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CRISPY CORNELL CHICKEN

April 4, 2012 7:27 am 0 comments

Crispy Cornell Chicken is delight for all those who love eating golden crispy chicken. It is one of the favourite dishes among many kids. This is an excellent dish made with chicken marinated in an incredible barbecue white sauce combined with very simple and subtle ingredients such as cider vinegar, vegetable oil, egg, salt, freshly ground black pepper and poultry seasoning.

History states that this central New York speciality was invented by Dr. Robert Baker, a professor at New York’s Cornell University. He wanted to create a delicious way to grill smaller chickens, so that the local farms could sell more birds, sell them sooner, and more affordably. Just one taste of his Cornell chicken recipe and you’ll know why he was so successful.  A specialist in poultry, he helped invent chicken nuggets, turkey ham, and poultry hot dogs. But he is best remembered for Cornell Chicken, and there is nothing odd or artificial about his wonderful recipe. In fact, the recipe has become so popular it is served all across Western New York.

Cornell Chicken is often served with Syracuse Salt Potatoes, small white local potatoes boiled in salty water. The area is also a major cabbage producer, so Waldorf Slaw is another natural New York themed side. Wash it all down with a white wine from the Finger Lakes. The sauce for the marinade is very close to mayonnaise. It can be stored in the fridge for a couple of weeks, even though there is raw egg, because the vinegar, salt, and cold will prevent salmonella from multiplying. Cooking, of course makes it perfectly safe. You can cut the recipe in half by discarding half the egg after whisking it.

Crispy Cornell Chicken is yummy and this smoky grill is a great way to add loads of flavour to food without fat. Marinades and flavoured brines pump up moisture into the meats that definitely help in preventing dryness of meat. But extra care needs to be taken not to overcook the meat.  Chicken thighs and breast are best for grilling as the fat brings extra flavour and moisture that chicken breasts lack. An easier option is to go for a protein that’s a bit less lean, such as boneless, skinless chicken thighs, which are flavourful, economical and cook quickly.

In this recipe, chicken thighs get a double dose of intense flavour from a tangy, cider vinegar and black pepper marinade plus a blast of hardwood smoke on the grill. You can also cook on electric grill or gas grill which adds a pleasant smoked flavour to the food.  The combination of the egg, oil, and vinegar creates a super flavourful and very moist chicken. A marinade makes meat better by adding moisture, increasing tenderness and adding flavour. There are loads of marinade recipes for any meat; beef, lamb, pork, poultry, fish or seafood such as steak marinade, marinade for beef, shrimp marinade, chicken chili marinade, sekuwa marinade etc.

To prepare Crispy Cornell Chicken, firstly wash the chicken (full bird) and cut into half. In the blender, put in 2 cups cider vinegar, 1 cup vegetable oil, 1 egg, 3 tablespoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, and 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning and combine the basting sauce ingredients in a blender and blend until emulsified.

Place the chicken halves in a large zip-top plastic bag and pour in 1/2 cup of the sauce. Seal the bag and shake gently to coat the chicken evenly. Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight. Remove the chicken from the marinade, and wipe off excess sauce from the surface.  Set up the grill for 2-Zone or indirect cooking. Try to get the indirect side in the 225 to 250°F range. Place the chicken over the indirect zone and close the lid. Every 5-10 minutes baste with the marinade, turn the chickens on both sides, and move the ones closer to the heat away and the ones away closer.

Cooking about 30 to 45 minutes until the internal temperature of each part is 150°F and stop basting. Then move them over the hot direct heat side of the grill, skin side down, remove the lid, and crisp the skin without burning it for 10 to 15 minutes. Flip and heat for about 5 minutes more. This step is important to finish the cooking of the meat, crisp the skins, and make sure everything is sterile since raw egg can contain salmonella. For breasts, when the skin is crisp and the temp is at least 165°F, take the meat off. For the dark meat take the temp in the joint between the drumstick and thigh. That’s the place that takes longest to cook. Even if it is a bit red in there when you cut in, it is safe at 165°F.

Note: Dr. Baker’s original recipe used a barbecue pit with the chicken cooked on racks, several feet away from the coals, so that the chicken cooked relatively slowly, but this recipe still works fine if you use a deep, kettle-style grill.

Crispy Cornell Chicken made with white barbecue sauce creates a tangy, delicious, appetizing, luscious and super-moist chicken.  Just made with ordinary ingredients, when combined, result in a dish that is greater than the sum of its parts. It’s a melange of subtle flavours combined together to bring the humble crispy chicken to gourmet heights. Do give this recipe a try and enjoy its flavours.

Enjoy Cooking!

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