Cornell Chicken Barbecue Sauce
This recipe appears in a vintage booklet handed to me by Baker’s widow Jackie. Its title: Barbecued Chicken and Other Meats. There are also detailed instructions with drawings showing how to create the Baker-designed barbecue designed for his cooking method. It can be accessed online here.
I have used this recipe with some success. However, the chicken that resulted was a pale imitation of the delectable birds cooked by Jeff Stansted, Baker’s son-in-law, at a charity barbecue in North Lansing earlier this month. He admits the method works much better when grilling large quantities of chicken on the Baker-designed double grill. For the real thing, it’s worth visiting the New York State Fair held annually in Syracuse in late August where the family has operated an eatery called Baker’s Chicken Coop for more than 60 years. Here, it is known to many as “State Fair Chicken.”
This recipe makes enough basting sauce for 5 whole chickens but can be halved. Jeff insists that small chickens work best – 2½-lb birds are ideal. The Baker method involves removing the back from each chicken (i.e. butterflying them), then splitting each chicken in half lengthwise.
Heat charcoal in barbecue until flames and smoke disappear but coals are still hot. Turn chicken with tongs about every 10 minutes, basting with each turn. Cook until wing separates easily and meat is cooked through, about 1 hour. You can douse flames which may flare up from dripping fat with a water bottle.
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups cider vinegar
3 tbsp kosher salt
1 tbsp poultry seasoning
½ tsp pepper
In large bowl, whisk egg. Add oil; whisk again. Add remaining ingredients; whisk together until combined. Store leftover sauce in fridge.
Makes enough for 5 small chickens (10 halves).