Warm weather is back, and it looks like we’ll be able to get together soon and celebrate the light at the end of the tunnel that has been this pandemic. There’s no better time to dust off the grill and celebrate with the people you haven’t seen in a year (or more!) with a backyard bbq. This grilled chicken recipe with Alabama-style white BBQ sauce is sure to surprise and satisfy, with the added bonus of being easy and fool-proof. Marinating chicken in buttermilk keeps it juicy while also tenderizing the meat in advance, and the hot sauce infuses flavor deep into the meat- say goodbye to dry, flavorless chicken forever! The recipes are totally customizable, so have some fun with the flavorings – add extra spices to the marinade or BBQ sauce to your liking, there’s definitely no wrong answer here. This recipe works for any cut of chicken, from a spatchcocked whole chicken to drumsticks, thighs, or breasts.
BUTTERMILK MARINADE FOR CHICKEN
Total Cook Time: 30 Minutes
Total Time: 4 Hours (15 Active Minutes)
Makes: 6-8 Servings
- 1 ½ CUP BUTTERMILK
- ¼ CUP FRANKS HOT SAUCE (OR ANY KIND OF HOT SAUCE YOU PREFER)
- 1 TSP SALT
- 1 TSP GROUND BLACK PEPPER
- 3 LBS OF CHICKEN
ALABAMA WHITE BBQ SAUCE
Have you ever had Alabama-style white BBQ sauce? No? Ok, well get ready to have your mind blown. If you have had it, you’re going to be shocked at how easy it is to throw together with stuff you definitely already have in your pantry. I love the white BBQ sauce – its balance of creamy/tangy/salty/spicy/sweet is perfect on basically all meat, but I don’t stop there – It’s basically replaced most of the sauces in my house. I use it in sandwiches, on burgers, as a veggie dip, as a pizza dip (yes, really!), and as a salad dressing.
- ¼ CUP WHITE VINEGAR (2 OZ)
- ⅛ CUP PREPARED HORSERADISH (1 OZ)
- 1 TSP GROUND BLACK PEPPER
- 1 TSP KOSHER SALT
- ½ TSP CAYENNE PEPPER
- ½ TSP GARLIC POWDER
- 1 TSP DIJON MUSTARD
- 1 ¼ CUP MAYO
- Unlike a more acidic marinade, which should only be used for an hour max with chicken, buttermilk’s low acidity and enzymes help tenderize the chicken slowly without making it tough.
- This marinade works for chicken no matter what you’re doing with it – baking, grilling, frying, or sous-viding.
- In the last few minutes of grilling, brush some of the BBQ sauce onto the chicken, close the lid, and crank the heat back up to high – the white sauce will caramelize a bit, and create a nice crust around the edges of the chicken.
- If using a charcoal grill, once the coals are gray, push to one side of the grill, and start the chicken over the coals. Once you flip the chicken, move to the other side of the grill to finish over indirect heat.
- If you’re unsure whether your chicken is fully cooked, you can use an instant-read thermometer by pushing it into the thickest part of the chicken, being careful not to hit a bone, and cook until the internal temperature is 155. The chicken will keep cooking after you remove it from the grill, so covering it with foil and letting it sit for 5-10 minutes will bring the internal temperature up to 165, at which point it will be fully cooked, but still juicy.
- A tip for making the BBQ sauce: add all the ingredients except the mayo into a measuring cup – take note of how much is in the cup, and then spoon the mayo into the liquid until the liquid line reaches 1¼ cups more than the original measurement. This is the easiest way to measure out mayo without using a separate measuring cup.
- If you want to get adventurous in the kitchen, you can spatchcock your chicken: start by flipping the chicken down so the breasts and wings are on the cutting board. Use a sharp chef’s knife or kitchen shears (easier!) to cut the ribs on both sides of the spine, releasing the spine. Remove the spine by pulling up between the two cuts you made. Flip the bird over and press down on the breasts to crack the ribs, flattening the whole bird into a format that’s much easier to grill or roast. Sear it skin-side down first so that the skin doesn’t shrink down before getting that golden roasted color. You can also have your butcher do this for you, I usually do.