Sweet and Tangy Oven-Barbecued Chicken

While looking for a quick midweek meal, this recipe seemed to tick all my boxes; kid-friendly, ready in under an hour, not too fussy, and most of the ingredients were already in my kitchen. Unfortunately the final results were extremely disappointing. The very light browning of the chicken in step 4 was far too little to build up any real flavor. Overall, the chicken was extremely one-dimensional, with an over-powering bbq sauce. To make matters worse, the sauce didn’t adhere to the skin, making the chicken seem slimy. As I was taking the internal temperature of the chicken, the tongs would remove all the sauce/crust leaving bare spots. At least the chicken was perfectly cooked; 165-degrees. Just 2-stars; Edible, but not much more to say than that.

Too slimy; just 2-stars

Too slimy; just 2-stars


  1. The results were slimy. The sauce slid right off chicken as I picked it up using tongs to take the internal temperature.
  2. While I prepared the extra sauce for serving in step 8, the chicken was already so overpoweringly dominated by the bbq sauce that adding any more was completely out-of-the-question.
  3. I’d recommend using a splatter-screen when you brown the chicken, so saving a big mess on your stovetop. If you don’t have one, its not a big deal, but will mean a little more cleanup.

Rating: 2-stars.
Cost: $8.50
How much work? Medium.
How big of a mess?  Medium/High.
Start time 5:00 PM. Dinner time 5:45 PM.

Chris Kimball’s original recipe is here. The descriptions of how I prepared the recipe today are given below:

1 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons grated onion (from 1/2 small onion)
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons maple syrup
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and ground black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

  1. Set an oven rack about 5 inches from the broiler element, and pre-heat (using bake) to 325-degrees.
  2. In a small bowl, add 1 cup ketchup, 2 tbsp grated onion, 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce, 2 tbsp Dijon mustard, 3 tbsp molasses, 2 tbsp maple syrup, 2 tbsp cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon chili powder and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Whisk together and set aside.
  3. Trim away any excess fat from chicken, pat dry using paper towels, and season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper.
  4. Put a 12″ oven-proof skillet (non-reactive) over high burner. Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and pre-heat until the oil begins to smoke. Brown the chicken, skin-side down, for 2 minutes until lightly golden. Use a splatter screen if you have one. Flip the chicken, using tongs, and brown the second side for another 2 minutes. Remove skillet from heat, and place chicken breasts on a clean plate and set aside.
  5. Discard any fat from the skillet, add sauce mixture (off heat) and use to deglaze the pan. Put skillet over medium burner and simmer sauce for 4 minutes. The sauce will thicken and a spatula run through the sauce will leave a clear trail.
  6. Again, remove the skillet from burner and add chicken back to pan, flipping with tongs to thickly coat the chicken with sauce. With the skin-side up, spoon a few extra spoons of sauce over each piece and bake at 325-degrees for 11 to 12 minutes. The internal temperature of the chicken should be 130-degrees.
  7. Set oven to broil and cook for another 6 to 12 minutes, until the internal temperature of the chicken should be 160-degrees.
  8. Remove the chicken to a serving platter. While the chicken rests for 5 minutes, whisk the sauce and put in a small bowl.

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