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Fireman's Chicken - Variation of Cornell Chicken

By pops6927, Jun 13, 2015 | |
  1. When my dad had his store in our little town of Adams Center, NY., our Volunteer Fire Department would have their annual Fireman's Field Days in August. There were rides and games and beer of course; plus they'd have a big pit Chicken BBQ every year. Dad would get in the chickens and split them for the department and we'd separate the left halves in one 55 gal. drum and the right halves in another. They'd come in and make up their 'secret Fireman's Field Days brining formula' by the gallon full and dump it into the brining barrels and let soak for 3 days. I broke it down to it's smallest components one year and it goes something like this:

    1 cup vegetable oil
    ½ cup white or cider vinegar
    3 eggs
    1 tbsp poultry seasoning

    ½ tbsp Italian seasoning or oregano

    ½ tbsp garlic powder
    ½ tsp salt
    ¼ tsp black pepper

    That's the basic recipe. You can jazz it up with other things too; sometimes I add beer, some rub, bay leaf, etc., plus always toss in some parsley for color.

    You can marinade for an hour or overnight, take out and put on a hot grill. You'll get flaming, have some water nearby. Turn then baste, letting the egg congeal before turning again. You'll build up a crust on the chicken with the basting. Cook until 160° in the thickest part (or higher, whatever your preference).

    The firemen would build a pit with interlocking sides about 3' high and a bed of charcoal about 4' wide and 12' long. They'd use large 4'x4' wire mesh hinged double grates with long bars on each end so they could open the grate, lay down the chicken halves, close up and lay across the pit, then one fireman on each side could flip the entire thing to cook the other side. The juices and marinade would drip down into the coals, emanating the most wonderful aroma you could smell throughout the entire town; you knew it was field days time!

    Try it, you'll like it!

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  1. brentranome
    Funny I stumbled across this article. I am cooking the Mrs. a smoked fireman (cornell) chicken tomorrow night with a recipe derived from another small town upstate NY vol. fire dept's recipe (sworn to secrecy of course). I am in Watertown and my band just booked the Adams Center field days on the sept. 3rd for this year. I hope they do the chicken again, it's my wife's favorite part of the festivities (being from Worth).
  2. m00se
    Here is what the old boys taught me about this recipe. It's strong, so you cannot marinate in it! You have been warned!
    1 cup canola oil
    2 cups WHITE vinegar
    3 tbsp poultry seasoning
    3 tbsp finely ground black pepper
    2 eggs
    Combine the vinegar with the dry ingredients, and then add the oil and shake like a mad man. Then add the oil and eggs. Put the mixture in a bowl and dunk your chicken parts in it and place on grill. HAVE A SQUIRT BOTTLE OF WATER HANDY. Every time you turn the chicken, dunk it back into the mixture. Continue till done.
    You will be amazed!
  3. bauchjw
    Thank you for sharing this. Its definitely is on my to do list now! I can smell it from your description and the picture!
  4. b-one
    Looks good to me as well! Thanks for sharing!
  5. disco
    It's on my list to try, Pops. Thanks.