I made barbecue chicken a few days ago, and instead of grabbing one of the four million delicious bottled options in my pantry (can someone explain to me why I have four million bottles of barbecue sauce in my pantry?) I decided just to whip up my own. Delicious storebought barbecue sauces are available everywhere, and I tend to think it’s one of those convenience foods that’s often just as good as something you can make at home. Still, the first time I made my own barbecue sauce (it was a necessity; I’d brought home five pounds of brisket and sausage from our local barbecue joint and discovered that we were plum out of sauce at the house, which is probably why I felt the need to stockpile my pantry with four million bottles. Mystery solved!) it was surprisingly good. Most of the time, I still grab a bottle from the pantry. But when time permits, it really is fun to whip up a batch from scratch. The great thing about making your own sauce is, you can churn out exactly the sauce you want.
And it makes you feel empowered. A nice little added benefit.
I like barbecue sauce that’s very vinegary and very sweet at the same time. I like it dark and flavorful. And I like it spicy.
Here’s how I make it.
Begin with a bunch of chicken. I’m a dark meat girl, and I love legs. Oh, how I love legs. But you can do thighs, too. You can also do both. Or you can do neither. You can do breasts, if you prefer white meat. But if you do breasts, please do bone-in breasts with the skin…not the boneless, skinless buttheads. Or you can if you want. Or you can’t if you don’t want. Or you can’t not if you don’t not want.
Never mind. In any event, throw the chicken onto a pan like the one you see above (so the grease can drain) and roast them in a 425 degree oven for about twenty minutes.
Can you guess what it is?
And here’s why I used it: it’s smoky. There are some things like this that I’d just spike with a little Liquid Smoke (my brisket recipe has it) but I like the tangy red spice of the adobo sauce. It adds a smokiness and a spiciness at once, but the spiciness isn’t overwhelming. It’s like adding chipotles without adding chipotles.
And a note: I added enough vinegar to really taste that bite, but you can certainly pull back on this quantity.
Back to the Chicken: After the chicken has roasted 20 minutes, crank up the broiler to high and broil the chicken for 5 minutes, just to give it a little color on top. Then remove the chicken from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. The chicken is done at this point, but we’re going to return it to the oven with the sauce in a second.
Be sure to play with the barbecue sauce to make it your own: spice it up or down, depending on how you like it. Add diced jalapenos to the sauce, or whiskey, or maple syrup, or different spices. It’s all yours, baby.
Barbecue Chicken Legs
- 10 Minutes
- COOK TIME:
- 25 Minutes
- 9 Servings
- 18 whole Chicken Legs
- 1 Tablespoon Canola Oil
- 1/4 whole Onion, Diced
- 2 cloves Garlic, Minced
- 1 cup Ketchup
- 1/4 cup Packed Brown Sugar
- 2 Tablespoons (additional) Brown Sugar
- 4 Tablespoons Distilled Vinegar (less To Taste)
- 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
- 1/3 cup Molasses
- 4 Tablespoons Chipotle Adobo Sauce (the Adobo Sauce Chipotle Peppers Are Packed In)
- Dash Of Salt
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place chicken legs on a broiler pan or any pan with a rack, then roast for 20 minutes.
While the chicken is roasting, heat canola oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion and garlic, and cook for five minutes, stirring, being careful not to burn them.
Reduce heat to low. Add all remaining ingredients and stir. Allow to simmer while the chicken roasts. Taste after simmering and add whatever ingredient it needs (more spice, more sugar, etc.)
After 20 minutes of roasting, crank on the broiler to get a little color on the legs. Broil for five minutes.
Remove chicken legs from oven. Reduce oven to 350 degrees. With tongs, dip each chicken leg into the sauce, submerging completely. Place back onto the pan. After all chicken is coated, return pan to oven for five minutes, or until hot and sizzling.
Remove from oven. Brush/dab generously with remaining sauce. Allow chicken to sit a few minutes before serving.