McCabe’s Chicken

  • Serves

    serves 4

Food writer and barbecue aficionado Connie McCabe shared this recipe—her father's—with us. David McCabe, a Kansas City native, spent years perfecting this method of cooking chicken—a cross between grilling (hot, direct heat) and barbecuing (high-maintenance artistry).


  • 1 (3-lb.) chicken
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Seasoned salt, such as Lawry's
  • Paprika
  • 14 lb. butter, melted
  • 13 cup red wine vinegar
  • 12 tsp. crushed red pepper


Step 1

Split chicken through the breast and flatten. Remove and reserve wings, then remove and discard tail. Wash chicken, dry with paper towels, then season liberally with salt, pepper, seasoned salt, and paprika.

Step 2

Prepare grill for direct heat and preheat (see Tips, Tricks, and Techniques for Turning Out Perfect Barbecue. The grill will be ready about a half hour after lighting. Place chicken and wings on grill and cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes, then turn and baste with butter. Cook for 5 minutes more, then turn and baste again with butter. (Have lid handy. Cover grill when fire flares up, which it will.) Continue turning and basting chicken every 10-15 minutes until all butter is gone. Process will take about 50 minutes.

Step 3

Meanwhile, heat vinegar and red pepper (for spicier chicken, add more pepper) in a saucepan over low heat. When finished with butter, begin basting with vinegar mixture, turning chicken every 5 minutes. Chicken may appear burnt, but continue cooking another 25 minutes to cook off vinegar.

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