I love playing the hostess. Probably not terribly hard to believe, but regardless, I love it. Inviting people to my home to eat a meal I created is probably one of the best ways I can think of to spend an evening. Well, last night, I got lucky and two of our friends agreed to come by and break some bread. Or BBQ chicken.
This was my first foray into the world of the whole chicken. Something about going all in and making the entire bird seemed intimidating. However, for the sake of BBQ Chicken with Cole Slaw a la The Pioneer Woman, I was willing to set fear aside in order to enter into a new place in my kitchen life. A place where whole birds are no longer off limits.
The recipe was pretty simple, though there was nearly a Julie and Julia moment in the beginning involving a gizzard packet I was not aware of. However, I quickly recovered and maneuvered the bird with relative ease. To me, there is something oddly gratifying about putting a few things in a pot, sealing it tight, and knowing that, in an hour and a half or so, all those things will have come together to make something fantastic. I felt very much like June Cleaver. (A version of June Cleaver who subbed her heels for hot pink canvas slip-ons and didn’t don a full skirt under her apron, but cut off denim shorts instead.)
I followed Ree’s recipe from start to finish, only substituting the whole milk for 2% and the mayonnaise for reduced fat. It all came together beautifully. The whole garlic cloves that are cooked in the sauce became a sweet garlic candy that hid underneath the shredded chicken for an extra pop of flavor between bites. The cole slaw added a creamy coolness, that was perfectly brightened by the fresh cilantro. Layering it all between yeast rolls toasted with a smidgen of garlic butter took BBQ chicken to a new level. Nothing dry or bland here, just perfectly seasoned, fabulously complimentary flavors that make the word ‘sandwich’ seem lacking.