Baked Chicken When It’s Too Hot to Bake

One of my favorite homey dinner standbys is baked chicken (bone-in chicken parts).  The recipe is so easy, I’m almost too embarrassed to publish it (but not quite 😉 )

Gratuitous picture of cute baked chicken eating toddler

You can prepare the chicken a number of different ways – I rub it with olive oil, sprinkle the parts with salt and smoked paprika, then serve with lemon wedges to squeeze on top.  But you could doll it up anyway you’d like.  By marinating it first using your favorite marinade recipe, for example.  Or you could make a mustard/olive oil/garlic/chopped herb paste and rub it with that.  For a barbecue spin, coat it in your favorite barbecue sauce jazzed up with extra brown sugar and mustard.  If you’re in the mood for fried chicken, brush the parts with melted butter and roll them in seasoned breadcrumbs before baking (kind of like a DIY shake-n- bake).

But after you prepare it you’re going to need to bake it.  For almost a whole hour.  I know that’s not what you want to hear when it’s 7000 degrees outside.  Here’s a solution: instead of baking it in a moderate (350 – 375 degree) oven for 50 minutes or so, just fire up the grill.  But instead of grilling, you’ll place the prepared chicken in a shallow baking pan tightly covered with foil.  Preheat the grill to medium.  When the grill is hot, put your covered pan on the outside (or cooler) section of the grill and close the lid.  The chicken is done in about 50 minutes, or when a meat thermometer placed in the thickest piece registers 165.

While you’re waiting for the chicken to cook, you’re not going to have much to do.  So why not uncork a bottle of cool, refreshing  Cave la Romaine Côtes du Ventoux 2011 Rosé Tradition ($10) ?   Made from Grenache and Cinsault, it’s a classic Rhône rosé. Dry, with light fruit flavors, and enough acidity to go with the salad you’re eating. Because it’s hot, remember? At $10 a bottle, there’s no better way to cool off.

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