Chicken Drumsticks with Balsamic BBQ Sauce

I was let in on a secret this weekend: Hot Sauce tastes absolutely amazing on grilled corn on the cob! Oh. Did you already know this? Because if so, I’d like to know why you’ve been holding out on me with this tasty little gem. We had a BBQ this past long weekend, and Kyle’s cousin’s fiance started talking about how much he enjoys Frank’s Red Hot sauce on corn on the cob. Hmm. I like corn on the cob. I like hot sauce. Yes – I will try this. Everyone at the table dashed some sauce on the hot, charred corn. I will never eat corn on the cob without hot sauce again. I suspect those who also buttered their cob had a more decadent experience, but it isn’t necessary. The combination of the salted, smoky corn pared with the vinegary Franks was perfect – hot, sour, salty, sweet – my taste bud’s idea of good bite. No recipe needed for this, but if you insist: 1. Dash hot sauce on cooked corn on the cob. 2. Put corn to mouth and bite. 3. Enjoy the party in your mouth. Your welcome.

Kyle’s cousin is getting married this summer in Nova Scotia. I am eagerly anticipating this trip, as I’ve never been to the East Coast of Canada before. I am looking forward to seeing the Atlantic from Canada’s coast; to touring historical sites (i.e. Titanic graveyard, the Halifax Explosion monument, Citadel Hill, and so on); to going whale watching; and of course to seeing all of Kyle’s family during the two weekends that we’re there (first weekend is the wedding, and then the following is a family reunion!). But I will confess that I have been getting absolutely, uncontrollably giddy when I start to think about the food! I plan on absolutely gorging myself on seafood each and every day – fresh lobster! fresh scallops! fresh clams! fresh mussels! fresh fish! OH MY!! and for pennies compared to what we pay for this same bounty in the North. I already have my maternity pants on order for the week.

The lovely couple are planning on giving BBQ sauce in mini jars away as favours. How awesome is that?!? Over the next month they will be testing various recipes so they will be ready for cooking and jarring their favourites once they get back home a week before the wedding. It just so happened that I had tried a new BBQ sauce recipe for chicken that night, and it turned out to be really delicious. Since they enjoyed it, I thought I’d share it with them (well – everyone else too!). While there are times where a store-bought BBQ sauce comes in handy (dipping chicken wings into late….late at night), I usually whip up my own. Making your own BBQ sauce does not take much effort – if you omit garlic, onions, herbs from the mix, it’s usually just a matter of pouring, sprinkling, stirring, and heating. The results are typically more full of flavour and you get to control what’s actually going into your sauce. Oh, and you can experiment with wonderful things like coffee, peaches, habaneros, bourbon…I’ll stop myself, because I could go on.

A couple of months ago I was watching Giada At Home on Food Network. She was making a BBQ sauce for chicken and steak that included balsamic vinegar. This wasn’t too unusual. I’ve added this before. What I was surprised about was the amount. A full CUP of vinegar to 3/4 cup of ketchup. I was intrigued. But I’ll admit I didn’t add the full amount. Like most people I enjoy the smooth, less acidic flavour of a good balsamic; but I don’t enjoy my BBQ sauces to be overpowering with vinegar. I also can’t bear to part with some heat in my sauce…so some chili flakes were added to the mix as well. The results of the recipe was a slightly tangy, sauce with a subtle heat. As one person said, it had a very steak-sauceish flavour – likely the high amount of Worcestershire. I loved it on the grilled chicken. It tasted even better the next day, thick and cold on the leftovers. Maybe someday I’ll try Giada’s unmodified version. But for now I think this one is just right.

Grilled Chicken with Balsamic BBQ Sauce

Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

for the sauce
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup ketchup
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 garlic clove, grated or minced
1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 – 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

3 lbs  chicken drumsticks
salt & pepper

Combine all the sauce ingredients in a small saucepan. Simmer the ingredients over medium heat until the mixture is reduced by approximately 1/3 – about 20 minutes. Stir frequently. When reduced, pour some of the sauce in a bowl to serve with the cooked chicken. Set aside the remaining sauce to baste the chicken.

Heat your gas or charcoal grill to medium-high. Season the chicken with the salt and pepper. Grill the chicken for approximately 20-25 minutes, or until the juices run clear. Turn the chicken a few times in order to grill all sides. Near the last 5 minutes of cooking, start basting the chicken with the sauce.

Remove chicken to a platter and let rest for 5-10 minutes. Serve the remaining sauce with the chicken.

Serves 4- 8, depending on what else is served with dinner.

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