Cornell Chicken

The other day, I was at the New York Slow Food Cook-Off in beautiful Long Island City. There, Rub chef Scottie Smith spun me a yarn about the Cornell Chicken:

“As far as I know, it’s New York State’s only native Barbecue; and it originates from Cornell University, hence the name. In the 1950’s, there was a surplus of chicken. So the USDA tasked Cornell University to find a way to use the surplus of chicken. So professor Bob Baker actually came up with the recipe, and just released it in the newspapers and everything and people used up all the chicken.
And then Bob Baker ended up taking that recipe, and making millions of dollars at the New York State Fair every year, and you can still get Bob Baker’s Chicken up at the state fair every year.
…It’s just a marinade of eggs, vegetable oil, cider vinegar, poultry seasoning, a little salt and pepper. It’s pretty simple but it really brings out a lot in the chicken. Tastes pretty good once it’s been grilled up.”
Dr. Baker also invented the chicken nugget. He “published his chicken nugget recipe in the 1950s as unpatented academic work, while McDonald’s patented its recipe for Chicken McNuggets in 1979 and started selling the product in 1980 (wikipedia).” I have been unable to find the original nugget recipe on the internets.
Watch the video below to learn all you’ll ever want to know about Cornell Chicken. The original recipe is below, released by Cornell after Baker’s death in 2006. It’s a simple sauce, but it seems to be a real winner.
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Cornell Chicken
Cornell University, The Cornell Daily Sun
1 cup cooking oil
1 pint cider vinegar
3 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 egg

Beat the egg, then add oil and beat again. Add other ingredients, then stir. The recipe can be varied to suit individual tastes. Makes enough for 10 chicken halves. Leftover sauce can be stored in a glass jar and stored in a refrigerator for several weeks.

Baker suggests that to cook chicken broilers, you need a hot, non-flaming fire. Broilers should be placed over the cooking fire after the flames are gone. Use this barbecue sauce as a basting material, he suggests. During cooking, the sauce should be brushed on the chicken every few minutes.

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