Finger-Lickin' Finger Lakes Chicken

By • June 19, 2011 • 56 Comments

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Author Notes: Cornell Chicken, marinated in vegetable oil, apple cider vinegar, poultry seasoning, lots of salt and an egg (http://ecommons.cornell.edu/bitstream/1813/2652/2/bbq.pdf ) was invented more than 60 years ago by a professor of animal science with the intent of getting people to eat more chicken instead of using them just to lay eggs. To this day it remains is omnipresent at all manner of public gatherings in the Finger Lakes region, from country fairs to Boy Scout fund-raisers, VFW dinners, 4-H club outings and beyond. I had my first taste of Prof. Baker's crispy, tangy barbequed chicken along with some Finger Lakes riesling on a picnic at Lake Owasco a gazillion years ago; here's my updated version of the original. I used split chicken breasts to even out the cooking time, but you could use a whole chicken, quartered, or even a couple of Cornish game hens, split. - wssmomwssmom

Food52 Review: Wssmom’s chicken really is finger-lickin’ good. I had never marinated in an aioli base before but I certainly will again and again—the 8-hour bath in aioli and vinegar renders a juicy tender chicken that stands up to grilling without any dryness. I thought that is might be very vinegary and/or herby, but it’s not, those are just subtle notes in what is very good grilled chicken. We tried both breasts and thighs, and also tried it both warm and cold. AND – I used the extra aioli to marinate a pork tenderloin which I also grilled. All variations were tender and delicious. This is a go-to recipe for the rest of the summer and beyond.aargersi

Serves 4

Fresh Herb Aioli

  • 1 large organic egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup grapeseed oil
  • 1 minced clove garlic
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1 cup champagne vinegar (yes, one cup)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh sage leaves
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary sprigs
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh oregano
  • some more salt
  1. In a suitable bowl, preferably one that won't spin around, whisk together the egg yolk, lemon juice and garlic. Add the oil a few drops at a time (or have someone do that for you), whisking until it emulsifies. Continue to dribble in the oil, whisking away, until all is incorporated.
  2. Put half the aioli in another bowl, saving the remainder for another use. Whisk in the vinegar, add the herbs and add a tad more salt than you think neccessary, about a teaspoon in my case.

Finger Lakes Chicken

  • 2 whole organic chicken breasts, split so you have four nice-sized pieces
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Fresh herb aioli
  1. Liberally sprinkle the chicken breasts with freshly ground pepper, put them in a ziplock bag with the aoili, smush so they are covered, and let marinate for at least three hours, or preferably overnight.
  2. Grill, bone side down and covered, over medium heat for about 15-20 minutes, then turn and crank up the grill to high to finish, so that the skin gets nice and crispy.
  3. Chill and bring along to your picnic, and serve along with some lovely dry riesling.
Jump to Comments (56)

Tags: Jennifer Steinhauer, Jenny, Jenny's in the Kitchen, jestei

Comments (56) Questions (1)

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6 months ago cristinasciarra

This was wonderful. I made a double batch (using chicken thighs) on the grill for friends over the weekend. The chicken received rave reviews! I used a combination of champagne and white balsamic vinegars, because that's what I had. Once I added the vinegar, I definitely lost the emulsification and the marinade turned to soup, but I don't think it mattered one bit. I threw everything into gallon-sized ziplock bags, and then into the fridge for 24 hours. I will definitely make this recipe again, hopefully very soon!

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over 1 year ago DiggingDogFarm

Having lived in the Finger Lakes region all my life and being very familiar with the classic version, I'm a bit skeptical but willing to give it a try,

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over 1 year ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Do you think a 24 hour marinade would be too long? I have my aioli ready but party is tomorrow afternoon - I can store separately ...

Me

over 1 year ago wssmom

Nope, have at it!

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over 1 year ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

This is the best chicken EVER!!

Me

over 1 year ago wssmom

Makes great picnic fare; if I have the time I'll bring some for Sunday's potluck!

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over 1 year ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Oh I'll meet you at the door with a plate and napkin in hand, That would be amazing. Oh yes!!!

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almost 2 years ago MaryDD

So I made a beautiful thick aioli but when I added the vinegar it just turned into liquid. I added back the half of the aioli that I took out to see if it would thicken but no such luck. Is the vinegar supposed to be whisked in as slowly as the oil? (Still using the mixture to marinate the chicken in.) Thanks!

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over 2 years ago Sarag

This takes me all the way back to Cayuga and Skaneateles, and the church chicken dinners I hunted down in college. I can't imagine apple recipe without the full on zing from apple cider, but I will give this version a try. We've been making the good old Cornell, aka white barbecue, marinade for decades.

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over 2 years ago Currli

Just wondering about a substitute for champagne vinegar. I live in a small town and our stores just don't have all these wonderful ingredients to try. Could I use apple cider vinegar and/or white wine vinegar and get a good result? I see that the original recipe used apple cider vinegar.

Me

over 2 years ago wssmom

Sorry for the late response, Currli, for dsome reason I haven't been getting any email notifications. White wine vinegar, rice vinegar and apple cider vinegar (maybe tempered with some water) would all work!

