bbq · Chicken · dinner

Lady Bird Johnson’s Barbecue Chicken

I’ve been bed-and-couch bound for the last 36 hours. A cold has hit me like a ton of bricks and I’ve been doing everything in my power to feel like a normal human being again.

You know those jokes about how men are babies when they’re sick? That’s not just men. It’s me. I turn into a lump that can’t fend for herself. Send help. SOS. Please save me.

I really wanted to post this recipe last week, but I’m just now feeling like doing something other than watching repeats of Roswell on Hulu. It’s been rough, y’all, I’m not going to lie.

I was simply blown away by this recipe. I made it on a whim after discovering it in an old Texas cookbook. Apparently, LBJ had a bad eating problem back in the day. After a heart attack, his wife and a cook tried to make him eat healthier. Lady Bird came up with this low-sugar, low-fat oven-baked barbecue chicken and it was a hit with the president.

It seemed too simple to be all that good. The sauce is just ketchup (I used sugar-free), vinegar, Worcestershire and lemon juice (plus an onion and garlic). How can that taste like BBQ? How can an oven make the chicken taste like a charcoal grill? Where’s the smoke??

Boy howdy, I was wrong. Sure, the chicken didn’t taste like a charcoal grill, but it tasted like barbecue chicken. It was probably the best barbecue chicken I’ve ever had in my life. The sauce was near perfection, the skin on the chicken crispy and delicious, the meat juicy and tender. Like I said, I was blown away.

My favorite cut of chicken to use for barbecueing is leg quarters. You get all the delightful things I mentioned above: crispy skin & tender meat. I’m sure thighs and drumsticks would be okay, too, but leg quarters are the best to use. I would steer clear from breasts.

Enjoy!

Lady Bird Johnson's Barbecue Chicken

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Print

Succulent chicken leg quarters barbecued in a simple sauce and baked to perfection.

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken leg quarters
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 3 TBS. butter
  • 1 onion, cut into wedges
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

Directions

  1. Heat oven broiler. Season leg quarters with salt, pepper, and paprika. Place on a wire rack that’s placed on top of a baking sheet. Broil until skin is browned and crispy, about 8-10 minutes per side.
  2. Meanwhile, heat butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Let melted butter start to brown before adding onion. Cook onion in browned butter until soft, about 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute before adding ketchup, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar and Worcestershire. Bring to a simmer and cover. Let simmer while chicken broils.
  3. Remove broiled chicken from wire rack and place into a large, 13×9 inch baking dish. Pour sauce over the top. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook chicken, uncovered, for 1 hour, basting every 15 minutes with sauce.

Step-By-Step Instructions

Heat oven broiler. Season leg quarters with salt, pepper, and paprika. Place on a wire rack that’s placed on top of a baking sheet. Broil until skin is browned and crispy, about 8-10 minutes per side.

Meanwhile, heat butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Let melted butter start to brown before adding onion. Cook onion in browned butter until soft, about 3-4 minutes.

Add garlic and cook for another minute before adding ketchup, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar and Worcestershire. Bring to a simmer and cover. Let simmer while chicken broils.

Remove broiled chicken from wire rack and place into a large, 13×9 inch baking dish.

Pour sauce over the top. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook chicken, uncovered, for 1 hour, basting every 15 minutes with sauce.

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3 thoughts on “Lady Bird Johnson’s Barbecue Chicken

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