The author and cook, Heather

Eastern North Carolina-Style Chicken and Sauce

Whole Hog BBQ

At many pig pickins here in Eastern North Carolina, you'll find more than pork; very often, you'll also get this kind of chicken. It's cooked on the smoker, just like the pig, but the sauce used is very different. There's vinegar, like the sauce for the pork, but also a tomato base (generally, as with this recipe, ketchup.) It is not like any sort of barbecue sauce I've ever bought in a bottle, and I love it!

This chicken takes a long soak in a salt and sugar brine, which helps it stay very juicy and tender. You get some extra flavor from the sauce, which isn't applied until after it's off the grill, or, if you choose to use it, the Rub Potion Number Swine ( dusted on just before it's cooked.

A modified version of the recipe for the chicken itself can be found here:

I can’t find the sauce recipe online, but there are some similar ones. Like this: and this:

Serving Sizesauce only, per 1/2 cup
Carbohydrates34g (30g sugar)


[00:00]: [Music]
[00:04]: hello and welcome to cooking the books
[00:06]: with Heather
[00:08]: um today we're going to be working again
[00:10]: from Sam Jones's book uh Whole Hog bbq
[00:14]: but we are going to be making eastern
[00:17]: North Carolina style chicken and sauce
[00:21]: so the first thing we're going to do is
[00:23]: make a brine so we're going to eat this
[00:24]: tomorrow because this has to brine for
[00:26]: at least eight hours or overnight so
[00:29]: we're gonna go overnight
[00:31]: um but we need to make the brine first
[00:33]: because it has to you know
[00:35]: be cool when we put the chicken in it
[00:37]: anyway so I have
[00:39]: some water coming up to a boil in a it's
[00:43]: supposed to be a 10 quart pot mine is
[00:46]: eight I do not have a 10 quart pot I
[00:49]: have the very large 21 and a half quart
[00:52]: canning pot
[00:54]: um and I have my eight quart pot so
[00:58]: hopefully that will work
[01:02]: we'll see I might have to take some of
[01:03]: the brine out
[01:04]: once I put the chicken in but anyway
[01:07]: I've measured out the kosher salt in
[01:09]: this bowl because we're going to add
[01:11]: that after it boils and now I'm going to
[01:14]: add quite a bit of sugar because a brine
[01:17]: is usually
[01:18]: Sugar Plus Salt
[01:25]: so there we go we've got all of the
[01:27]: sugar and all of the salt in there this
[01:30]: there's no other flavorings in this
[01:31]: brine just sugar and salt so I'm going
[01:33]: to put this away
[01:36]: so this
[01:37]: water has come up to a boil and I'm just
[01:40]: going to add our sugar and our salt and
[01:43]: we're going to stir it until
[01:45]: it is all dissolved it shouldn't take
[01:48]: long because the water was boiling
[01:50]: basically
[01:55]: there we go looks pretty dissolved to me
[01:58]: now
[01:60]: um what I need to do is add ice to chill
[02:02]: this so I'm going to add
[02:05]: as much ice as I I mean it's
[02:08]: he says an equal portion of ice to water
[02:11]: but ice there's also
[02:13]: um
[02:13]: air because you know it's not packed in
[02:16]: like water but whatever I'm gonna add
[02:18]: ice
[02:20]: hopefully my freezer has enough
[02:23]: if it doesn't I do have a bag but
[02:27]: really trying to measure
[02:40]: we go so I've added all of the ice I
[02:43]: need to here and it is pretty lukewarm
[02:46]: now it's not super cold but it's not at
[02:48]: all hot and that's what we want so if
[02:51]: you don't have a ton of ice and you want
[02:53]: to do this without that you make it with
[02:55]: just double the amount of water and let
[02:58]: it cool entirely before you put the
[03:01]: chicken in
[03:02]: we're gonna set this aside and deal with
[03:05]: our chicken
[03:07]: so this recipe makes two whole chickens
[03:11]: but relatively small whole chickens so
[03:16]: um and I'm going to do something that
[03:18]: I've never done before and that is not
[03:21]: spatchcocking it because I've done that
[03:23]: before and
[03:25]: I'm sure I can link that above
[03:28]: he says that
[03:30]: they
[03:32]: split it open down the breast bone
[03:37]: I don't I'm not entirely sure how to do
