Finger-Lickin' Finger Lakes Chicken

By wssmom
June 19, 2011
59 Comments


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 Professor Baker's crispy, tangy barbecued 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.wssmom

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
Prep time: 8 hrs
Cook time: 20 min

Ingredients

For the fresh herb aioli

  • 1 large organic egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minched
  • 1 cup grapeseed oil
  • 1 pinch sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 cup Champagne vinegar (yes, 1 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh sage leaves
  • 1 teaspoon minched fresh rosemary sprigs
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh oregano

For the Finger Lakes chicken

  • 2 whole organic chicken breasts, split so you have four nice-sized pieces
  • 1 pinch freshly ground pepper
  • 1 serving fresh herb aioli marinade (above)

Directions

For the fresh herb aioli

  1. In a large bowl, preferably one that won't spin around, whisk together the egg yolk, lemon juice, and garlic. Add the grapeseed oil in few drops at a time (having a friend do this helps), whisking until it emulsifies. Continue to dribble in the oil, whisking away, until it's completely incorporated.
  2. Put half the aioli in another bowl, saving the remainder for another use. To form a marinade, whisk in the vinegar to the aioli, add the herbs and add a tad more salt than you think necessary, about 1 teaspoon in my case.

For the Finger Lakes chicken

  1. Liberally sprinkle the chicken breasts with freshly ground pepper, put them in a ziplock bag with the marinade, smush them so they are covered, and let marinate for at least 3 hours, or preferably overnight.
  2. Grill, bone side down and covered, over medium heat for about 15 to 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—serve with some lovely, dry riesling.

More Great Recipes:
American|Chicken|Make Ahead|Serves a Crowd|Grill/Barbecue|Outdoor Entertaining|Tailgating|Backyard BBQ|Summer|Fourth of July|Gluten-Free|Dinner

Reviews (59) Questions (2)

59 Comments

Grazia July 29, 2018
If you put a damp towel (can be paper) under your bowl it will be more stable and not dance around. It works for a cutting board too.<br />
 
suttonsr July 1, 2018
Does anyone know when you add the vinegar. The recipe does not say and in the comments no one ever answered the person who said she added the vinegar and it became a mess.<br /><br />I hate when someone gives a recipe and does not give the complete recipe
 
franny July 1, 2018
Take a second look at the recipe. It's in there.<br /><br />
 
inpatskitchen July 1, 2018
The recipe says to add the vinegar to half of the aioli which becomes the marinade.
 
Rachel L. June 28, 2018
What oil can I sub for the grapeseed oil?
 
Dogolaca June 25, 2018
Is it possible that this recipe will work without so-called "organic" chicken? Asking for a friend.
 
KL April 30, 2017
Would this work with boneless skinless chicken breast in the oven? Are usually don't cook chicken with skin on because it increases the fat content of the meat. Thank you.
 
Chana O. October 24, 2015
What would happen if you kept some uncooked chicken frozen in the marinade for quick suppers/surprise company etc.
 
Cristina S. June 23, 2014
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!
 
DiggingDogFarm July 1, 2013
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,
 
Jim June 30, 2018
How does this recipe vary from the "classic version"?
 
DiggingDogFarm June 30, 2018
Please see this thread on eGullet.org:<br />"Dr. Baker's Famous Cornell Chicken Extension Bulletin"<br />https://forums.egullet.org/topic/147488-dr-bakers-famous-cornell-chicken-extension-bulletin/
 
aargersi June 14, 2013
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 ...
 
Author Comment
wssmom June 26, 2013
Nope, have at it!
 
MaryDD March 3, 2013
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!
 
Sarag July 23, 2012
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.
 
Currli May 22, 2012
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.
 
Author Comment
wssmom July 6, 2012
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!
 
myshkin March 12, 2012
Can't wait to try this -- boating season will be early this year!
 
Author Comment
wssmom May 14, 2012
This makes an awesome take along!
 
cateler July 13, 2011
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?
 
Author Comment
wssmom July 14, 2011
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!
 
inpatskitchen July 13, 2011
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!!!
 
Author Comment
wssmom July 13, 2011
I am thrilled you enjoyed it!
 
aargersi July 12, 2011
I am making this again tonight!
 
Author Comment
wssmom July 13, 2011
I hope it was as good second time around!
 
Author Comment
wssmom July 13, 2011
I hope it was as good second time around!
 
lapadia June 24, 2011
Yum, thanks for sharing, wssmom!
 
Author Comment
wssmom June 24, 2011
Thanks, lapadia! Just made this for the Book Club meeting tonight and it vanished quickly!
 
monkeymom June 23, 2011
I love chicken for picnics...this looks amazing. Can't wait to try it!
 
Author Comment
wssmom June 23, 2011
Please let me know how you like it!
 
meganvt01 June 21, 2011
I am going to be trying this visiting my inlaws on LI this weekend, it looks amazing!
 
Author Comment
wssmom June 21, 2011
Where on LI?
 
aargersi June 20, 2011
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)
 
Author Comment
wssmom June 20, 2011
Please let me know how you like it!
 
fo June 20, 2011
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!
 
Author Comment
wssmom June 20, 2011
I so agree frankie