(Sabbath Post #14)
We had my favorite food for supper last night: barbecued chicken. Well, to be completely honest, it’s tied for my favorite food with fried catfish, fried chicken, and a good rib eye steak. I fear for my heart.
I barbecue chicken in honor of my father, who was a master at it.
When Daddy would barbecue chicken, he would always cook two whole chickens, even though the only ones who were there to eat them were Mama, him, and me. He would cut the chickens in half before he grilled them. Once, he turned his back for a moment and my dog Ruff helped himself to half a chicken. Showing great restraint, Daddy laughed and said, “Well, I should have been more careful!”
Another time, at the end of the meal, we looked at the table and all that was left of the two chickens was the bones. Daddy asked Mama how much she had eaten and the answer was one half of a chicken. That was how much Daddy had eaten, too. They looked at me. I had eaten a whole chicken. I was about twelve years old and weighed ninety pounds soaking wet. Daddy could cook some great chicken.
Somewhere along the way he told me his secret. He would season the chicken with salt and pepper and then bake it in the oven long enough to get it done. Then, he would put it over the coals to give it that good grilled taste; toward the end of the cooking process he would put the barbecue sauce on it. Doing it that way kept the chicken from drying out. I do it that way, too, except that I use Tony Chachere’s Cajun seasoning instead of salt and pepper.
I also use Daddy’s secret barbecue sauce. It’s a very complicated recipe. He would buy a bottle of a basic tomato-based barbecue sauce; Kraft’s regular or a store brand works very well. Then, he would mix it with an equal amount of Martin’s Barbecue Sauce. Martin’s is a vinegar-based sauce that is made and sold in my hometown of Barnesville, GA. So far as I know it’s not available online; you’ll have to make a trip to Barnesville to get it. The one place I can always find it is the Giant Mart on College Drive; the last time I was there it cost around $12.00 for a gallon. It’s worth the trip; the blend of Kraft’s and Martin’s makes the perfect barbecue sauce for chicken.
Sometimes for a change of pace I’ll use a mustard-based sauce the recipe for which we found among my mother’s recipes. It uses Durkee’s Salad Dressing as its base. It’s as good on ribs as it is on chicken. I'll be glad to share her recipe with anyone who wants it.
I believe in being grateful for small blessings and I’m grateful for the blessing of barbecued chicken, although I actually might classify it as a big one!