[03:40]: that because that's a bone and I don't
[03:41]: know he doesn't say you cut it out you
[03:44]: just split it open down the breastbone
[03:46]: and he doesn't give much of an
[03:48]: instruction so I'm gonna wash my hands
[03:51]: so I can get a knife without
[03:52]: contaminating all of my knives
[03:55]: and then we're going to give it a shot I
[03:56]: have these scissors if I need it but
[03:58]: we're gonna I think I'm gonna need a
[03:60]: knife so
[04:02]: so my goal here I believe is to just cut
[04:05]: through the breastbone
[04:07]: this way
[04:12]: and as you can see these are relatively
[04:14]: small chickens
[04:17]: um
[04:17]: they're supposed to be three and a half
[04:20]: uh
[04:23]: to
[04:24]: about three and a half pounds so
[04:27]: um which in my grocery store they call
[04:31]: those
[04:33]: Young
[04:34]: hens or young something or another
[04:38]: so
[04:48]: let me get the
[04:51]: scissors through there all right so
[04:53]: that's not wasn't too bad
[04:57]: probably because it is a relatively
[04:59]: small bird and now
[05:02]: um
[05:04]: submerge it in the brine
[05:07]: need this
[05:10]: and hopefully I will have enough room
[05:12]: for both of these but if I don't I'll
[05:15]: just take some of the brine out
[05:17]: um
[05:18]: because I don't want it to
[05:19]: overflow oh yeah I'll have to take some
[05:22]: of the brine out
[05:23]: I would rather take some of the brine
[05:25]: out than make a smaller amount and worry
[05:27]: about the ratios because that kind of
[05:29]: matters when you're talking about
[05:31]: brine there's salt and sugar to water
[05:42]: that's how he does it because he doesn't
[05:43]: explain it all that much but that's how
[05:45]: I did it now
[05:47]: I am going to scoop some of that out
[05:51]: so that I can put this in there
[06:07]: oopsie that's crazy
[06:10]: so that bit I think I had to take about
[06:13]: a quart out
[06:16]: which makes sense
[06:18]: and now I have to find a place for this
[06:21]: in my refrigerator
[06:23]: for overnight
[06:25]: so we're going to refrigerate it covered
[06:27]: at least eight hours overnight we'll
[06:30]: probably start cooking this
[06:33]: in the afternoon tomorrow sometime
[06:36]: um we usually do like a brunch and then
[06:38]: a try to do an earlier dinner
[06:43]: doesn't always work out but that's going
[06:45]: to be the plan so it is almost 7 30 so
[06:50]: it's definitely going to be more than
[06:52]: eight hours it's probably going to be
[06:56]: 12 16 at least 16 if not more anyway
[06:60]: we'll see you tomorrow
[07:03]: to finish these up
[07:04]: it is
[07:06]: a little after three on the day we want
[07:08]: to eat these
[07:09]: and so this has been in the refrigerator
[07:15]: almost 24 hours but not quite 22 ish
[07:20]: and they're fully brined I'm sure
[07:23]: all of this is salmonella waiting to
[07:26]: happen so I'm gonna be very careful with
[07:28]: it and we're gonna have to do a lot of
[07:29]: washing up but I have my a baking sheet
[07:32]: here just to put them on and I'm going
[07:35]: to try to transfer them
[07:38]: without dripping too much over here
[07:40]: because we need to
[07:42]: um sort of Pat them dry with paper
[07:44]: towels
[07:50]: we have two chickens here and I'm going
[07:52]: to just Pat them dry I'm going to need
[07:54]: some more paper towels
[07:59]: thanks to my assistant
[08:02]: so I'm going to Pat these as dry as I
[08:04]: can
[08:05]: and
[08:07]: get the paper towels out from underneath
[08:09]: them
[08:10]: this one we're going to leave as is this
[08:13]: is what he says
[08:15]: uh
[08:17]: uh like the main recipe is nothing else
[08:20]: besides the brine
[08:22]: however he also says in a note that if
[08:25]: you would like to replicate the chicken
[08:27]: at Sam Jones barbecue his other his
[08:30]: restaurant he's got a couple of them
[08:32]: here in North Carolina
[08:34]: um then you put some of his rub Potion
[08:38]: Number swine on both sides of the
[08:41]: chicken so we're gonna leave one like
[08:44]: you know normal like the basic recipe
[08:46]: and the other one we're gonna add the
[08:49]: the rub to we've made that I'll link it
