Foolproof Barbecued Chicken

This is a good, dependable rub and mop sauce from Steven Raichlen's BBQ USA.

Rub Ingredients:

1 1/2 tsp. coarse salt
1 1/2 tsp. sweet paprika
1 1/2 tsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. celery seed

Mop Sauce Ingredients:

1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp. rub reserved from above


Combine the rub ingredients in a small bowl. Reserve 1 tbsp. of the rub for the mop sauce. Sprinkle the remaining rub over the chicken on both sides, patting it onto the meat with your fingertips. Let the chicken cure in the refrigerator, covered, for 1 to 2 hours.

Combine the vinegar, Worcestershire, and remaining 1 tbsp. of rub in a nonreactive mixing bowl and stir until the ingredients dissolve.

For a whole chicken (cut into halves, bone-in), Raichlen recommends indirect grilling (not directly above the fire) for 40-60 minutes, brushing the chicken with the mop sauce after 20 minutes and for every 10 minutes afterwards. I used big bone-in chicken breasts, which I grilled indirectly for about 20 minutes before moving them above the flame. I think it all depends on how hot your fire is. I like to at least make sure the bird is at least going to get cooked before the fire dies out, so moving it to direct feels safer. The mop sauce keeps the chicken from drying out. If you want to test doneness with an instant-read meat thermometer (I don't), the temperature should be about 180 degrees F.