I love succulent, spicy chicken, especially when it is barbecued. Unfortunately, because I live in a flat I can’t have a real barbecue. I tried to make bbq chicken in the oven and on the stove, but always with the same problem: the wet marinade/sauce either doesn’t get sticky or it burns. Also, it is quite difficult to get the chicken on the bone cooked, but not dry. Until I found this recipe, which gave me perfect results. The smokiness of the smoked paprika gives the chicken a barbecue taste, while you can prepare it in the oven. The dry rub doesn’t burn, the sauce made with the roasting juices gives them a lovely stickiness and because you bake the chicken wrapped and on quite a low heat, it stays lovely and moist, and the brining step makes the chicken even more moist. I like the spicy rub as it is, but I will play around with other spices and herbs in it as well for variation. The recipe is easy to make and gives great results, so give it a try yourself.
The chicken is great on its own, but would also be lovely with typical bbq side dishes like potato salad, cole slaw and roasted corn on the cob. Or you could make chicken wings like this (they will probably not as long as drumsticks and thighs, but the core temp should be at least 70C) and serve them at a party with a dipping sauce.
Dry rub bbq oven chicken (serves 2 greedy people, or 4 with addition of some side dishes)
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
6-8 drumsticks or chicken thighs, 4 chicken legs or a small chicken divided in 8 pieces
2 cups water
1/6 cup salt
1/6 cup sugar
1/6 cup white vinegar
3 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tsp sweet paprika
1/4 tsp chili powder (if you have mild chili powder, add more… ours is very, very hot)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp ground cumin
a few pinches ground nutmeg
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
A generous squeeze of honey
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
Start by brining the chicken. Mix water, salt, sugar and vinegar in a large bowl. It is hard to dissolve the salt and sugar in the cold water, so heat up 1/2 a cup of water, dissolve the salt and sugar, and add the vinegar and the rest of the water (cold). Add the chicken (directly from the fridge), cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge. Because you only heat a little bit of the water, you have cold chicken and you place everything in the fridge as fast as possible, bacteria don’t get a chance because of the warm water. Also, bacteria don’t like this much salt very much. Leave the chicken to brine for at least 1 hour, but up to 6 hours, in the fridge.
For the dry rub mix together the brown sugar, smoked paprika, sweet paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, ground cumin, ground nutmeg, salt and ground black pepper in a small bowl and set aside. Place a baking rack on top of a baking sheet. Place a large piece of aluminum foil (large enough to contain all the chicken and form into packets) on top. Alternatively use the rack (placed in the middle of the oven) and baking sheet (placed one rim below the rack in the oven) of your oven. Heat the oven to 150C.
Drain the brine from the chicken, making sure to let the chicken leak out well. You can pat the chicken dry with paper kitchen towel or a clean tea towel, but I couldn’t be bothered, as a slight bit of extra moisture is not a big problem. Place the chicken pieces on top of the prepared foil. Sprinkle over the rub and pat it into the chicken. Try to spread it evenly all over the chicken pieces to ensure an even crust (mine wasn’t very even, so at some spots there were a lot of spices, and at some spots barely any). Fold the foil around them and close the package well. Place in the oven and bake 2 hours.
Carefully open the packet and pour out the juices into a sauce pan. Heat the broiler/grill and place the open foil packet under it (make sure you spread out the chicken a little to make sure all the pieces get nice ans crisp) until the chicken is crisped to your liking. Take care, the chicken is already cooked, so if you grill it overly long it will get dry.
Take the sauce pan and boil over high heat to reduce the juices until it makes a syruppy sauce. Add the honey and apple cider vinegar at the end. Serve with the chicken.