Gluten-Free Barbecue Chicken


by Aug 1st, 2011 // Dinner

Gluten-Free Barbecue Chicken

Gluten Free Barbecue ChickenGrowing up in Texas and Oklahoma, I became accustomed to eating barbecue at least once a week. And by barbecue, I don’t mean “food cooked on the grill” as many of the coastal folks do, but eating meat slathered with a delicious tomato-based, hopefully a little spicy, gooey, sauce. My problem with eating barbecue now, is that there are so many different recipes out there, and many contain the killer gluten. Throwing soy sauce or malt vinegar into your barbecue sauce may be delicious, but it will hurt your celiac friends.

Luckily, I found an absolutely amazing way to make a good amount of sauce that you can use to grill up some meaty barbecue, and save the rest for the occasional dipping sauce craving. And by occasional, I mean “every Wednesday.”

Gluten Free Barbecue ChickenSince this recipe requires handling raw meat and lots of fire, I put my gal to work pulling the thyme leaves off the stem. I love this recipe because it’s basically thyme infused. First your brine uses the lovely herb, then your sauce requires it as well.

Gluten Free Barbecue ChickenYou can use one big skillet to gradually build the barbecue sauce. I wish you could smell that, it’s heavenly even before you throw in the tomato part of the recipe. Cooking bacon and thyme together is something I’m going to be doing more often. Savory bacon breakfast casserole anyone?

Gluten Free Barbecue ChickenWe decided to make an all drumstick chicken barbecue. Because that’s what the kids like, right? I’ve never seen so many drumsticks in one place! This is also incredibly fun if you’re feeding a lot of meat-eating kids. This way, no one fights over the drumstick. You’re going to be slathering all your chicken pieces, beef, burgers, and anything else with this sauce, I swear.

Gluten-Free Barbecue Chicken

adapted from The Food Network

Prep time: 2 1/2 hours (2 hours is non-active time) Cook time: 50 minutes


2 quarts water
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 garlic cloves, smashed with the side of a large knife
4 sprigs fresh thyme
6 drumsticks and thighs, still connected, bone in, skin on, about 10 ounces each (or do what we did and use 8 drumsticks)

1 slice bacon
1 bunch fresh thyme
Extra virgin olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 cups ketchup
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Mix the brine by combining the water, salt, sugar, garlic, and thyme. Transfer the brine to a 2-gallon sized re-sealable plastic bag. Add the chicken, close the bag and refrigerate 2 hours to allow the salt and seasonings to penetrate the chicken.

2. Meanwhile, cut your bacon into pieces and mix with thyme.

3. Heat about 2 tablespoons of oil in a large, deep, skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon and thyme and cook slowly 3 to 4 minutes to render the bacon fat and give the sauce a nice smoky taste.

4. Add the onion and garlic and cook slowly without coloring for 5 minutes.

5. Add the remaining ingredients, give the sauce a stir, and turn the heat down to low. Cook slowly for 20 minutes to meld the flavors. Once the sauce is done cooking, remove about 1 1/2 cups of the sauce and reserve for serving along side the chicken at the table.

6. Preheat oven 375 degrees F, or heat your grill to a medium high heat.

7. Take the chicken out of the brine, pat it dry on paper towels. Brush the chicken liberally, coating every part of the chicken with the sauce.

8. Arrange the chicken pieces on the preheated grill and cook, turn once mid-way, and cook for a total of 20 minutes. Chicken is done when the juices run clear. If you’re using an oven, cook the chicken for 15 minutes, remove it from the oven and then brush liberally, coating every inch of the legs with the barbecue sauce and then return to the oven for 25 to 30 more minutes, basting the chicken for a second time half way through remaining cooking time. Serve with extra sauce.

Makes: 8 to 10 pieces of chicken


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