This Central New York specialty was invented by Dr. Robert Baker, a Professor at the New York State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University. He wanted to create a delicious way to grill smaller chickens so that the local farms could sell more birds, sell them sooner, and make them more affordable. Try it once and you won’t ever grill chicken any other way!
Bob Baker’s Crispy Grilled Cornell Chicken Recipe
Makes. 16 chicken quarters
Preparation time. 20 minutes
Cooking time. About 90 minutes
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Morton’s coarse kosher salt
1 tablespoon poultry seasoning or Simon & Garfunkel rub* (see below)
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 broiler chickens cut into quarters
1) In a large bowl, whisk the egg white and yolk together with a balloon whisk or a hand mixer. Add the oil and whisk until it gets thick, homogeneous, and a bright yellow, for about 2 minutes. A balloon whisk is the best tool for this job since the wire strands really do a good job of emulsifying (mixing together) two ingredients that don’t want to mix, one oil based, the other water, but a fork will do in a pinch. Now whisk in the vinegar, salt, and pepper.
2) Stab the chicken skin several times with a fork or knife so the marinade can get in and so fat can get out when cooking. This will help make the skin crispy. Marinate the chicken for 3 to 24 hours in zipper bags in the fridge. You can do this in a bowl or pan, but you need more marinade than if you use zipper bags. Every hour or so, turn the meat a bit so all surfaces get well coated.
3) Set up the grill for 2-zone cooking. Try to get the indirect side in the 225°F range. If you’re in a hurry, you can take it up to 325°F, but I prefer low and slow. Sprinkle the rub on all sides of the meat. Place the chicken over the indirect zone and close the lid. Every 5 to 10 minutes baste with the marinade, turn the chickens on both sides, and move the ones closer to the heat away and the ones away closer.
4) Cook about 60 to 90 minutes until the internal temperature of each part is 150°F and stop basting. Exact time will depend on how thick the meat is, and how often you basted. Then move them over the hot direct heat side of the grill, skin side down, lift the lid, and crisp the skin without burning it for 10 to 15 minutes. Flip and heat for about 5 minutes more.
When the skin is crisp and the temp is 165°F, take the meat off. Even if it is a bit red in there when you cut in, it is safe at 165°F.
*Simon and Garfunkel Spice Mix and Rub
(there is no salt in this rub so please add the salt called for in the recipe above)
This wonderful spice blend goes on chicken, turkey, grilled potatoes, even on the outside of baked potatoes, grilled asparagus, and in omelets.
Preparation time. 10 minutes
Makes. About 1/4 cup, enough for about 8 large whole chickens
1 tablespoon dried crushed parsley
2 tablespoons dried crushed sage
1 tablespoon dried crushed rosemary
1 tablespoon dried crushed thyme
1 tablespoon dried crushed oregano
1 tablespoon dried crushed basil
1 tablespoon dried crushed bay leaf
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon sugar