Sink your teeth into oven baked barbecue chicken like Grandma used to make. Chicken pieces are baked in a homemade sauce and seasoned with fresh onion slices for added flavor.
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A few weeks ago, my mother-in-law sent me a scan of a handwritten recipe for her mother’s homemade barbecue chicken.
“Growing up, it was one of our family favorites,” she wrote. “Mama served it with mash potatoes and a couple of vegetables.”
I never got to meet The Husband’s maternal grandmother, whom they called Grandmama. She passed away a few weeks before we started dating. But I almost feel like I’ve met her from the stories his family tells. Especially the stories about her cooking.
I still have this desire to cook like my Grandma
I’ve mentioned before that I hope to one day leave a legacy with my boys and future grandchildren of being a good cook. While my world seems to revolve more and more around meals that I can throw together quickly on a busy weeknight, I do still have this desire to cook like my Grandma, or The Husband’s Mamaw, and Grandmama.
The few handwritten recipes I have from my own Grandmother are priceless. So many women cooked from memory, that there was no recipe. Thankfully, I had the sense to sit down with Mamaw several years ago and pick her brain for chicken and dumplings. But now that my own grandmother is gone and Mamaw’s memory isn’t what it used to be, I wish I had taken the opportunity to do it more.
When this recipe for baked barbecue chicken came into my inbox, I felt honored to have it in my arsenal.
How to make baked barbecue chicken
If your only experience with baked barbecue chicken is opening a bottle of store bought barbecue sauce, don’t feel embarrassed. More times than not, I’ve been there too!
While making the sauce does take a little more time and effort than opening a bottle, it’s not much. All the ingredients are probably already in your pantry or your fridge. Whisk everything together and set aside while you work on your chicken.
I used a combination of chicken thighs and quarters – it’s what I had on hand in the freezer. Choose your favorite cuts. If you are short on time, you don’t have to brown the chicken. But if you aren’t in a hurry, I encourage you not to skip this step. It brings more flavor and adds more crispiness to the skin (mmmm!)
Arrange your chicken pieces in a single layer in a 9 x 13 x 2 inch baking dish. Pour on the sauce, then layer a few sliced onions over the top. Bake at 350 degrees for an hour. You are supposed to baste every ten minutes, but I will admit … I got busy doing other things and ended up basting every 20-30 minutes. It turned out just fine!
Both of my boys loved this baked barbecue chicken and it tasted exactly how The Husband remembered. He even commented how eating it took took him back to sitting at his grandmother’s kitchen table, the sound of Wheel of Fortune from the TV in the next room playing in the background. I imagine plaid tablecloths on a picnic table, cold iced tea, a warm day and a platter of this chicken as the centerpiece.
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Oven Baked Barbecue Chicken
- ¼ cups vegetable oil
- 4 pounds chicken pieces
- 1 ½ cups tomatoes juice
- ¼ cup white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ cup ketchup
- ½ teaspoon yellow mustard
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 medium onion sliced
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken in batches and brown on all sides. Arrange chicken in a single layer in a 9 x 12 x 2-inch baking dish.
Combine the tomato juice, white vinegar, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, mustard, black pepper and salt. Pour the sauce over the chicken.
Arrange the onion slices over the chicken. Bake for 1 hour, basting every 10 minutes, until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 155 degrees. If you want crisper skin, switch the oven to broil and roast it under the heat for a few more minutes.
Allow chicken to rest for 15 minutes before serving.