[08:52]: up here on the channel very simple it
[08:55]: just makes a lot so uh so I'm just going
[08:59]: to
[09:00]: I've already measured out the amount
[09:02]: that he says and I'm gonna just
[09:06]: put it all over
[09:08]: and try not to get it on the other one
[09:10]: that we don't want to be seasoned with
[09:12]: this
[09:13]: just interesting interested in what the
[09:16]: difference will be
[09:18]: this rub is sort of sweet and a little
[09:22]: bit spicy
[09:30]: there we go so now we have one mostly
[09:33]: not uh rubbed and one rubbed and we're
[09:37]: ready to put these on the smoker so he
[09:40]: says to heat a pit or smoker to 250
[09:43]: degrees so if you have just a grill you
[09:46]: can sort of do an offset heat try not to
[09:48]: get it too hot because these are going
[09:49]: to cook
[09:51]: for quite a while
[09:53]: um at a very at a low heat so that is
[09:55]: the goal for this so we will see you at
[09:58]: our smoker in just a minute all right
[10:01]: so we're at the smoker it's set to 250
[10:05]: but is it about 262. we are in
[10:08]: direct sunlight right now coming from
[10:11]: that direction so it's very warm and
[10:13]: very sunny but we're ready to put our
[10:16]: chicken on so
[10:18]: he says we're going to start this foam
[10:22]: side down so
[10:29]: hopefully I can get this
[10:32]: on there
[10:34]: without dropping anything
[10:40]: there we go
[10:43]: upside down
[10:53]: this is
[10:57]: fun
[11:02]: there we go
[11:05]: bone side down now he says
[11:09]: to let this cook for 60 to 70 minutes
[11:14]: before we flip it and cook it for
[11:16]: probably about another 60 minutes until
[11:19]: it is a 165 degrees internally
[11:24]: um
[11:25]: so we're gonna let this go for about an
[11:27]: hour and next time you see me I'm
[11:29]: probably going to be in my swimsuit
[11:30]: because it is super hot super sunny it's
[11:34]: a great day to go in the pool
[11:38]: okay my alarm just went off so it's been
[11:40]: at least 60 Minutes excuse the splashing
[11:43]: dogs behind the camera in the pool
[11:48]: so we are ready to just turn over our
[11:51]: chicken
[11:53]: so it's looking
[11:56]: a little done on this side not super
[11:59]: done I'm going to try to
[12:01]: flip it over this way so that the
[12:03]: breasts are facing a different direction
[12:05]: just in case the heat is a little bit
[12:08]: not uniform so you know they all get the
[12:11]: same sort
[12:14]: to
[12:16]: there we go
[12:25]: here we go
[12:27]: so
[12:30]: that's looking good they're definitely
[12:32]: on the way to cooked I'm not going to
[12:34]: take their temperature right now
[12:36]: um oh we are going to put the temp we
[12:38]: have a temperature spike thing and I
[12:40]: think I'm gonna put that in there
[12:42]: so we know
[12:45]: um
[12:48]: where it's at so we take it off when
[12:51]: it's not too donut
[12:53]: so this connects to that phone and we'll
[12:58]: keep it track of the temperature so what
[13:01]: I'm gonna do is I think
[13:04]: this one was a little bit less a little
[13:07]: bit bigger so I'm going to try to stick
[13:09]: it in the
[13:11]: so it has to go up to here I have been
[13:13]: formed so we're going to try to
[13:16]: stick it into the middle
[13:18]: of the breast
[13:20]: there we go so we'll see how long it
[13:23]: takes until that rest is at 165 and
[13:26]: we'll let you know how long it takes
[13:28]: um
[13:29]: and we'll come back when it's all done
[13:30]: and show you what it looks like or
[13:32]: chicken we just flipped
[13:34]: so it'll be done at some point
[13:36]: relatively soon within the next hour
[13:39]: we're gonna go ahead and make the sauce
[13:41]: part of this eastern North Carolina
[13:43]: chicken and sauce
[13:45]: so we have a Saucier here I think this
[13:48]: is about six quarts three quarts that's
[13:51]: plenty
[13:52]: um I think
[13:56]: this has a four to five quart but I
[13:58]: think this will be fine
[13:60]: so
[14:02]: this is kind of like a very vinegary
[14:04]: barbecue sauce but not quite eastern
[14:06]: North Carolina style or Eastern North
[14:09]: Carolina like
[14:10]: barbecue sauce which is very vinegary
