Friday, May 11, 2012

Mothers' Day Old School BBQ Chicken

Happy Mothers' Day Weekend!

We celebrated Mother's Day and my mom's birthday a week early last weekend.  We decided to go "old school" and do a family picnic like we used to do when I was a kid.   We spent the day at a beautiful park on the lake, grilled out, and just enjoyed family time.

And speaking of being a kid, remember how your parents always told you the best presents were the ones that you made for them yourself?  I guess it still applies because tonight I was talking to my mom and she again said how she could not have had a better time last weekend.  

I call this "Old School BBQ Chicken" for two reasons.  First, it is what I first ever considered "BBQ Chicken", grilled chicken with a no nonsense Southern style BBQ sauce, sweet and tangy.  Second, the BBQ sauce recipe that I used is literally old school.  It is adapted and updated from one that my mother got in her Home Ec class at Clarkton High School in North Carolina back in the 1950's.  

To stay with the Southern style BBQ sauce theme, we paired this dish with Bush's Grillin' Beans Southern Pit Barbecue flavor.  The beans slow cooked in a tangy, rich barbecue sauce were a perfect match for the Old School BBQ Chicken. 

Old School BBQ Chicken
Serves: 6

  • 6 ea chicken breast halves, boneless, skinless
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 1.5 tsp black pepper
  • 1.5 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 cup tangy, Southern style BBQ sauce (see recipe for Old School BBQ Sauce)

  1. Preheat a charcoal grill to 350f degrees (medium heat).  
  2. Season chicken on both sides with the salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  
  3. Grill the chicken until it hits an internal temp of 155f, about 6-8 minutes per side*.
  4. Brush the chicken with the BBQ sauce and cook until it hits an internal temp of 165f, about 2 more minutes per side.  
  5. Serve with Bush's Grillin' Beans Southern Pit Barbecue flavor beans.  
  • Cook according to internal temperature, not times.  Cooking on an open park grill on a windy day like we did took 28 minutes total compared to the 14-16 minutes I get on my covered grills at home.  
Old School BBQ Sauce
Source:  Adapted from my mom, who adapted it from her Home Ec teacher Ms. Baldwin. 

  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1/2 cup sweet onion, diced
  • 2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce 
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 4 tsp stone ground mustard
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tsp roasted garlic
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  1. Preheat a sauce pan over medium high heat.  
  2. Add the butter and simmer the onion for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients, bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
  4. Use an immersion blender to blend the ingredients until smooth.
  5. Simmer for 5 more minutes.
  6. Cool and store in a jar for up to two weeks.
It was a very good meal considering the beast of a grill on which I was cooking!  My mom mentioned that she had a coupon for Grillin' Beans but didn't know which one to try.  Easy!  I told her that they are all good! 

Here are some pics of the food
Park grills are horrible to use but they have pretty views.

I left the rub at home so we raided the utensil packets for their salt and pepper.  It worked!  Photo credit:  Mom 

My dad and me at the grill.

We went with the Southern Pit Barbecue beans.

So this goose walks up all agitated as if to say, "You're cooking POULTRY!?!?"

A small foil loaf pan fits a can of Grillin' Beans perfectly and doesn't take up much space on the grill.

Notice that I brought my grill grate from home?  The park one was all nasty! 

Here are some pictures of the fun stuff we did.
There are 14 grill areas at The Cove at Concord.  We got the one we wanted on the point.

My mom is around and I act like a kid again, climbing trees.  Photo credit:  Mom

Trevor tried out kayaking in the lagoon area....

And then headed out to the lake.

Alexis and my dad on the swing.  Photo credit: Mom

Reverse angle of that same basic shot.

People swam at the beach and played volleyball on the sand courts.

We caught up about the past 3 months.

We may be out doors but have to have a center piece.

Some people napped....

Then my mom and I took pictures of the Super Moon.

As we left, I took this shot of Trevor "holding" the moon.  
It was a great weekend.  I hope you all get to have as great of a time as we did for your Mothers' Day weekend.

Standard Disclaimer:  This post is part of a series sponsored by Bush's Grillin' Beans.


  1. Canada geese in Tenessee in May? Is that normal?

  2. What a great gift to your mom and the whole family for that fact. As a kid and before I saw the light, that was BBQ chicken for us as well, except it always has more black on it than yours. Very wise of you to take your own grill grate. I dislike those grills but prefer them to those now in Cades Cove, which don't flip up, making it difficult to get the charcoal in place.

  3. What a wonderful day! Looks like you had the perfect picnic. We used to load up and either head down to a sandy beach on the Arkansas River or over to Sterling Lake. Such wonderful memories. Your BBQ sauce recipe is much like the only recipe I have in my database. I think it's a perfect flavor. Love the shot of Trevor holding the moon.

  4. What a beautiful post, Chris. This looks like the perfect way to celebrate Mother's Day! I was so relieved that you brought along your own grill grate. Those park grills scare me!

    Kim in MD

  5. Looks like it was a day to remember and a wonderful Mother's Day present. I need to try the sauce and remember to take my own grill top when we do this sort of thing.

  6. Wonderful meal and day! Thanks for sharing and Happy mother's day to Alexis and your mom!

  7. Good job of capturing our fantastic weekend,Chris!It couldn't have been better.


  8. Sounds like you had a wonderful time :-). What better way to celebrate Mother's Day! The photos are just beautiful. And the recipe too - I love that golden crust on the chicken, looks so tender and juicy. Perfection!

    I would like to invite you to share this post (and other posts :-) ) on a new photo based recipe sharing site that launched only this Monday. The idea is simple: all recipe photographs are published within minutes of submission. And, of course, the images link back to the author's site.

    It's called RecipeNewZ (with Z) -

    I hope you get a chance to visit and to share some of your delicious posts with our viewers. It would be a pleasure to have you on board :-)

  9. Awesome photos Chris! So glad you and your family had a nice Mother's Day celebration. I love cooking on those beach/park grills. I don't know why but it just adds something special and the food always seems to taste that much better :)

  10. Aw, what a great weekend for Alexis and your Mom (and everyone else of course). Your pics remind me of when we used to go camping when the kids were growing up. Nice memories. On a side note, I'm headed to the States this coming weekend and I'm going to look for Bush's beans. We can't get them up here and it drives me nuts every time you post about them, lol.

  11. Nice job. I felt like I was there - I was even pissed you left the rub home!

  12. What a fantastic day! The whole meal looks delicious and the photos are great.

  13. A day in the life (the very good life). GREG

  14. That old school barbecue sauce you shared sounds awesome. Quite a few different ingredients that I haven't put into BBQ sauce before. Gonna have to pin it and give it a go this season.

    Looks like you all had a fantastic time. I haven't had a cookout at a park like that since I was a kid.

  15. I love all of these photos. Your meal sounds delicious, but the family pics trumped even that deliciousness. What a great day for Alexis and your mom!

  16. Sometimes...I wish we still had home ec classes. where else is a girl supposed to get her bbq sauce recipes from!?!?

  17. Looks like you all had a great time.. and that the food was just an added bonus to the weekend! The chicken looks amazing, Chris!

  18. I don't know why but the picture of that goose looking at teh food made me laugh! Haha!!

  19. Love that old school sauce! I still make some of my recipes from home ec too. But I'll never tell what year it was! Great pics especially the goose.

  20. You're not kidding about public grills! When we were camping on Mother's Day weekend, Matt kept texting me, "We need a bottle opener", "We need an extra blanket", "OMG this grill's disgusting DON'T FORGET THE TIN FOIL!"

    Second note: I hate geese. That goose and I would have had words. It could have become violent.


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