Big Joe’s Cherry Chicken BBQ [Recipe]
With the Big Jersey BBQ and Brew Festival coming up next weekend I can’t stop thinking about great BBQ. This is one of my favorite barbeque recipes, sure, it takes some time to cook, but I promise you it is well worth the wait.
The marinade on this recipe takes 4 – 8 hours and the cooking time takes about 6 hours. So prepare for this dish.
Your actual prep and cooking time is less than 25 minutes but the trick to great barbeque is the slow cooking.Trust me. I like to think of this dish as multi-talented. You can make this one of two ways. The two options are in marinating the chicken before the great cherry sauce is applied and finished off on the grill.
I experimented a couple of times last summer and was pleased with both options. Whichever way you want to begin this recipe is fine but it’s the cherry barbeque sauce that will make your mouth water. I really like this dish.
I don’t have a smoker but this dish works well with or without one. Since I don’t have a smoker, I use the good old oven for my slow cook and then finish it off on the barbeque grill.
10 chicken thighs
1 – 1 ½ pounds of fresh cherries (the darker the better) If cherries are out of season use the can cherries (Bing are o.k.)
2 teaspoons of habanera infused honey (see bottom of recipe for options)
1 ½ bottles of Butch’s Smack Your Lips Barbeque Sauce (mild or pyro depending on your palate)
¼ cup of orange juice
½ cup of bourbon liquor (optional)
2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
2 pats of butter
Option one prep: – 4 cups of Butch’s dry seasoned barbeque rub
Option two prep: – 1 bottle of Wish Bone Robusto
Italian Salad Dressing
Prep Chicken Option One:
Clean chicken and pat dry. Trim dangling fat and make sure that chicken is very dry. Rub Butch’s dry rub generously on both sides making sure that entire thigh is covered. Put in plastic freezer bags and let hang out in refrigerator for a minimum of 4 hours, overnight preferably.
Prep Chicken Option Two:
Clean chicken and pat dry. Trim dangling fat and make sure that chicken is very dry. Put chicken thighs in plastic freezer bags. Add Italian Dressing and let hang out in refrigerator for a minimum of 4 hours, overnight preferably.
How to Put it Together:
Once chicken has marinated, preheat oven to 225 degrees. Put marinated chicken on a greased rack. I use Pam or other non-stick spray. Place in center rack then cook for 6 hours at 225 degrees. Leave it alone.
To make the cherry barbeque sauce: Finely chop the cherries. If using canned cherries reserve about 1/8 of a cup of juice and drain remaining liquid. In a large sauce pan over medium high heat add butter, garlic and then cherries. Let garlic and cherries sauté for about three minutes. Add orange juice and stir in honey, mixing constantly with wooden spoon.
Reduce mixture and then add Butch’s barbeque sauce plus remaining liquid from canned cherries. Stir, making sure that the honey doesn’t stick to the bottom of saucepan. Add bourbon and continue to cook reducing mixture. Once mixture is well-blended lower heat to simmer and stir occasionally.
Once chicken is cooked in oven, pre-heat barbeque grill getting to maximum heat. Before going to grill submerge cooked chicken into cherry barbeque sauce then placing back on rack. Once barbeque grill is hot, add chicken to grill and cook for about three minutes each side.
Remember the purpose of finishing chicken on the grill is to sear and crisp the skin and add the barbeque flavor. Don’t leave the grill because it won’t take long at all to get the chicken perfectly barbequed.
DON”T BURN THE CHICKEN. Too much work went into this dish to burn it…be careful. Serve chicken and remaining sauce on the side. Enjoy! Serves 4 -5