Remix: Sweet & Spicy Mango Barbecued Chicken

Friday, June 15, 2012

I've been neglecting my blog lately so I'm going to make this short and sweet!  I did a summer inspired twist on my original post for Oven Barbecued Chicken. Instead of the Chipotle BBQ Sauce in the original recipe, I made a Sweet & Spicy Mango BBQ sauce, and modified the brine to infuse citrus flavors into the rather large chicken quarters I had. The sauce is deliciously fruity with plenty of heat from the jalapeno peppers but as always feel free to modify this to your liking. My favorite mangoes are honey mangoes so that's what I used, they tend to be slightly sweeter and in my opinion are more flavorful. I would love to try this on an outdoor grill, but if you're limited to using an oven this is the way to go. The three-step brine, sear & roast process consistently delivers moist chicken with a thick layer of caramelized sauce atop crispy skin. Enjoy!

Sweet & Spicy Mango Barbecued Chicken

4 large chicken quarters, skin-on, about 2.5 lbs
2 quarts warm water
4 tbsp sea salt
1/4 c. brown sugar
6 garlic cloves, crushed
2 lemons, quartered
2 limes, quartered
1 cup orange juice
2 T. coconut oil
Chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
Sweet & Spicy Mango BBQ Sauce, recipe follows

Servings: 4
Prep time: 15 minutes, plus up to 3 hours to brine
Cook Time: 45 minutes 
Equipment Needed: Extra large bowl w/ cover, and/or or plastic bag(s), large heavy duty roasting pan 

Sweet & Spicy Mango BBQ Sauce:
1 large sweet onion, finely diced
2" piece fresh ginger, peeled & minced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded & diced
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded & diced
1 1/2 c. diced fresh mango
1 c. diced tomatoes
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
Juice & zest of 2 limes
2 T. Liquid Smoke
1 tbsp dijon mustard
2 tsp allspice
3 T. honey
1/4 c. roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves & stems
Sea salt, to taste
White pepper, to taste
2 tbsp coconut oil (or preferred cooking oil)

Servings: 2 1/2 cups prepared sauce
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes 
Equipment Needed: Sauce pan, hand blender or upright blender, resealable jar 

To prepare brine, add brown sugar and salt to the warm water and stir until dissolved. Add crushed garlic and orange juice. Squeeze the juice from the lemons and lime and toss the peels into the brine. Allow to cool completely before using.

Add chicken to the brine if your container is large enough to fit it and has a tight lid. Otherwise, use large plastic bags to hold the chicken and brine. Make sure the chicken quarters are completely immersed in the brine. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 3 hours. 

To prepare the Sweet & Spicy Mango BBQ Sauce, heat a sauce pan over medium heat and add the oil. Saute the onions, garlic and ginger until fragrant.

Add diced bell peppers and jalapenos, and saute until onions and peppers are soft.

Add the diced mangoes to the pan and saute until mangoes soften and start to break down.

Add tomatoes, lime zest and lime juice to the pan. I used about 1/2 can diced tomatoes along with yellow cherry tomatoes. Any combination of fresh tomatoes is fine, or just use a whole can.

Turn down heat to medium-low and add the remaining ingredients, including salt & pepper to taste. Allow the sauce to simmer on low heat for at least 10 minutes.

Using a hand blender, puree the sauce until smooth. If you don't have a hand blender, let the sauce cool completely before transferring to an upright blender.

You'll need about a cup of sauce to baste the chicken, so transfer that to a separate container so as not to contaminate the remaining sauce from the raw chicken. Leftover sauce should be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated.

The remaining steps are essentially the same as the original Oven Barbecued Chicken post, so I'll just summarize the basics:

Preheat your oven to 400°.  Remove the chicken from the bags and discard the brine. Rinse the chicken off in cold water and season the skin lightly with white pepper. To a pan heated over medium high heat, add a couple tablespoons of oil. When the oil is hot and starts to shimmer, place your chicken skin-side down in the pan to sear the skin, 2-3 minutes.

Remove from the pan and place chicken on your roasting rack in one layer. Roast the chicken, without sauce, for 10 -15 minutes until golden brown.

Remove the pan from the oven and lightly baste your chicken in barbecue sauce, both top and bottom. Return the chicken to the oven and roast another 10 - 15 minutes.

Repeat the baste & roasting process for a total of 45 minutes, or until the thickest part of the chicken reaches 165°. 

If you like a little bit of charred skin, broil the chicken in the final 2-3 minutes. When the chicken is fully cooked, baste with a final application of barbecue sauce and transfer it to a serving platter or cutting board. Allow the chicken to rest for at least 5 minutes, this helps to retain the juices.

I served my barbecued chicken with a side of Coconut Brown Rice & steamed broccoli, as pictured. For a lighter meal, this would be great with a simple salad of mixed greens and a citrus vinaigrette.

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