Sweet and Tangy Oven-Barbecued Chicken

adapted from:  America's Test Kitchen 


1 c. ketchup

3 Tbl. mild or original molasses (I didn't add)

3 Tbl. cider vinegar

2 Tbl. finely grated onion (using small side of box grater)

2 Tbl. Worcestershire sauce

2 Tbl. Dijon mustard

2 Tbl. real maple syrup (I didn't add)

1 tsp. chili powder

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

4 (5-6 oz.) boneless, skinless chicken breasts

table salt and ground black pepper

1 Tbl. vegetable oil


1.  Adjust oven rack to the upper-middle position, about 5 inches from the heating element and heat the oven to 325 degrees.  Whisk the ketchup, molasses, vinegar, onion, Worcestershire, mustard, maple syrup, chili powder and cayenne together in a small bowl; set aside.  Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.  

2.  Heat the oil in a 12-inch oven-safe skillet over high heat.  Add the chicken, smooth side down, and cook until very light golden, 1-2 minutes; using tongs, turn the chicken and cook until very light golden on the second side, 1-2 minutes longer.  Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside.

3.  Discard the fat in the skillet; off the heat, and add the sauce mixture and using a wooden spoon, scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the skillet.  Simmer the sauce over medium heat, stirring frequently with a heatproof spatula, until the sauce is thick and glossy and a spatula leaves a clear trail in the sauce, about 4 minutes.  Off the heat, return the chicken to the skillet and turn to coat thickly with the sauce; set the chicken pieces smooth side up and spoon extra sauce over each piece to create a thick coating.  

4.  Place the skillet in the oven and cook until the thickest part of the breasts register 130 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 8-12 minutes.  Remove the skillet from the oven, turn the oven to broil and heat for 5 minutes.  Once the broiler is heated, place the skillet back in the oven and broil the chicken until the thickest part of the breast registers 160 to 165 degrees, 3-8 minutes longer.  Transfer the chicken to a platter and let rest for 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, whisk the sauce in the skillet to recombine and transfer to a small bowl.  Serve the chicken, passing the extra sauce separately.  Serves: 4


Jenn's Notes:  I cooked two chicken breasts, but I still made the entire sauce recipe, because I like a lot of extra sauce.  I really liked this chicken and I really liked the homemade barbeque sauce, but you could always use your favorite store-bought sauce and cook it the same way.  Be careful while broiling the chicken, it can go from perfect to overcooked in no time.  I served this with my favorite orzo and my favorite Pumpkin Cornbread.    

Comments