[14:12]: anyway we've made that too it'll be up
[14:15]: there so I've got ketchup so I'm gonna
[14:17]: start with the ketchup
[14:26]: and then
[14:29]: um
[14:30]: sugar this is just plain white sugar
[14:36]: and
[14:37]: pineapple juice
[14:39]: this is actually from some canned
[14:41]: pineapple that um
[14:44]: was canned in pineapple juice so that's
[14:46]: fine so canned pineapple juice is what
[14:48]: he says
[14:49]: um which you can buy little cans of it
[14:51]: as well
[14:52]: uh we've got mustard plain yellow
[14:56]: mustard
[15:04]: let me use this again for something
[15:08]: um and we have chili powder which I
[15:10]: still have to measure
[15:11]: so some chili powder
[15:17]: enough
[15:20]: and we're supposed to whisk this
[15:24]: together
[15:25]: before we add anything else
[15:30]: looks good to me
[15:33]: and now we add all of the rest of the
[15:36]: ingredients so let me just verify rest
[15:39]: of our ingredients we have some apple
[15:41]: cider vinegar
[15:46]: now this
[15:49]: this is supposed to be Pepsi we are oh
[15:52]: it's a little oh well it was the right
[15:55]: one for it all
[15:57]: bubbled out it was the right amount
[15:58]: it'll be fine
[15:60]: um we are a Coke house we had Coke I was
[16:02]: not going to buy Pepsi just for this so
[16:04]: it's Coke it'll be fine in this recipe
[16:08]: um
[16:09]: I need to use this to measure
[16:12]: white a lot of Texas Pete I did buy the
[16:16]: Texas Pete I did not buy a huge thing of
[16:19]: it
[16:20]: but hopefully
[16:26]: that was just taking too long
[16:28]: there we go
[16:30]: yeah it's funny
[16:33]: [Music]
[16:36]: that's great
[16:39]: I got Texas Pete all over everything
[16:43]: since I dropped a little bit I'm just
[16:45]: gonna
[16:47]: there we go that's funny
[16:49]: um and then
[16:51]: done that we have some
[16:54]: lime juice
[17:00]: some lemon juice
[17:04]: okay
[17:06]: some soy sauce
[17:09]: which is you know an unusual ingredient
[17:11]: I think
[17:14]: but you know a little salt a little Nami
[17:19]: and
[17:21]: some Worcestershire sauce which also a
[17:24]: little mommy
[17:25]: a little salt
[17:29]: there we go
[17:34]: and I am not going to show you
[17:37]: cooking this because literally all we
[17:41]: have to do is
[17:43]: um bring this to a boil
[17:46]: uh
[17:48]: on high heat so he said you can do all
[17:51]: this on
[17:53]: starting on medium heat and then once
[17:55]: you got everything in there
[17:56]: put it on high heat it doesn't matter
[17:58]: we're bringing this to a boil and then
[18:00]: uh
[18:03]: letting it cool slightly before we put
[18:05]: it on of our on our chicken but we don't
[18:07]: cook the chicken with this it's just
[18:10]: gonna be like a serving sauce so
[18:14]: I'm gonna bring it to a boil and it'll
[18:15]: be all done so uh we'll show you what it
[18:18]: looks like
[18:19]: when we're all done with it when our
[18:21]: chicken's all done and let you know what
[18:22]: we think
[18:24]: so our tap Spike I took a picture of
[18:26]: that as it was going just uh so you can
[18:28]: see what it looks like on the app
[18:30]: um says it's done and I did take its
[18:35]: temperature
[18:36]: uh with another thermometer that we are
[18:39]: sure works fine and it was right on
[18:41]: point so
[18:43]: here we are going to take it off
[18:48]: and that's what the
[18:50]: rubbed one looks like
[18:55]: and that is the just smoked not rubbed
[18:59]: one so there we go
[19:01]: we are supposed to quarter these
[19:03]: and serve them with sauce
[19:07]: um
[19:09]: I'll probably service each a little bit
[19:13]: um of each but we're gonna let it rest
[19:16]: first because these are really hot we're
[19:18]: gonna let them rest for I don't know 15
[19:20]: minutes or so before we eat but uh
[19:23]: that's it we'll let you know what we
[19:25]: think in just a minute
[19:27]: foreign
[19:32]: on this episode of cooking the books
[19:33]: with Heather you watch me make eastern
[19:35]: North Carolina style chicken and sauce
[19:37]: from Sam Jones's Whole Hog Barbecue book
[19:41]: so I really love this chicken I I hated
[19:45]: the reverse spatchcock it honestly it
