Roadside Chicken BBQ

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Cosmos
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2003/04/06 13:05:28 (permalink)

Roadside Chicken BBQ

I assume this a regionalism, but in Central New York, we have a tradition for fund raising roadside chicken BBQ's. All summer long you can spot white clouds of smoke as churches and fire departments grill hundreds of chicken halves to raise money.

The chicken is actually grilled, not technically BBQ'd. It is marinated in something similar to what is known as Cornell sauce (my guess is a traditional recipe from the Ithaca campus). I have seen the recipe, but do not have it. It involves eggs, vinegar, lots of salt and pepper, beyond that, I can't remember.

The chicken halves are grilled over a long bed of coals of varying temperatures in sheet metal or concrete block pits. They are sandwhiched in large metal grates, allowing you to flip 20 or so birds at once. The birds are basted frequently which produces a fragrant smoke, in turn coating the birds with a tastey soot. They typically sell for $3.50 a half

This has spawned a few permanent stands such as Brooks in Oneonta and Bob's Birds in Homer. Brooks is year round with summer picnic seating, and Bob's is summer only. I often pick up Bob's Birds on the way home friday evenings. Its sometimes overdone (and yet still tastey) and always salty, but oh so good.

I can't imagine this only happens in my region. Does anyone have similar summer traditions?
#1

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    mayor al
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    RE: Roadside Chicken BBQ 2003/04/06 13:45:53 (permalink)
    COS-
    Here in the Louisville area many organizations do the same thing. It is common at the County Fairs to have the F D or C of C have a fundraiser that way.
    Probably the best organized series is run by the many Catholic Churches in the area, especially in the rural communities. They hold a chicken/ham dinner each Sunday. The organization part comes with the scheduling...they have one in a different Parish/Town each weekend. One lady I spoke with says she doesn't cook a Sunday dinner at home for all of the summer months, They make the rounds of the various church dinners. In addition to the grilled chicken half or quarter,The rest of the dinner is usually served family style..Large bowls of slaw, green beans,chicken and dumplings,potato and gravy,rolls& pie etc are kept coming out to the community style tables as fast as the kids of the Parish can carry them.
    Not being a member of one of these churches I don't know this for sure, but there sure seems to be a spirit of pride and keen competition between the various churches for who can serve the best of the dinners.
    #2
    wallhd
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    RE: Roadside Chicken BBQ 2003/04/06 13:47:00 (permalink)
    Ah yes, the famous Cornell bar-b-que sauce. Most likely it was the creation of Prof.Robert Baker. He originally devised this sauce as a way to help poultry producers sell more product. He was more or less the pioneer of the concept of a 1/2 chicken with a weight not to exceed 22 oz or so and cooked over a charcoal fire on wire racks placed 26" (important distance) above the base of the fire.The sauce enhanced the flavor of the chicken and the oil aided in the cooking. Prior to this most chickens produced were larger (and thus older) with the methods of cooking either roasting whole or cutting in to various parts (i.e. breast, drumstuck, thigh, etc) for frying. The concept of the lighter bird for bbq meant a younger bird which, in turn, allowed the poultry producer to raise more flocks of birds each year, thus increasing his business.

    The sauce is actually very simple consisting of cider vinegar, cooking oil, salt, pepper, poultry seasoning (Bells being the preferred brand)with eggs as a binder (eggs being optional). The 1/2's are marinated prior to being placed on the racks and then are basted frequently during cooking. Each rack is tunred 5 or more times during the aprox. 60 minute cooking period. If you've never had chicken done this way, you are really missing something great!

    I originally learned to do this at a church fall fair in the early 60's. Some years we would cook over 1000 chicken halves.

    Later as an undergraduate at Cornell, I got to know Prof. Baker. I never took a course from him, but, like most of the faculty at the NYS College of Agr (now NYS College of Agr. and Life Sciences) at Cornell, he was a genuine nice guy.

    The recipe is available thru a Cornell Extension bulletin.

    Brooks House of BBQ near Oneonta, NY does their bbq chicken in the "Cornell style".

    And I would be remiss if didn't wish good luck to the Big Red hockey team at the Frozen Four this coming Thursday at Buffalo.

