Favorite Oven BBQ Chicken

Never throw away a good recipe. While searching through my mother’s old recipe files, I found a recipe for “Broiled Chicken Barbecue” which dated from a 1952 issue of “Better Homes & Gardens” magazine. Gee, this must be a good recipe for my mother to have saved it for over 60 years. I made the chicken recipe, liked it and now I often serve it when we have guests over for supper. It’s especially nice for summer picnics and barbecues.

Frugal Farm Family

My mother grew up in the 1930’s during the depression years in a frugal and thrifty Iowa farm family. Nothing was ever thrown away; this family was the original re-cycle family. For example, liners of cereal boxes were saved and later used as parchment paper when baking cookies. Empty egg carton boxes were used as packing material. I could right a book. It seemed trivial and annoying when I was growing up–but recycling is quite the trend now; this family was ahead of the times. Here are my Iowa farm grandparents; the photo dates from the 1950’s.

Better Homes & Gardens Recipe

The Better Homes & Gardens Magazine came monthly to our home when I was young; it was my mother’s favorite magazine. The recipes in the magazines were frequently clipped and saved. The recipe for “Broiled Chicken Barbecue” has a zesty basting sauce which brings out flavor of the chicken. When I prepare the recipe now, guests always rave about this chicken dish.

Frequently, I bake the chicken pieces rather than broil them as the recipe instructions call for; either method gives good results. This recipe can also be used for a backyard barbecue grill.

The basting sauce is the key to this successful recipe and the recipe is easy to make. The “secret ingredient”, I believe, is the horseradish sauce. It gives a pungent touch; also the Tabasco sauce gives some zip. Don’t omit these ingredients; they make the sauce unique.

Mix up the basting ingredients and let them simmer on the stove for several minutes. Then baste the chicken quarter pieces frequently as they broil or bake in the oven; or on the barbecue grill outside. A little time consuming, but simple enough. Usually I’ll flip the chicken one time while baking. This basting sauce is enough for 8 chicken quarter pieces or 2 split chickens.

Here’s the finished chicken at a recent picnic. This batch really didn’t brown very well; next time I’ll broil it in a few minutes under the broiler. But nevertheless, they are tasty.

Favorite Oven BBQ Chicken

  • Servings: 8 servings
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp horseradish (I used prepared horseradish sauce)
  • 2 Tbsp vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp catsup
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1-1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 tsp Tabasco sauce
  • two 1-1/2 to 2 lb chickens, split (I use 8 leg chicken quarters)

Method and Steps:

  1. Combine all ingredients except chicken; heat to boiling.
  2. Place chicken halves (or quarters), skin side down, on rack in broiler pan. Brush with sauce.
  3. Broil 5 to 7 inches from heat for 40 to 45 minutes. Turn halves (or quarters) and baste with sauce every 10 minutes during broiling.

NOTE: Chicken quarters can also be baked in 350 degree oven for 1 hour; I place chicken quarters, skin side up to bake; basting every 15 minutes. Turn once, for 15 minutes, skin side down; finish with skin side up. Run under broiler a few minutes if quarters do not brown.

(Recipe is “Broiled Chicken Barbecue” from Better Homes & Gardens, June, 1952)

For a lower fat version, I used the basting sauce for boneless and skinless chicken breasts. Place in a covered casserole dish, turn and baste several times during baking; broil for a few minutes at the end to brown if needed.

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