Roadside Chicken BBQ

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2003/04/06 13:05:28 (permalink)

Roadside Chicken BBQ

I assume this a regionalism, but in Central New York, we have a tradition for fund raising roadside chicken BBQ's. All summer long you can spot white clouds of smoke as churches and fire departments grill hundreds of chicken halves to raise money.

The chicken is actually grilled, not technically BBQ'd. It is marinated in something similar to what is known as Cornell sauce (my guess is a traditional recipe from the Ithaca campus). I have seen the recipe, but do not have it. It involves eggs, vinegar, lots of salt and pepper, beyond that, I can't remember.

The chicken halves are grilled over a long bed of coals of varying temperatures in sheet metal or concrete block pits. They are sandwhiched in large metal grates, allowing you to flip 20 or so birds at once. The birds are basted frequently which produces a fragrant smoke, in turn coating the birds with a tastey soot. They typically sell for $3.50 a half

This has spawned a few permanent stands such as Brooks in Oneonta and Bob's Birds in Homer. Brooks is year round with summer picnic seating, and Bob's is summer only. I often pick up Bob's Birds on the way home friday evenings. Its sometimes overdone (and yet still tastey) and always salty, but oh so good.

I can't imagine this only happens in my region. Does anyone have similar summer traditions?

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