Barbecued Chicken Kebabs with Bacon Rub

serves 4-6

For the Sauce

1/2 cup ketchup

2 Tablespoons molasses

1/2 small yellow onion, diced

2 Tablespoons Worcestershire

2 Tablespoons yellow mustard

2 Tablespoons white vinegar

3 Tablespoons packed light brown sugar

For the Kebabs

2 pounds boneless, skinless thighs or breasts, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes

2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 Tablespoons sweet paprika

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

4 teaspoons granulated sugar

2 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

4 (12-inch) metal skewers

For the Sauce

Bring all of the ingredients to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat; cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce is reduced to about 1 cup and has a ketchup-like consistency, about 5-7 minutes.  Using a hand held immersion blender or standing blender, puree the sauce until smooth.  Transfer 1/2 cup sauce to a small bowl; set aside remaining sauce for serving.

For the Kebabs

Toss chicken and salt in a large bowl; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.

Prepare a gas or charcoal grill with hot coals or high heat on one side of the grill with the other side left cool.  Clean and oil the cooking grate.

In the bowl of a food processor, process the bacon until a smooth paste forms, about 30-45 seconds, scraping down the bowl during processing.  Add the sweet and smoked paprika and sugar and process until combined. Add the spiced bacon paste mixture to the chicken, rubbing with hands until the the ingredients are blended and the chicken is completely coated.  Thread the meat onto the skewers, rolling or folding the meat as necessary.

Grill kebabs (covered if using gas), turning one-quarter turn every 2 to 2 1/2 minutes until well browned and slightly charred, 8 minutes for breasts and 10 minutes for thighs.  (If flare-ups occur, slide kebabs to the cool side of the grill until fire dies down.)  Brush the top of the kebabs with 1/4 cup of sauce; flip and cook until sauce is brown in spots, about 1 minute.  Brush second with remaining 1/4 cup of sauce; flip and continue to cook until brown in spots and breasts register 160° F and thighs register 175° F, about 1 minute longer.  Remove the kebabs from the grill and let rest for 5 minutes.  Serve, passing the reserved barbecue sauce. Enjoy!

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