    GO BIG RED!!

    Wally
    Cornell '67
    #3
    Cosmos
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    RE: Roadside Chicken BBQ 2003/04/06 14:44:35 (permalink)
    Thanks Wally, I didn't know there was a science to it! I'm all for cooking smaller chickens. We buy ours from a free range farm south of Cortland, and I have a standing order for the smaller ones.

    I'm looking forward to BBQ season. There have been two chicken BBQ's on Main Street in Homer already...the smell was overwhelming, but I didn't have a chance to pick any up.

    I have not had Brook's, but it sure smells the same when we drive by. My sister-in-law went to school in Oneonta years ago, and she still craves Brooks chicken.
    #4
    Michael Stern
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    RE: Roadside Chicken BBQ 2003/04/06 15:27:29 (permalink)
    Cornell chicken on the grill, Candor, New York, summer, 2002:

    #5
    Cosmos
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    RE: Roadside Chicken BBQ 2003/04/06 15:53:00 (permalink)
    Gee thanks Michael, now I'm really hungry, Bob's won't be open for weeks, and we just had an ice storm, so I'm sure there's nothing smoking today!!!
    #6
    wallhd
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    RE: Roadside Chicken BBQ 2003/04/06 16:31:00 (permalink)
    Boy does that photo look familiar!

    I haven't done any bbq chicken in large volume for a while. My fire dept's annual picnic (members and guests, not a fund -raiser) is small enough that we only do two or three racks, about 60 halves. The racks I learned on, and still use, must be larger than the ones Candor (pretty close to Ithaca BTW) uses.

    Wally
    #7
    bumper
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    RE: Roadside Chicken BBQ 2003/04/08 20:32:45 (permalink)
    Hey now were talking about a subject I can speak with plenty of kowledge of . Chicken cooked this way is really great , I have a pit in my backyard under cover just to cook 70 halves at a time. Never used eggs and cooking the meat in 60 minutes is wat too fast try 3 hours ! That gives it much deeper taste of the sauce.
    #8
    Sundancer7
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    RE: Roadside Chicken BBQ 2003/04/08 21:27:57 (permalink)
    I love the smell of chicken on the grill. The longer it goes, the better it smells, I particuarly enjoy the smell when a large amount of BBQ sauce is used to marinate the chicken during the process. I enjoy packing a grill with overload of chicken and watching the smoke and smell pour from the smoker

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #9
    Cosmos
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    RE: Roadside Chicken BBQ 2003/04/28 08:08:57 (permalink)
    Well I finally had my first taste of roadside chicken BBQ. I did a little fishing on Skaneateles lake (no rainbow trout breakfast for me...) and stopped at a fundraiser for the Homer High School bus drivers trip to the bus rodeo competition...I smelled the smoke.

    The chicken was done just right, a little more salt and vinegar in the marinade and they would have nailed it. All in all, it was great to sample the taste of summer, and have that wonderful scent in my kitchen again, man I love spring!
    #10
    Hillbilly
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    RE: Roadside Chicken BBQ 2003/07/18 17:07:40 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Cosmos

    I assume this a regionalism, but in Central New York, we have a tradition for fund raising roadside chicken BBQ's. All summer long you can spot white clouds of smoke as churches and fire departments grill hundreds of chicken halves to raise money.

    The chicken is actually grilled, not technically BBQ'd. It is marinated in something similar to what is known as Cornell sauce (my guess is a traditional recipe from the Ithaca campus). I have seen the recipe, but do not have it. It involves eggs, vinegar, lots of salt and pepper, beyond that, I can't remember.

    The chicken halves are grilled over a long bed of coals of varying temperatures in sheet metal or concrete block pits. They are sandwhiched in large metal grates, allowing you to flip 20 or so birds at once. The birds are basted frequently which produces a fragrant smoke, in turn coating the birds with a tastey soot. They typically sell for $3.50 a half

    This has spawned a few permanent stands such as Brooks in Oneonta and Bob's Birds in Homer. Brooks is year round with summer picnic seating, and Bob's is summer only. I often pick up Bob's Birds on the way home friday evenings. Its sometimes overdone (and yet still tastey) and always salty, but oh so good.

