Recipe Fridays: McCoy’s BBQ Chicken

Kevin McCoy and his MV21 team (Greg, Tom, Arielle and Geoff) cooked up a mighty meal during this year’s off-site trip.  His BBQ Chicken dish has still been getting rave reviews, and the recipe is rapidly making its way to each office.  Says McCoy, “I love this chicken– even though it is boneless, it has great flavour and does not fry out when you BBQ it.”

Put on your apron, because here it is:

McCoy’s BBQ Chicken

Kevin discovered this savory BBQ recipe from the Food Network, adding a few ideas of his own.  “I think the key was the brining (not more than 2 hours),” he says.  Brining is a lot like marination in that the entire meat is submerged for at least 12 hours (in brine) before cooking.  Brine is a combination of water and salt, and can sometimes have sugar, herbs and spices.  McCoy’s brine was composed of water, salt, maple syrup (substituted for brown sugar), garlic, and thyme.

Kevin’s Additions to Recipe (offered last)

To the Food Network recipe, Kevin made three additional tweaks:

“(1)    Added extra bacon fat (this was a target of opportunity — had left over from the bacon we used for the scallops)

(2)    Did not use fresh thyme (could not find, so I used two tablespoons of dried)

(3)    Cooked the entire time on the grill at medium heat (started very hot, then turned down).  Used the Shalav method of turning chicken often.”

The Recipe (taken directly from the Food Network)

This recipe serves 6 and (without the brine, see above) has a cook and prep time of 3 hours 20 minutes.



  • 2 quarts water
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed with the side of a large knife
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 6 chicken and thighs, still connected, bone in, skin on, about 10 ounces each

The Ultimate Barbecue Sauce:

  • 1 slice bacon
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika or smoked paprika if available
  • Freshly ground black pepper


For the brine, in a mixing bowl combine the water, salt, sugar, garlic, and thyme. Transfer the brine to a 2-gallon sized re-sealable plastic bag. Add the chicken, close the bag and refrigerate 2 hours (if you’ve only got 15 minutes, that’s fine) to allow the salt and seasonings to penetrate the chicken.

Meanwhile, make the sauce. Wrap the bacon around the bunch of thyme and tie with kitchen twine so you have a nice bundle. Heat about 2 tablespoons of oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the thyme and cook slowly 3 to 4 minutes to render the bacon fat and give the sauce a nice smoky taste. Add the onion and garlic and cook slowly without coloring for 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, give the sauce a stir, and turn the heat down to low. Cook slowly for 20 minutes to meld the flavors. Once the sauce is done cooking, remove about 1 1/2 cups of the sauce and reserve for serving along side the chicken at the table. The rest of the barbecue sauce will be used for basing the legs.

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.

Preheat a grill pan or an outdoor gas or charcoal barbecue to a medium heat. Take a few paper towels and fold them several times to make a thick square. Blot a small amount of oil on the paper towel and carefully and quickly wipe the hot grates of the grill to make a nonstick surface. Take the chicken out of the brine, pat it dry on paper towels. Arrange the chicken pieces on the preheated grill and cook, turn once mid-way, and cook for a total of 10 minutes. Transfer the grill marked chicken to a cookie sheet and then place in the oven. Cook the chicken for 15 minutes, remove it from the oven and then brush liberally, coating every inch of the legs with the barbecue sauce and then return to the oven for 25 to 30 more minutes, basting the chicken for a second time half way through remaining cooking time. Serve with extra sauce.


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