Monday, July 13, 2020

Joey's Orange BBQ Chicken

 Many years ago, my family was obsessed with a specific chicken recipe called Honey Chicken. We had it for EVERY big family event, and everyone always loved it. It was also super easy to make... bake it low and slow in the oven for an hour, and then baste it with sauce for another hour..... the chicken always turned out perfectly tender and delicious. Well, ever since then, I always wondered if I could do the same cooking method, but use a different sauce....
  My first thought was to do a BBQ sauce, but that's kinda boring. Anyone can open a bottle of BBQ sauce and pour it over some chicken. Still, it seemed like I was on the right track. Hmmm.. I'll mentally set it on the back burner, and maybe one of these days something will inspire me.
And then one night, I ordered Chinese take out orange chicken. Inspiration strikes! This was my ah ha moment! As I was eating my dinner that night, I thought THIS is how I want my oven BBQ chicken to go! Great! Now it's time to come up with an orange sauce.
  I knew I wanted it to be sweet, sticky, salty, savory, and spicy.  So I stirred together a few Asian-inspired ingredients, and this is where I landed. The orange flavor definitely comes through, and so does the slight heat from the fresh ginger and the crushed red pepper flakes. Perfect! And, once again, the chicken turned out every bit as tender as it was when we made the honey chicken, just as I had hoped it would be.
 If you're looking for a different BBQ experience, you should give this one a try. I'm so pleased with how it turned out. Also, you should keep lots of napkins at the ready! Just sayin'!

4 chicken legs, bone-in and skin on
4 chicken thighs, bone-in and skin on
salt and pepper
1/2 cup orange marmalade
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tbs lemon juice
3 tbs butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbs grated fresh ginger
pinch crushed red pepper flakes

sesame seeds or sliced scallions for garnish (optional)

Heat oven to 300ºF.
Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Place chicken pieces on tray, leaving space between them. Pat chicken pieces dry with paper towels. Season well with salt and pepper. Place tray in oven for 1 hour. Now it's time to make the sauce.
In a small sauce pot, combine remaining ingredients. Bring to a low simmer over low-mediumn heat. Let the sauce reduce until syrupy, stirring often so that it doesn't burn. Remove from heat and set aside until you're ready to use it.
Brush the chicken pieces with the sauce until they're well coated. Place the chicken back in oven for another hour, periodically brushing with more sauce. At this point, you could place them under the broiler for a little char, or finish them off on the grill, but it's really not necessary. Remove chicken from oven and top with sliced scallions or sesame seeds, if desired.

Taste the sauce to make sure it's what you want. Is it sweet enough? Add more honey or even some brown sugar. Salty enough? Add another splash of soy sauce. Is it bright enough? Add more lemon juice or some grated orange zest. Can you taste the ginger and garlic? Feel free to adjust it to how you like it!
If your sauce becomes too thick, you can thin it down with a tablespoon or two of orange juice.
I like to use the bone-in chicken with the skin still on. It gets nice and crispy and it keeps the chicken moist. With this method, you definitely don't want to use boneless chicken breasts. They just don't need that long to cook and will come out dry and overdone. If you'd still like to use boneless chicken, then just grill the chicken and brush with sauce as you normally would, instead of the low and slow method.

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