When it comes to barbecue, pork and beef are serious business. Grilled chicken, however, has never caused decades-long family rifts as far as we know. There is one particular barbecue chicken recipe that we’re going to crown king, and unless you’re from Upstate New York, you’ve likely never heard of it.
Cornell Chicken is the brainchild of Robert Baker, a Cornell University food scientist who is better known for creating the chicken nugget, turkey ham and poultry hot dog. A true lover of birds that barely fly, in 1950, he developed his signature picnic centerpiece as part of a how-to guide for building a makeshift barbecue and setting up the assembly line so everyone gets a hot drumstick or thigh.
But the only thing you really need from Baker is the recipe for his white barbecue sauce. It’s a humble mixture of oil, vinegar, salt and pepper, poultry seasoning and egg that elevates the meat to new heights when cooked over charcoal. Here’s an easier-to-digest version of the recipe that advises a two-hour marinade. That’s fine, but the longer it sits in the sauce the more flavor it will have. We’ve had success with up to eight hours of marination.