    I can't imagine this only happens in my region. Does anyone have similar summer traditions?

    This is the 3rd leg of the BBQ chair for North Carolina--far western Chicken BBQ. Volunteer fire departments and civic groups used to have pre-arranged schedules to see who would do a barbecued chicken fund raiser each week-end (and there would be several every week-end during the summer). The recipe for the sauce-marinade that was put together by the county agent in Wilkes County and printed in the local newspaper back in the 60s went like this;
    1 stick margerine
    2-3 Tbs lemon juice
    1/2 pint apple cider vinegar
    2 Tbs salt
    2 tsp black pepper
    2 tsp red pepper
    1 tsp chrushed red pepper
    Combine all ingredients and heat until boiling. Pour over chicken and marinade 2-3 hours in the refrigerator. We also brush the (reheated) sauce on the chicken as it cooks on the grill.

    We started using this and loved it. I happened to run into the county agent and told him how much we enjoyed his recipe and he told me that there was a mistake in the recipe as printed---much too much pepper. However, my family still uses this recipe and we think it is the best possible way to fix chicken.

    #11
    Bona
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    RE: Roadside Chicken BBQ 2003/07/21 14:47:15 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by wallhd

    Ah yes, the famous Cornell bar-b-que sauce. Most likely it was the creation of Prof.Robert Baker. He originally devised this sauce as a way to help poultry producers sell more product. He was more or less the pioneer of the concept of a 1/2 chicken with a weight not to exceed 22 oz or so and cooked over a charcoal fire on wire racks placed 26" (important distance) above the base of the fire.The sauce enhanced the flavor of the chicken and the oil aided in the cooking. Prior to this most chickens produced were larger (and thus older) with the methods of cooking either roasting whole or cutting in to various parts (i.e. breast, drumstuck, thigh, etc) for frying. The concept of the lighter bird for bbq meant a younger bird which, in turn, allowed the poultry producer to raise more flocks of birds each year, thus increasing his business.

    The sauce is actually very simple consisting of cider vinegar, cooking oil, salt, pepper, poultry seasoning (Bells being the preferred brand)with eggs as a binder (eggs being optional). The 1/2's are marinated prior to being placed on the racks and then are basted frequently during cooking. Each rack is tunred 5 or more times during the aprox. 60 minute cooking period. If you've never had chicken done this way, you are really missing something great!

    I originally learned to do this at a church fall fair in the early 60's. Some years we would cook over 1000 chicken halves.

    Later as an undergraduate at Cornell, I got to know Prof. Baker. I never took a course from him, but, like most of the faculty at the NYS College of Agr (now NYS College of Agr. and Life Sciences) at Cornell, he was a genuine nice guy.

    The recipe is available thru a Cornell Extension bulletin.

    Brooks House of BBQ near Oneonta, NY does their bbq chicken in the "Cornell style".

    And I would be remiss if didn't wish good luck to the Big Red hockey team at the Frozen Four this coming Thursday at Buffalo.

    GO BIG RED!!

    Wally
    Cornell '67
    #12
    Bona
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    RE: Roadside Chicken BBQ 2003/07/21 14:53:48 (permalink)
    In the Western New York area it's Chavettia's marinade. Apple cider vinegar based with no eggs or fat included (no flare-ups). They have a web site set up so if you want to know what church function or firemans carnival they are cooking at you can find on the internet. "State Fair" marinade includes eggs and can be purchased in WNY stores. I have found Chavettias in the mid-west at Restoration Hardware stores but twice the price. Seems the owner of Rest Hdwr is married to a lady from Erie,Pa and grew up with the smell of Chavettias.
    #13
    Lone Star
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    RE: Roadside Chicken BBQ 2003/07/21 14:55:51 (permalink)
    The BBQ fund raisers in our region tend to focus on briskets and ribs, rarely chicken.

    I live in a smaller town (actually now a suburb of Houston), and they Lyons club still has pancake breakfasts, and the VFW does a catfish fry most Fridays. You can drive up and get your fish, fries,coleslaw and hushpuppies to go!


    I would love to try the Cornell chicken! The recipie was posted on the Cornell chicken thread, but I have not had the chance to try it yet.
    #14
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