Food Hacker: Independence Day BBQ

Every year I look forward to the Independence Day holiday. This year especially. For those of us in the U.S. lucky enough, this means a four-day weekend. (I have no idea how you Canucks are making out with the weekend.) And not only that, but Independence Day assumes a party. Face it, it’s an excuse for friends to get together, eat a lot of food, drink a lot of beer, and watch some fireworks. With any luck, no one will be lit on fire. Of course all of this is contingent on the fact that you are not a loser without friends. For the sake of argument, let’s say you are not, in fact, a loser without friends, and will be doing something social this coming holiday.

The next obstacle is food – what to bring? You can’t show up to a BBQ with chips and a six pack of Budweiser or you’ll be lynched on sight. On the other hand, a Julia Childs-type soufflé may not be your style. It’s cool, dudes and chicks. I’ve got something easy and cool for you to do. I know you want to disregard this column because it’s something to do with cooking, but trust me, I know what I’m doing.


What’s cooler than chicken wings and drumsticks? Ok smartasses, aside from something with ice in it. Head down to the grocery store and grab a large bag of frozen chicken wings and drumsticks. Wings and drumsticks are a cheaper option than chicken breasts, and it is definitely more party friendly. They’re also awesome, and if there’s anything you want to be associated with, it’s the word “awesome”.

Grilled Raspberry Chicken
Recipe courtesy Taste of Home Magazine

6 – 7 chicken thighs
6 – 7 chicken drumsticks
1 cup raspberry vinaigrette, plus 4 ½ teaspoons
2 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
1 ½ tsp. lime juice
½ tsp. soy sauce
1/8 tsp. garlic powder

1 large, gallon-sized Ziploc-type freezer bag
Medium-sized bowl
Fork & spoon
13×9 glass dish (if you’re going to BBQ this chicken, you will not need a glass dish)
Brush for marinade (optional – if you don’t have one, just use the back of a spoon)

As you can see from the ingredients list, there’s not a lot to this chicken. Don’t even worry about buying brand-name components. In fact, I usually use generic brand vinaigrette.

Don’t be put off by spices. I actually know people who don’t make food that have to do with spices, because they’re a little weirded out by owning them. McCormick has a couple different sizes of spice bottles, and you can pick up a small container of rosemary – I think it’s a little less than half the size of normal spice jars. It’s a cheaper option, and won’t scare you off like the regular sized container might. As for the garlic, you can never have enough garlic in your life. Buy the biggest container you can and dump it on everything you eat, until it’s coming out of your pores!

If you’re a snob, pick up a lime to squeeze the juice out of, otherwise just grab a cheap, plastic lime, filled with juice.

Plastic Lime Bottles

This is really simple to do. Trust me, I know what I’m doing.

Step 1: Open Ziploc-type freezer bag.

Step 2: Pour in 1 cup raspberry vinaigrette, and only 1 teaspoon of rosemary.

Step 3: Put chicken in bag.

Step 4: Zip up the freezer bag, shake it all around so the chicken is coated.

Step 5: Throw it in the fridge for the next hour. For those of you who lose track of the time, you should actually use a timer so you know when the hour is up.

Step 6: Drain the marinade out of the bag, zip up the bag, and set the chicken aside for a minute.

Step 7: In a medium sized bowl, toss in the following ingredients: 4 ½ teaspoons raspberry vinaigrette, 1 tsp. rosemary, raspberry jam, lime juice, soy sauce, garlic powder. Mix those together. This is your glaze, and you’re going to baste the chicken with this yummy, raspberry concoction. It sounds weird to put soy sauce and garlic in with the raspberry jam, but it really doesn’t overpower the jam to the point where the jam is a strange, salty mess. It’s actually quite good and it will mature a bit, blending with the chicken, while it’s in the oven.

Step 8: If you’re going to be taking these to a BBQ, just grab your bowl of glaze and bag of marinated chicken with you to the BBQ. Baste those suckers with your glaze and slap them on the grill! It will probably be easier (not to mention cleaner) if you cook them on top of some aluminum foil, and keep the foil between the chicken and the grill. If you aren’t going to BBQ them, skip this step and proceed to the next step.

Step 9: Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Line up your chicken in the glass dish, and baste them with half of the glaze.

Step 10: Cook for 20 minutes.

Step 11: Turn chicken over, baste with the other half of the glaze.

Step 12: Cook for 20 minutes.

Step 13: Eat.

There you have it. It’s not difficult, as it is just waiting for it to sit in the marinade or wait for it to grill. Take these with you to your holiday party, and you’ll be more closely associated with “awesome” than ever before.


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