Happy National Barbecue Day!

If you didn’t have plans to put charred, dead animals drenched in tomato-based product into your face today, then you, sir or madame, are no patriot.

It’s days like these that make me sad to be a city dweller.  My back porch could probably support a mini-weber, but…

and to be fair, if your porch is this size –

it’s really only about big enough to sit on the stoop and have a beer which is exactly what I did

I once was appalled at the idea of drinking at home alone. Then some sage woman said to me, “When you’ve lived alone as long as I have, it would be weird to *not* have the occasional drink at home”. It’s been years, people. Years.  You’d have to be real, real special to convince me to cohabitate, apparently. Unless you have a furry tail.  Then we can negotiate.

before I started cooking this –

Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches with Roasted Garlic BLT Potato Salad

Servings 3-4
Time – 2 1/2 hours, active time @ 1 hour (salad can be done ahead)

2 saddle chicken legs (that’s all I had, you could use the whole chicken)
1/2 cup salt
Pepper to taste
2 tablespoons butter
Bourbon Barbecue Sauce (recipe follows)
bread o’ choice

First, I brined my chicken for about an hour.   I combined the half cup salt with 2 quarts water.  If you’re using the whole chicken double those amounts.

I stir mine with a pig spatula…

Put the chicken in and make sure it’s submerged.

There is no way to make raw chicken look good. Prove me wrong,people, prove me wrong.

While the chicken is brining, start prepping your

Roasted Garlic BLT Potato Salad

1 head roasted garlic
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup veg oil
half a lemon, juiced
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1 1/2 – 2 lbs mix of yukon gold and red potatoes
6 strips of bacon, small dice
2 small sized tomatoes, small dice
spinach, chiffonade
apple cider vinegar to taste
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375. Cut the top of a head of garlic, place in a ramekin or oven-proof container, and cover almost to the top with veg oil.  Sprinkle salt and pepper on the top of the garlic head. Cover ramekin with foil.

Roast in the oven for @ 1 hour, or until golden.

Allow to cool. Pour garlic-infused oil into measuring cup and add regular veg oil as necessary to get to 1/2 cup.

Meanwhile, take your chicken out of the brine. Pat it dry.  Put it in a foil lined sheet pan (I don’t want to clean chicken gunk off the bottom of a pan, do you?), rub with butter, both under and on top of the skin.  Sprinkle with pepper and a teensy, weensy bit more salt.

Seriously, people, I keep trying but it’s still just raw chicken…

Put in oven for @ 45 minutes – until it looks like this and has an internal temperature of 160.

While the bird is roastin’, lay bacon in a parchment lined sheet pan.

Bake for @ 15 minutes (check at 10) until crispy and once done, drain on paper towels.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, cut potatoes into 1/2″ dice

and put in a pot of salted cold water with a splash of apple cider vinegar.  Put the pot on high and check again when boiling. Once the potatoes are tender (about 10 minutes after boiling – I check by fishing one out and tasting it), drain and let cool.

While that business is happening, whisk together dijon, lemon juice, and egg yolk.  While whisking constantly, drizzle in the 1/2 cup of oil.  Start drop by drop until you see an emulsion forming, then go in a slooooow steady stream.  If your mayonnaise breaks (looks like an oil slick), put half an egg yolk into a new bowl (just eyeball it) and slowly drizzle in the oil slick.  If you go slow enough, should come back together.

Hard to take a picture while whisking…

Squeeze roasted garlic out of head.

Chop fine and whisk into mayo.  Salt and pepper to taste.   Set aside.

Chop tomatoes and lightly salt them.

Chop bacon.

At this point, your chicken is likely just coming out so let it rest 5 minutes.  Heat grill pan (or grill, sigh…) to high.

Make Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

1/2 cup organic heinz ketchup
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons bourbon
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 tablespoons Mexican coca cola or brown sugar
healthy pinch garlic powder
healthy pinch smoky paprika
healthy pinch mustard powder
healthy dose of worchestire or tamarind paste
salt to taste
fresh ground black pepper or red pepper flakes to taste

(If you want to throw some of the leftover bacon fat in there, I promise to keep it under my hat)

Mix all indgredients together until smooth.  Done.

Once chicken is rested, baste with barbecue sauce.

Put skin side down on the grill pan.  Grill for about 2 minutes, until you have healthy sear marks.  Flip and grill another two minutes.

Embrace the char!

Set aside to rest.

Spread bread o’ choice thinly with some of the roasted garlic mayo.

Sear on the grill until marked and toasty.  (This is where you can further embrace the char.  Remember, it’s National Barbecue Day…)

Combine remaining mayo, bacon, and potatoes.

Stir and add a splash of apple cider vinegar.

Chiffonade spinach.  Stir in tomatoes and spinach and salt and pepper to taste.

Shred chicken from bones (including the delicious, delicious skin)

and rough chop.  Combine with remainder of barbecue sauce and put in a pan on low until warmed through.

Assemble sandwich and heap some potato salad on the side.


If you missed National Barbecue Day, there’s still time to celebrate because it’s… National Barbecue Month!  (For real.)


2 thoughts on “Happy National Barbecue Day!

  1. Thanks, Susan! You’re so sweet. One tip I learned after making this, if you’re going to have it around a few days, mix in the tomatoes just as you need them. By the third day, their moisture made it a little runny. Still took it to the beach. Still delicious.

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