Recipes

Blueberry Barbecue Chicken

  • Serves

    serves 3-4 with extra sauce

  • Cook

    12 hours

PHOTOGRAPHY BY TIM ROBISON

By Vivian Howard


Published on July 21, 2016

Similar to a shrub—a fruit syrup punctuated by vinegar—this blueberry sauce makes a bracing drink when mixed with club soda or booze. It's also the first step in a fruity vinaigrette and is a perfect glaze on oven-baked chicken. Keep in mind this is not a marinade. Brush it on toward the end of cooking and let the chicken soak up more of the sauce before serving. The final soak is key.

Ingredients

For the sauce

  • 3 cups blueberries
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar, divided
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 14 tsp. chile flakes
  • 1 3-inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 bay leaf

For the chicken

  • One 3-lb. chicken (ask your butcher to butterfly or spatchcock the bird by cutting out the backbone and sternum and flattening the bird)
  • 3 tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • 1 12 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

Step 1

Make the sauce: Put the blueberries and 2 tablespoons of the vinegar in a food processor. Pulse the berries just to break them up and get some juices flowing.

Step 2

In a medium saucepan, combine the pulverized berries with the remaining vinegar, sugar, chile flakes, cinnamon stick, and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, reduce the heat to low, and then cover the pot. Cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Step 3

Carefully transfer the hot sauce to a blender. Remove the knob from the top of the blender lid and cover with a dish towel to prevent an explosion. Blend the sauce to get it as smooth as possible, then pass it through a fine mesh strainer, directly back into the pan. Simmer the sauce over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until it has reduced by about one-third of its original volume (25–30 minutes). It should coat the back of a spoon and have the viscosity of maple syrup. Let the sauce rest, at least overnight, before using. Blue Q will keep for months, covered, in the refrigerator.

Step 4

Make the chicken: Light your grill and heat it to roughly 350°. Thirty minutes before you plan to grill, bring the chicken to room temperature and season with 2 teaspoons of kosher salt and the black pepper.

Step 5

Place chicken, skin side up, on the grill and close the lid. Cook, covered, for 20 minutes. Baste with blueberry sauce every 5 minutes for an additional 20 minutes, keeping the lid closed between basting activity. After a total of 40 minutes, flip chicken over to caramelize the skin, and baste the other side for 10 minutes more. Using a probe thermometer, check the internal temperature of the meaty part of a thigh. When it reaches 165°, remove chicken from the grill.

Step 6

Off the grill, douse the chicken in 1⁄2 cup of blueberry sauce and let it rest for 10 minutes. Carve into 6 or 8 pieces and toss once more in another 1⁄2 cup sauce. Serve the chicken warm or at room temperature.

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