If you ask us, there’s two reasons [we hope] people love heading over to Martin’s to grab some grub: 1) the finger-lickin’ food 2) the laid back, down home, friendly and smoky vibe. That’s why we love it too. And while we want you to have a chance at recreating our delicious food and laid back vibe in the comfort of your own home, we would imagine you’d might like do so without all the smoke every now and then. We understand. That’s why this baked BBQ chicken is so great: it’s got great flavor without the fuss of firing up a grill. And no, we ain’t blowing smoke.
To keep this chicken extra juicy and tender, we like to make a simple brine that will add extra moisture and flavor to the bird for optimum chin-dripping deliciousness. It may seem fussy, but brining your bird requires just basic ingredients and a little bit of planning ahead, and in the end it makes a huge difference. After your bird has taken an overnight bath in your fridge however, all that’s left to do is marinate, brush, and bake.
Although we usually use our Sweet Dixie Bar-B-Que Sauce on porky delights like ribs at the Joint, our traditional sweet vinegar-tomato sauce goes great with chicken, too. The sugars in the sauce caramelize in the oven, making the skin a little crispy and perfectly tacky—exactly how you want barbecue chicken. We usually brush on a little extra sauce before we dive in. It’s always good to keep things saucy!
1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces
4 cups water
1 cup vinegar
½ cup salt
1 head garlic, crushed
Thyme, or other fresh herbs
1 cup Martin's Bar-B-Que Sweet Dixie Sauce, plus more for brushing
In a container large enough to contain chicken, whisk together water, vinegar, and salt. Stir in garlic and thyme. Submerge chicken and cover container. Brine overnight, in refrigerator.
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Remove chicken from brine and rinse with cool water. Pat to dry, then toss in 1 cup Sweet Dixie until covered. Transfer chicken onto a sheet tray and bake for 10-15 minutes, until skin is beginning to crisp. Lower heat to 350 and bake chicken for another 45 minutes. After 20 minutes, brush chicken with more sauce and then return to oven to finish baking.
Remove chicken from oven and brush with one final layer of Sweet Dixie. Cool chicken for 5 minutes, and serve with coleslaw, potato salad, or your favorite southern side.
NOTE: You may want to cover your pan with foil for easier cleanup.