special about the ingredients since you probably have everything you need right in your pantry. In fact, I think you’ll find this quite surprising.
The Brooks people didn’t invent this way of doing chicken. As a matter of fact, the recipe existed for quite some time and there’s a bit of history attached to it.
While this chicken has come to be known as “Brooks” chicken, the recipe is quite old and was known simply as “Cornell chicken.”
The reason for that is the formula was invented by a professor at Cornell University. Cornell is the land-grant college in New York state and land-grant colleges deal with farming and agriculture.
Years ago when younger chickens were being marketed, the major complaint was they had no taste and were rubbery. Long story short, the professor came up with this marinade to make younger chickens taste better and have a better texture.
Just an aside–even though I used my gas grill, this tastes way better done with charcoal.
The marinade is the simplest thing to make.
My advice is to use your covered blender to make it. I thought my immersion blender would be perfect, but nope. I was glad it didn’t make TOO much mess before I switched to a standard blender.
A couple of changes I made to the original was I cut the salt down to half because I’m really not into salty stuff anymore. However, I give the original amount in the recipe but I’ll remind you there of what I did.
I also used half olive oil, because I’m a lover of the stuff. As for the egg, you can probably safely omit this. Frankly I don’t see the point even though I used it. Therefore, using it is up to you.
Copycat Brooks BBQ Chicken
- 4 lb whole chicken cut in half
- 2 cups apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup vegetable oil I used 1/2 olive oil & 1/2 vegetable oil
- 1 tbs poultry seasoning
- 3 tbs salt I used 1/2 the amount
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 egg
- Place all marinade ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Reserve about 1/2 cup for basting.
- Place the chicken halves in a large zippered freezer bag and pour the marinade over them. Seal the bag and place in the refrigerator at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
- Preheat your gas grill (or covered charcoal grill) to medium-high heat. Initially, you will brown the chicken over direct heat and finish the cooking over indirect heat. On a gas grill, this means moving the chicken to the UNLIT side of the grill then putting the cover down. On a charcoal grill this means that you move the coals to the periphery of the grill and place the chicken in the center where there's no coals under it, then placing the cover on the grill.
- Remove chicken from marinade and pat dry on paper towels. Discard used marinade.
- Cook the chicken, skin side down, over direct heat for about 5 minutes or until browning starts. Turn chicken and move it to the unlit side of the grill. Cover and cook for about 45 minutes, turning every so often and basting with reserved marinade, until juices run clear or registers 165F/75C on an instant-read thermometer.
- Tent with foil and let the chicken rest for 10 minutes.