[19:48]: wasn't that hard
[19:50]: um
[19:51]: it was probably slightly easier than a
[19:53]: regular spatchcock and you don't end up
[19:56]: with a piece
[19:57]: of a chicken kind of left over but I use
[20:02]: those for stock later because when you
[20:05]: regularly spatchcock you cut out the
[20:08]: backbone and this one you just sort of
[20:09]: cut through the breastbone and you're
[20:11]: done
[20:13]: so that was I mean it was fine it was
[20:15]: good with the size chickens that you use
[20:17]: here it was not that difficult
[20:19]: I bet it would get more difficult with
[20:22]: larger birds and especially like with
[20:23]: the turkey because regular spatchcock
[20:25]: with the turkeys
[20:27]: pretty difficult requires a lot of
[20:29]: strength to get through some of those
[20:30]: bones
[20:31]: um
[20:32]: the
[20:34]: cook time was almost entirely accurate
[20:38]: for us the
[20:39]: chicken was fully done when
[20:43]: we you know at the time that it was kind
[20:46]: of supposed to be I think it might have
[20:48]: taken ours a little bit longer
[20:51]: um but
[20:53]: it was relatively
[20:56]: uh correct
[20:58]: we did one with the rub which you know
[21:02]: we made
[21:03]: originally for this we've used it again
[21:05]: since which you'll see soon
[21:09]: um
[21:10]: like he does at
[21:13]: Sam Jones barbecue which there's one in
[21:15]: Raleigh and there's one in Winterville I
[21:17]: believe North Carolina if there's
[21:18]: another one I don't know
[21:21]: um
[21:22]: but we did use the sauce on both he says
[21:24]: at Sam Jones barbecue they don't use the
[21:28]: sauce I think the sauce was good if you
[21:31]: because the rub was a little bit spicy
[21:33]: and so the sauce kind of cut that
[21:34]: spiciness a little bit and it
[21:37]: it is really the eastern North Carolina
[21:40]: chicken sauce that I have seen used and
[21:44]: and tasted many times it was a you know
[21:47]: it's perfect for that and I have a ton
[21:49]: left over and being that there's quite a
[21:53]: bit of
[21:54]: vinegar and sugar it will last a while
[21:58]: in the fridge so we'll get that we'll be
[22:00]: able to to make this or something like
[22:02]: it all summer
[22:04]: um the brine was great however
[22:07]: it's just kind of a pain to deal with a
[22:11]: liquid brine brine like
[22:14]: we generally now dry brine so we'll salt
[22:17]: something and leave it in the
[22:18]: refrigerator overnight but this had salt
[22:20]: and sugar I'm not sure how that works I
[22:22]: don't know if I've ever tried it with
[22:25]: sugar but it was really juicy and
[22:29]: um I would probably make half the recipe
[22:31]: of the brine for my pot because I think
[22:34]: it would probably be absolutely fine and
[22:37]: all you really need to worry about is
[22:38]: getting the ratio of sugar and salt to
[22:41]: water correct
[22:44]: for it to be you know
[22:46]: a good uh a good level for your chicken
[22:51]: so I will definitely be making this or a
[22:54]: very similar recipe especially using
[22:57]: the sauce again
[23:00]: with the sauce there wasn't a huge
[23:02]: difference with or without the bra with
[23:05]: the rub
[23:07]: um so I may or may not use it we'll see
[23:09]: but yeah I love this sort of smoked
[23:13]: low cooked chicken
[23:15]: um and with the sauce the sauce is good
[23:18]: because with a Brine and with a
[23:21]: a low cook like a cooking at 250 degrees
[23:25]: the skin doesn't get super crispy and
[23:28]: delicious
[23:29]: like I would prefer usually on a
[23:32]: barbecue chicken but the sauce
[23:34]: which would then
[23:35]: sort of also soften up the skin
[23:38]: makes it better in my opinion so it's
[23:40]: not as off-putting to eat the skin like
[23:44]: that anyway
[23:46]: we loved it
[23:48]: it fed us for several meals honestly and
[23:51]: I would certainly make it again and if
[23:53]: you decide to make it give me let me
[23:56]: know in the comments down below
[23:59]: subscribe button if you've enjoyed
[24:00]: watching me make this uh
[24:03]: share it with your friends give me a
[24:05]: thumbs up and come back and watch me
[24:08]: make something else next week
[24:11]: foreign