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almost 3 years ago myshkin

Can't wait to try this -- boating season will be early this year!

Me

over 2 years ago wssmom

This makes an awesome take along!

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over 3 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Amazing chicken! So glad to see this again.

Me

over 3 years ago wssmom

Thanks sde!

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over 3 years ago cateler

oh I fear I'm on the wrong track. My marinade mixture is SO far away from being a slather! First my aoili broke and I had to add some extra egg yolk to fix it. So after the first rescue I carried on. However, whisking a cup of vinegar into the fixed mayo turned it to soup - no slathering to be done with that. So now we have a chicken in a zipper bag full of semi-thickened vinegar. Gonna throw it on the grill and see what happens! Was the end result of the aioli plus vinegar supposed to be spreadable?

Me

over 3 years ago wssmom

Sorry I didn't see this yesterday (on the road!) It should have been slather-able, but I don't see why it shouldn't taste good; the original recipe that inspired it called for oil with an egg beaten into it. The only thing to watch out for from that is flare-ups from the oil dripping on the coals. Let me know how it turned out!

Dscn3274

over 3 years ago inpatskitchen

Thanks for this wonderful recipe! I made it last night with only two minor changes...I did a whole chicken halved...and because of my fear of chicken not being done when grilled, I put it in the oven for about 20 minutes before serving. It truly is Finger Lickin Good!!!

Me

over 3 years ago wssmom

I am thrilled you enjoyed it!

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over 3 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I am making this again tonight!

Me

over 3 years ago wssmom

I hope it was as good second time around!

Me

over 3 years ago wssmom

I hope it was as good second time around!

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over 3 years ago lapadia

Yum, thanks for sharing, wssmom!

Me

over 3 years ago wssmom

Thanks, lapadia! Just made this for the Book Club meeting tonight and it vanished quickly!

Monkeys

over 3 years ago monkeymom

I love chicken for picnics...this looks amazing. Can't wait to try it!

Me

over 3 years ago wssmom

Please let me know how you like it!

Meg_b_f52

over 3 years ago meganvt01

I am going to be trying this visiting my inlaws on LI this weekend, it looks amazing!

Me

over 3 years ago wssmom

Where on LI?

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over 3 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Wow - this sounds amazing - I have never seen chicken done this way but it is now on Saturday's menu (Saturday morning I buy a chicken at the farmer's market)

Me

over 3 years ago wssmom

Please let me know how you like it!

Crackl

over 3 years ago fo

yes, i will be trying this one. i will try anything - well, almost anything ; ) - with chicken. its a wonder that people think of it as bland or boring? its an empty canvas for so much deliciousness, and this is a recipe to prove it!

Me

over 3 years ago wssmom

I so agree frankie

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over 3 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

yum

Me

over 3 years ago wssmom

You must try this with an organic chicken!

Mrs._larkin_370

over 3 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

This sounds incredibly awesome.

Me

over 3 years ago wssmom

It is remarkable, and remarkably different!

Dscn3274

over 3 years ago inpatskitchen

I'm always looking for grilled chicken recipes..this sounds fabulous! Thanks for sharing.

Me

over 3 years ago wssmom

I hope you get a chance to try it soon!

Me

over 3 years ago wssmom

I hope you get a chance to try it soon!

Me

over 3 years ago wssmom

I hope you get a chance to try it soon!

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over 3 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

This is gorgeous, I've never made chicken like that, your picture is great the chicken looks so juicy and tender. Wow!C

Me

over 3 years ago wssmom

It is tender and juicy, and the skin is amazing ..

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over 3 years ago Sagegreen

Wow, this looks and sounds wonderful! Even with grad school up the way in Syracuse I had not heard of this until now with your great recipe! Thanks.

Me

over 3 years ago wssmom

No, thank you! I believe the original remains a staple to this day at Little League fund-raisers, K of C picnics and fire department outings in western New York.

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over 3 years ago Lizthechef

Oh yum, definitely trying this on the grill.

Me

over 3 years ago wssmom

It's delish right off the grill as well as chilled.

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over 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Learning all sorts of new uses for mayo. Fascinating. And beautiful.

Me

over 3 years ago wssmom

Thanks! I am inordinately fond of mayo (which usually I just apply directly to my hips) ....

Dscn2212

over 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Oh, me too. It's just me at home, but I still buy the large jars. You are planning to post this to the contest, right?

Me

over 3 years ago wssmom

Yes, was just awaiting photo, etc.

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over 3 years ago dymnyno

This sounds delicious! I have a similar method of cooking chicken, but I just use Best Foods mayo and add the herbs and slather away. The mayo keeps the chicken very moist and makes a nice crust with the herbs.(I use this on fish fillets too.)

Me

over 3 years ago wssmom

Fish! Yes! What a great idea! Do you slather it on both sides, or do you schmear on one side and then broil it?

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over 3 years ago dymnyno

I slather both sides of the fish. This method is especially great on salmon. On chicken, I remove the skin and then slather. (I have never been a skin person)

Me

over 3 years ago wssmom

Have salmon, will try soon!

Buddhacat

over 3 years ago SKK

This sounds amazing!

Me

over 3 years ago wssmom

Thanks! If you've never had it, you must try the original!