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Old School Wish-Bone Chicken

thirdeye

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I was in full retro mode last weekend and cooked some of my grandpa's favorite chicken which he took great pleasure in teaching us how to cook when I was a little boy. Then we made some of the same side dishes, I've eaten my whole life. "Pa" was the BBQ mentor of the family and this simple method is still strong after 50 some odd years.
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He called it Wish-Bone Chicken..., mostly because he only used Wish-Bone brand Italian dressing, and partly because chickens have a wish-bone, and there was a wish-bone on the label (and still is). This story was repeated whenever someone new was over for dinner; my Grandmother knew it by heart. The process worked like this, chicken quarters were brined for a day, dried for a day in the fridge so the skin would cook up nice, and cooked on day three. The chicken was seasoned with salt and pepper and sometimes chili powder or garlic powder, and while cooking he basted with the Wish-Bone dressing. The kicker was.... Pa never turned his chicken. A little flair-up was okay at the end, but no turning. So I started with a brine whose most unique component was some dried chile petin peppers. EDIT Chile Tepin peppers.
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I stuck with salt and pepper only, all the flavor comes from the brine and the Wish-Bone.
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Grilling took about 100 minutes, (and 3 beers) and I too resisted turning. Basting started after the first 20 minutes, then throughout the rest of the cook.
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I used a thermometer to make sure the internal was 180° at the joint, my teacher used to use a toothpick and would pour a little beer on it if it got too hot. :emoji_laughing:
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The bite says it all..... oh yeah, that sauce is Head Country Original. For me, a tablespoon of sauce on the side is a lot.
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Here is a photo of the Sunday evening full spread. Along for the ride are some lemon roasted herb potatoes, butter grilled corn, beans and cornbread, and a relish tray. Needless to say there were leftovers. :emoji_wink:
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SmokinEdge

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Looks great thirdeye. We are where we came from. No going around that. I like it.
 

forktender

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Awesome meal!!!
My Gramp's marinaded everything in W.B. as well, and I do mean everything, chicken, pork, beef and seafood. I pretty much stick with turkey & chicken when I use the stuff it's a great marinade.
 

MJB05615

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Great meal. Everything looks delicious. You're right, that 1 bite says it all. Great job.
 

DRKsmoking

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Nice looking meal. Never heard of WishBone. Dad cook his BBQ with salt and Pepper. and HP sauce
I think i would have to tie my arms back so i could not flip the chicken
Thanks for a new thing i will try
David
 

Stingh2

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Absolutely love this post. That’s an Amazing photo of your Grandpa at the grill. Looking at how your meal came out I know you have made him proud that you carry on the tradition.
 

JLeonard

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Oh man! I could put away a plate or two of that. Mighty fine looking spread.
Jim
 

TNJAKE

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Heck yeah bud that looks delicious. Nice work. My great grandparents marinated EVERYTHING in wishbone. Even used it on green beans. Nice work
 

SmokinVOLfan

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That looks great! I use Italian dressing on chicken all the time when grilling. Will have to try out the wishbone!
 

thirdeye

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Nice looking meal. Never heard of WishBone. Dad cook his BBQ with salt and Pepper. and HP sauce
I think i would have to tie my arms back so i could not flip the chicken
Thanks for a new thing i will try
David
You know, the salad dressing.
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That looks great! I use Italian dressing on chicken all the time when grilling. Will have to try out the wishbone!
Actually it might not make that much of a difference because there are so many choices (and flavors) nowadays. Newman's Best is very good for marinating as is Kraft Zesty Italian. But... there is more to the Wish-Bone story than just dressing. It started with a chicken restaurant in KC called The Wish-Bone. From their website:

The Wish-Bone® story started with just a single Italian recipe some 60 years ago. In 1945, returning World War II veteran Phillip Sollomi opened a family-style chicken restaurant in Kansas City, Missouri. “The Wish-Bone®” was open for business. The restaurant was an immediate success, but it was in 1948 that the Wish-Bone found its true calling. That year, Phil debuted his mother’s then-little-known salad dressing from a recipe brought from her native Sicily. Customers fell in love right there. As demand grew, Phil began mixing the dressing in a 50-gallon drum, bottling it up as fast as they could pour it. But not before his mother would slap on its unmistakable label: “THE KANSAS CITY WISH-BONE® FAMOUS ITALIAN-STYLE DRESSING.” Word of Wish-Bone® Italian spread throughout the heartland. And in 1957, Phil sold the business to Lipton.
 

MJB05615

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That's very interesting Thirdeye. I never knew the history. Just thought it was a run of the mill dressing like Kraft, etc. Thanks for the 411.
 

thirdeye

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Heck yeah bud that looks delicious. Nice work. My great grandparents marinated EVERYTHING in wishbone. Even used it on green beans. Nice work
I sure do like it as base when marinating chicken wings and pork steaks.
 

chef jimmyj

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Nice looking chicken dinner. Ive never marinated in Wishbone. Need to try it. FRIENDLY'S Restaurants secret to their Hamburgers, was griddle cooking them with Italian Dressing. ..JJ
 

DRKsmoking

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You know, the salad dressing.
View attachment 486758


Actually it might not make that much of a difference because there are so many choices (and flavors) nowadays. Newman's Best is very good for marinating as is Kraft Zesty Italian. But... there is more to the Wish-Bone story than just dressing. It started with a chicken restaurant in KC called The Wish-Bone. From their website:

The Wish-Bone® story started with just a single Italian recipe some 60 years ago. In 1945, returning World War II veteran Phillip Sollomi opened a family-style chicken restaurant in Kansas City, Missouri. “The Wish-Bone®” was open for business. The restaurant was an immediate success, but it was in 1948 that the Wish-Bone found its true calling. That year, Phil debuted his mother’s then-little-known salad dressing from a recipe brought from her native Sicily. Customers fell in love right there. As demand grew, Phil began mixing the dressing in a 50-gallon drum, bottling it up as fast as they could pour it. But not before his mother would slap on its unmistakable label: “THE KANSAS CITY WISH-BONE® FAMOUS ITALIAN-STYLE DRESSING.” Word of Wish-Bone® Italian spread throughout the heartland. And in 1957, Phil sold the business to Lipton.
thanks thirdeye, we do not get that brand around here . I did not reilize it was a salad dressing.
Great story on how it became.
thanks for the heads up
David
 

thirdeye

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Nice looking chicken dinner. Ive never marinated in Wishbone. Need to try it. FRIENDLY'S Restaurants secret to their Hamburgers, was griddle cooking them with Italian Dressing. ..JJ
I have used it a lot for a quick marinade (shrimp, wings, zucchini & onion medly etc.), but this chicken is brined for 24 hours first, then rested so the skin would dry out (I poke holes in chicken skin with a sausage pricker). The Wish-Bone is used for basting and to bring on the final flavor. I change the cup and brush after the third baste, then continue basting until it's plated. The method is similar to Cornell (State Fair) chicken, which Pa also liked to cook.
 

Wurstmeister

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THE MEAL LOOKS GREAT!!!!!! Thanks for sharing the memories and the recipe. BTW - is that a Schlitz or Schmidt's beer your grandpa' has on the side of the grill? 🍻
 
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jcam222

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Man that chicken looks fantastic! I really love the family backstory and the history on the dressings origination. Great stuff! Thanks for sharing.
 

BandCollector

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There is something to be said about our mentors. . .Your granddad had the right idea!

John
 
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