How to Make New York State Fair Style Chicken at Home

With the fate of the New York State Fair still waiting to be determined we got thinking about the great food that will be missed out on. You can keep deep fried Oreos, what we’re thinking about is the chicken!

There’s something that just tastes better in that chicken. You can go purchase the State Fair Sauce marinade but it just never comes out the same. So we tried a few things and came up with this recipe. The marinade is important, but what’s even more important is the smoke and heat. But don’t worry, we used a simple Weber grill with some store bought charcoal and a piece of maple wood.

First you’ll need a marinade. We made our own Italian Dressing but after trying this out a few times we realized that the marinade isn’t as  important as we thought. So if you want to skip this part and purchase an oil and vinegar based Italian Dressing that will work fine. We chose to make ours because it’s pretty easy and won’t contain any preservatives.

Basic Italian Dressing for Marinade:

1/2 Cup Olive Oil

1/3 Cup Red Wine Vinegar

1/4 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar

1 Tablespoon Honey

1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt

1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard

1 Teaspoon White Sugar

1/2 teaspoon of the following: Dried Oregano, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder

(Optional is fresh thyme and mint, rough chopped)

If you put all of this in a jar or tupperware you can give it a good mix. Let it sit at room temperature for an hour. We made double this recipe to use what we didn’t pour over the chicken for a pasta salad as a side.

How to Make New York State Fair Style Chicken

The Chicken Part

Cut a whole chicken in half. Don’t trim any skin or fat it’s not necessary. Just split it in two and put it into a one gallon ziplock bag.

Pour in enough Italian Dressing marinade to almost cover the chicken. Then arrange the two halves so the bag can lay flat. This will effectively submerge half of the chicken at a time. Put it in the fridge (*pro tip: put the plastic bag into a tupperware or on a sheet tray just in case someone accidentally pokes a hole in the bag. You and your fridge will thank us later!)

24 hours in the marinade is what the goal is. Flip the bag over to submerge the other side of the chicken every 8 hours.

The Grill Part

Get your charcoal started by a chimney and let them get hot. Once they’re red hot, place them on half of your weber grill. We got a large piece of maple from a neighbor and used that. We butted it up against the coals to provide extra smokey flavor. But if you don’t have a large piece of maple, you can purchase smaller ones. Make sure you follow the directions on the package.

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Once the coals and wood is in place, rotate the grill so the part that was over the coals is now not over the coals. Once you take the chicken out of the marinade, let it drip dry while you get the fire going. Once the grill is ready, place the chicken on the grill skin side down, but NOT over the coals. Make sure the damper is wide open and close the lid.

Keep close. With the oil and fat with the chicken there’s always the chance that it’s dripping on the coals and you need to put it out. You can always put a tin of water underneath the chicken to make sure it doesn’t catch. But if you don’t line it up right it can catch anyway.

At the 30 minute mark, flip the chicken. Put the lid back on and close the damper half way. Let it go for 45 minutes.

Open up the lid. The wood should be burnt out and the coals should be hot but not red not anymore. Put the chicken directly over the coals skin side down and put the lid back on for 10 minutes. Then flip the chicken and open the dampers. Let it smoke another 30 minutes.

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The best way to know if your chicken is done is to use a thermometer and get an internal temperature of 165 degrees. But once the meat starts pulling away from the bone it’s usually close.

Let it rest for at least 10 minutes if not longer before eating. We served our with pasta salad. It’s really good that day. But somehow ten times better the next day, cold out of the fridge.

 

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