When I walked into the Iacono Farm store, the phone was ringing off the hook. It was a day in advance of a big holiday weekend and apparently everyone on the East End of Long Island was bound and determined to serve Iacono Chicken (106 Long Lane, Easthampton NY Tel: 631 324 1107). That was my goal too and the reason that I had arrived moments after the place opened at one o’clock in the afternoon. I was glad I did because as I stood there waiting for Anthony Iacono to cut up my birds, it wasn’t very long before his mother, Mrs. Iacono, started telling prospective customers that they’d have to wait till Sunday or Monday for a chicken. And what is so special about an Iacono chicken?
|Much loved for 21 years and counting|
My quest for the perfect chickens, which I bought four of due to their relatively small size, was so that I could recreate a recipe that I first made 21 years ago. Here’s a photo of the recipe page from my cookbook. Over the years, I’ve hauled it out for many a summer meal. The thing that makes this dish unique is two-fold. The chicken parts sit in a cooking sauce overnight and then are baked in the same sauce, low and slow. They are really cooked when they come out of their long haul in the oven. But without a few minutes on the grill, I’m not sure they would qualify as barbecued chicken. And even with the very unique barbecue sauce that is served with them.
So my Iacono chickens were worshipped and adored for their double whammy of flavor—the sauce they’ve cooked in and the one they’re served with. This recipe is really not a lot of work. The barbecue sauces come together in no time. The first one is a matter of putting everything into a saucepan and bringing it to a boil. The second one amounts to putting everything into a Cuisinart and then heating the resulting sauce. You can also space the cooking over two days. You make one sauce, marinate the chicken in it one day, then make the second sauce to serve on the side the next day.
The recipe for the first sauce was sourced from an article called “Ode to Skeets” published in the New York Times in July of 1990. Much to my astonishment, I found it in the Times archive. There it contained instructions for both the oven baked method which I use and the option to use the sauce to baste the chicken while cooking it directly on the grill. There was also the warning that grill cooking times varied widely according to the heat of the grill. It’s precisely for that reason that I go the baked-in-the-oven direction. I have strong memories of a dear friend (and I am not naming names) who used to grill chicken to what would be called ‘medium rare’ if one were being kind. Said chicken would then have to put back on the grill for another hour. This led most of his guests to be in no condition to eat their chicken by the time it was finally served.
As to the Santa Barbara Barbecue sauce, it is a recipe from Gourmet, August 1990. Unfortunately, its story is lost in time and not even available on epicurious.com. What makes it unique is that it uses a Granny Smith apple and a gherkin to create a flavor that is tangy and zesty without the sugar or smoke of many a southern barbecue sauce I’ve tried. You will have quite a lot of it and by all means, refrigerate it and serve it again as a condiment with your next steak on the grill, or your next pork chop.
1. Combine the ingredients for the barbecue sauce in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring.
2. Place the chickens in a large baking dish and pour the sauce over it. Cover and marinate the chicken for 4 hours or overnight.
While the chicken is baking make the Santa Barbara Barbecue Sauce: