This is my go-to summer meal to make at home with my wife and twin boys. A garlicky brine, rich tomato molasses and cool spiced yogurt give this barbecued chicken an intense depth of flavor.
Technique Tip: Be sure to sufficiently brine the chicken to increase the flavor profile of your finished product. Also, the meat must be at room temperature before cooking. This ensures even-cooking without charring the outside with an undercooked inside.
Swap Option: You can trade the chicken for pork tenderloin!
- One 3½ pound chicken, quartered
- 1 cup garlic cloves
- 1 quart water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup salt
- 12 ripe red garden tomatoes, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1 tablespoon hot paprika
- 2 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 cup blackstrap molasses
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup brined garlic cloves (see above), chopped
- 1/2 cup sherry vinegar
- 1 cup yogurt
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon fennel pollen or ground fennel seeds
- 2 limes, juiced
For the chicken:
Rinse the chicken in cold water and pat dry with a paper towel, transfer to a deep container large enough to hold the chicken and the brine.
Set aside in the refrigerator until the brine is ready.
For the garlic brine:
1. Combine the garlic and water in a medium size saucepan and simmer until the garlic is tender, about 30 minutes.
2. Add the salt and sugar and dissolve.
3. Strain the liquid and set aside the garlic for the tomato molasses.
4. Let the brine cool, then pour it over the chicken and transfer to the refrigerator and let chill in the liquid for 3 hours.
For the tomato molasses:
1. Place the tomatoes and the olive oil in a medium, heavy bottom sauce pot, season with the salt and cook over medium heat for 30-40 minutes, until most of the moisture has evaporated, stirring as needed to keep the tomatoes from sticking.
2. Add all remaining ingredients, except for the vinegar, and cook gently for 20 minutes to incorporate all of the seasonings.
3. Carefully transfer the sauce to a blender and process until smooth. Add the vinegar and adjust the seasoning with salt to taste.
4. Remove the chicken from the brine, discard the brine, and place the chicken in a bowl with 2 cups of the tomato molasses. Let sit at room temperature for I hour.
1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
2. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
3. Place the chicken pieces on the grill, skin side down, and let grill slowly, turning as needed to prevent the skin from burning.
4. Brush the chicken occasionally with the additional tomato molasses and cook for a good 20 minutes, until crispy and golden brown with some charred parts. Remove and let rest for a few minutes on a serving tray, covered with foil, until ready to serve.
For the spiced yogurt:
Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir together until smooth. Serve alongside the grilled chicken.