Grilled Chicken with Root Beer BBQ Sauce (Raichlin)


Jane Cherry

TVWBB All-Star
Originally from Bon Appetit, July 2001

1 T. Salt
1 T. Hungarian Sweet Paprika
1 T. Brown Sugar
2 t. ground black pepper
1/4 t. celery seed
2 3.5 to 4 pound chickens, halved, backbones removed (I use leg quarters, as many as will fit on your grill, about 10-12)
Mix first five ingredients in a bowl. Reserve 4 t. of rub for the mop. Rub remaining spice mixture over chicken. Refrigerate one hour.

1 c. water
3/4 c. distilled white vinegar
1/4 c. Worcestershire sauce
Mix ingredients with the 4 t. of spice mixture to blend.
45 charcoal briquettes
2 cups hickory chips, soaked 1 hour in water to cover (I use orange wood chunks or French Oak chunks for this, or wood of your choice)

Root Beer BBQ Sauce:
1 c. root beer
1 c. ketchup
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
1/4 c. fresh orange juice
3 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 T. packed brown sugar
1 T. mild flavored molasses
1 t. liquid smoke
1/2 t. grated lemon peel
1/2 t. ground ginger
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. onion powder
Combine all ingredients in heavy medium saucepan. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring and reduce to medium low until reduced to 1 1/2 cups, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Cool. Can be made 2 weeks ahead, but I've had it last for months!

Prepare grill for indirect cooking method, banking coals at one end of kettle. Scatter one cup of chips on coals. (I use about 3 small chunks of soaked wood). Arrange chicken skin side up above a water filled loaf pan set on bottom rack. Set lid vent over chicken. Cook chicken between 275 and 325 for about 1 hour and 25 minutes. Mop chicken every 15 minutes (I don't start doing this until after 45 minutes on the grill, and cook at 300-325).

When chicken is almost done, brush chicken with BBQ sauce. Cook chicken until done, and then in batches, move chicken over direct heat to sizzle the sauce and brown. You can add more sauce and turn a time or two. I always add more sauce after removing the chicken to the plate.

Cut chicken into quarters to serve and pass remaining sauce separately.

I have been making this since it came out, and is the requested birthday meal of my husband. Not sure if it's in one of his books or not. For crispier skin, omit the water pan.