with the end of summer looming, i’m trying to get in all of my warm-weather favorites before fall starts to creep in. but something i’ve never loved is barbecue sauce – for some reason, the flavors have never appealed to me. with that in mind, i wanted to create a sauce that i could enjoy – but one that would still satisfy my barbecue sauce-loving husband. the solution: root beer!
this sauce is simple to make, and makes enough for several meals – it would taste fantastic on a burger too. the barbecue sauce recipe is taken from several different recipes i found, and the chicken recipe is from tyler florence’s show on the food network. i adapted the brine marinade a bit and substituted my own sauce recipe, but i’m sure the original is worth trying as well.
you will need:
several chicken breasts (i used 3 so that i would have extra sauce, but this makes enough for at least 6)
for the brine marinade:
2 cups water
2 tbsp salt
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 garlic cloves, minced or crushed
4 sprigs fresh thyme (or dried, if you can’t find fresh)
for the barbecue sauce:
1 cup root beer
1 cup ketchup (i used trader joe’s because it’s a bit sweeter than heinz)
1/2 cup orange juice
1 slice bacon, uncooked
4 tbsp worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp light brown sugar
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp molasses
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh thyme
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
combine all the ingredients for the brine in a small bowl.
place the chicken breasts into a large ziplock bag, and cover with the brine. seal and refrigerator for at least 15 minutes, or until you’re ready to grill – i marinated mine for about 3 hours.
for the barbecue sauce, combine all the ingredients into a large saucepan and bring to a boil.
once boiling, turn the heat down and allow to simmer for 20 minutes. the sauce will reduce and thicken.
remove the bacon and keep on very low heat until you’re ready to use on chicken. if you’re just making the sauce, allow to cool and store in the refrigerator. the sauce is good for about 2 weeks.
for the chicken breasts, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. lightly grease a grill pan with a bit of oil, and place over medium heat. remove the chicken from the brine marinade and grill for about 10 minutes, flipping once.
remove the chicken breasts from the grill pan and place onto a lightly greased baking sheet. pop into the oven for 15 minutes, then remove and baste generously with the barbecue sauce.
don’t worry about making a mess – i really don’t think there’s a non-messy way to cover chicken in this sauce…
put chicken into the oven again for 25 more minutes. during this time, take out to cover in sauce one more time, then replace.
remove chicken from the oven, and serve with extra sauce. i served my chicken with curly fries and a green bean medley – and i actually really loved the sauce. Cooking the chicken this way after marinated with the brine leaves it incredibly moist and full of flavor.