Nothing goes better with the end of summer than charred meats. But regular-ass BBQ gets old pretty quick. Sure, it’s tangy and nostalgic– it’s just that we’ve been putting it on everything from ribs to fries to sunburn since June. We’re ready for a change. Funky, fermented change.
Miso is a nutty, mind bendingly delicious soybean paste that’s found in all of our favorite Asian food. It adds a certain finger-licking savoriness that was welcome in our standard-issue BBQ base. Slathered on chicken (and caramelized to oblivion), we can’t stop eating it. When picking out your miso, know that the darker the color, the more intense the flavor. We used red miso (one of the strongest) in this recipe, but you can swap for milder white miso, if you’re a newb.
A quick note on chicken:
Buying whole birds is the best choice you can make for your wallet, for the food chain, and for your stomach. Pound for pound, it’s cheaper and that lets you spend those extra bucks on an animal that had a better quality of life and lived a little closer to home. It also gives you the opportunity to use the whole dang thing. When you buy a boneless, skinless chicken breast, the rest of that bird’s gotta go somewhere. Instead of letting it end up in whatever dump is used for slaughterhouse scraps and SmashMouth cassingles, it can end up in your stock pot as the base of a tasty soup. Also don’t forget: dark meat covered in crispy, saucy skin is pretty much fucking heaven.
Just the same, we don’t know your life. We get that it’s not always practical (even though it IS always easy) to cut up a chicken. If your heart needs a cut up and cryovac’d hunk-o-bird: try to switch it up between breasts, drums, wings, and thighs from time to time. It’s not a perfect fix, but it can help your butcher accommodate an unbalanced demand.
- 4 tbsp Red Miso
- 2 cloves Garlic, minced or crushed or microplaned to oblivion
- ⅓ cup Brown Sugar
- ¼ cup White Vinegar
- 1 ½ cup Tomato Sauce-- sub Ketchup in a pinch, and cut the sugar by half
- 3 tbsp Soy Sauce
- Chili paste (think: Sriracha or Sambal), to taste
- 3lb Whole Chicken, broken down into individual pieces-- or just quartered. Whatever.
- Combine everything but the chicken in a small saucepan and simmer over low heat until thick and bubbly. It usually takes about 20 minutes, but keep a close eye and stir often. Bring down to room temperature. You can store in the fridge for a few weeks, but we promise it won’t last that long.
- Place your cut-up chicken in a bowl.
- Reserve ½ cup of BBQ sauce for serving, and pour the rest over the chicken.
- Let the chicken hang out in the BBQ sauce as long as overnight (or as few as 15 minutes).
- When you're ready to cook, shake off any excess sauce and THROW IT AWAY. It is hot fucking lava.
- Cook on a ripping hot grill-- or roast in your oven-- until a thermometer hits 160°.
- Eat with your hands, add more sauce from the ½ cup you so cleverly reserved if you’d like, and don’t forget to lick your fingers.