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What is Fireman Chicken? Chances are if you don’t live in upstate or western New York or have friends from that area, you may have never heard of it, but that is about to change.
Fireman Chicken, also known as Cornell Chicken BBQ, is a classic BBQ chicken marinade that originated in upstate New York, but is making its way through the states!
Foodie friends, I hereby introduce you to the king of all BBQ chicken recipes: Fireman Chicken, also known as Cornell Chicken BBQ.
Most say Fireman Chicken originated in Ithaca, New York, and the home of Cornell University, where every year the fire department has a fundraiser and makes pounds of their famous BBQ chicken.
Others claim it actually came from a fire company on the Eastern shore of Maryland. Who knows, really. What I know is that because hubby and a few of his friends are from these parts, Fireman Chicken has become a staple at each and every one of our BBQs. People love it, they crave it, they get excited when they find out we are making it!
They grab a Dixie Ultra® plate and dig in!
The marinade is a simple vinegar-based sauce that differs from person to person. Some add paprika, others garlic and some use egg instead of mayonnaise. It sounds odd, but results in a super moist chicken and a marinade that really sticks. My Fireman Chicken recipe is a hybrid of them all.
You can use any chicken pieces you want; thighs, drums, breasts. I suggest marinating for a minimum of 24 hours, but I have friends that swear it needs to be at least three days. I generally don’t have the foresight to plan that far in advance!
The salt and refrigeration will keep your chicken and marinade from going bad. Just make sure to grill all pieces to an internal temperture of 165 degrees.
Although the recipe might change, one thing doesn’t: Fireman Chicken is a hearty, heavy meal and therefore requires the most durable paper plate on the market: Dixie Ultra®.
I mean, no one wants to be using real plates and spending all of their time cleaning at a BBQ, do they? I want to enjoy my party too.
Dixie is our go-to plate for weeknight meals to reduce time spent cleaning up in the kitchen, so it is only natural that we also prefer it for our parties. Built with Soak Proof Shield™ and FlexProof™ technology, these bad boys can withstand the messiest, heaviest and gnarliest meals.
If you like our Fireman Chicken, here are even more BBQ classic to serve on your Dixie Ultra plates!
- Best BBQ Ribs
- Grilled Lemon Chicken
- Bacon Wrapped BBQ Chicken Stuffed Peppers
- Grilled Zucchini Boats
- Grilled Watermelon
- Cowboy Burgers
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine mayonnaise, vegetable oil, cider vinegar, fine sea salt, poultry seasoning, ground black pepper, garlic powder and paprika. Whisk until smooth.
- Pierce chicken with a fork several times to allow marinade to really sink in.
- Place chicken quarters into a large airtight plastic bag or other tight fitting container. Cover with marinade. Refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours, maximum of 24 hours.
- Heat grill to medium-high heat. You can use either gas or charcoal, however make sure you have a long burning charcoal if you go that direction. Place chicken on the grill on indirect heat.
- Reserve marinade and continue to using, basting the chicken throughout the cooking process. Cook over indirect heat for 35 minutes, turning and basting.
- At 35 minutes, transfer to direct heat to get a crispy and good char marks. At this time, stop basting. If you are using different cuts of chicken, please adjust accordingly.
- Remove from the grill and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving. Discard any unused marinade.
If you've tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was!