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.
chicken_bbq_2
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.
chicken_bbq_lacs
This summer, I am going to do a full-fledged investigation of the Chicken BBQ Phenomenon. I began my research on Saturday, April 25th:
chicken_bbq_trumansburg
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.
chicken_bbq_sign
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."
chicken_bbq_dinner
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.