Monday, May 4, 2009

The Chicken BBQ Phenomenon

The signs in late April all pointed to the fact that spring is well underway: flip-flops, shorts, pansies, black fly bites, lawnmowers rumbling to life, and the start of the mythical chicken BBQ season.
In the Village of Trumansburg, you will find at least one chicken BBQ fundraiser in somebody's parking lot every Saturday from April through September. I do not know who eats chicken BBQ; I know I don't. It feels weird to me to pull into a parking lot to eat, kind of like an impromptu drive-thru that sprouts up and disappears within hours. I have always assumed that if the chicken BBQ is a fundraiser for the school band, all the band students' parents are the only ones who show up to eat.
This summer, I am going to do a full-fledged investigation of the Chicken BBQ Phenomenon. I began my research on Saturday, April 25th:
There was one BBQ in Trumansburg that weekend, a fundraiser for the Rotary Club. I don't even know what the Rotary Club is. I think they do community stuff. Like sell chicken BBQ. Where did they buy their chickens? The Rotary man looked at me as if I asked a strange question. "At the Shur-Save," he said. Like, duh, it's Trumansburg. Where else would we buy them? "We use the Cornell recipe," the man continued, like I knew what that meant. "They are marinated for three days," he continued. "It's the best way EVER to barbecue a chicken." Or 200 of them.
Less common is an Ithaca chicken BBQ sighting, but I found one that same day at the Agway. It was a fundraiser for Ithaca's alternative high school, and they were making a killing. Must have been the organic, free-range chickens from..."Wegmans," a mom told me. "The local chicken farmer we were hoping to use did not work out."
Ok, I tried one. The free-range thing always makes me feel like I am doing something nice for the happy chickens who gave their little organic lives so I can eat. It tasted like...chicken. Chicken BBQ, to be exact.

I already have one to look forward to next week:

Comment on this blog post! Do you have The Chicken BBQ Phenomenon on your town? I want to hear from you.

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1 comment:

AES said...

When the first Chicken Barbecue signs appear in Ithaca, it's how you know summer's coming in.

It's not the best way to barbecue a chicken, but it's a good way to barbecue a ton of chicken.

Robert Baker, the recipe's inventor, died a couple of year's ago-- if I remember right, he invented chicken nuggets or something. He was a cornell ag prof who wanted to get as much use out of a chicken as a french cook gets out of a pig.

I treat myself to one from time to time-- the skin's crunchy and tasty-- the meat tends to be dry. I guess if you're flipping five hundred chickens in a rack, that's what you'll get.