Blueberry BBQ Chicken

Recipe courtesy of Vivian Howard. Her documentary film series, “A Chef’s Life,” has won a Peabody Award, a Daytime Emmy and was nominated for four James Beard Awards. You can read more about Vivivan on P32 of our Lifestyle Magazine.

“My Blue Q Sauce is inspired by typical Eastern North Carolina vinegar-based barbecue sauce. But we use a blueberry vinegar, so it’s a little more balanced than you would typically find at a barbecue stand here.” –Vivian Howard

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  • 1 to 3 lb (450 g to 1.4 kg) chicken – ask your butcher to butterfly or spatchcock your chicken by cutting the backbone and sternum out and flattening
  • 2 tsp (10 ml) salt
  • 1½ tsp (8 ml) black pepper


30 minutes before you plan to cook it, bring the chicken to room temperature and season it thoroughly with 2 tsp (10 ml) salt and 1½ tsp (8 ml) black pepper.

Set the EGG for direct cooking without the convEGGtor at 350°F/177°C.

Place the chicken skin-side up on the cooking grid and roast for 20 minutes, then begin basting with the blueberry sauce every 5 minutes for an additional 20 minutes of cooking. After 40 minutes total, turn the chicken over to caramelize the skin and baste the other side 10 more minutes. Using a thermometer, check the temperature of the thigh. Once it’s at 165°F/74°C, remove the chicken from the EGG and douse the chicken in blueberry sauce; let rest for 10 minutes, then cut the chicken into 6 or 8 pieces and toss once more in sauce. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Blue Q Sauce Ingredients

  • 3 cups (710 ml) blueberries
  • 2 cups (480 ml) apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups (480 ml) granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) salt
  • One 3-inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ tsp (2 ml) chili flakes

Blue Q Sauce Instructions

To make the Blue Q Sauce (ingredients below), begin by combining the blueberries and a little of the vinegar in a food processor. Pulse the berries just to break them up. You’re not trying to achieve smooth berries at this point; you just want to get some blue juice flowing. In a Dutch oven or 4 quart (3.75 L) saucepan, combine all of the sauce ingredients. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook for one hour, covered. Give it a stir from time to time to avoid scorching the bottom.

Carefully transfer the sauce to a blender. Pull the little knob off the top of the lid and cover it with a dish towel to prevent a mess! Blend the sauce to get it as smooth as you can, then strain it through a fine mesh strainer and transfer it back to your pan. Cook to reduce it by one-third. The Blue Q should coat the back of a spoon and be the viscosity of maple syrup. Refrigerate overnight to let things mellow out. This sauce will keep for months covered in the refrigerator.

11 thoughts on “Blueberry BBQ Chicken”

  1. I followed this recipe almost to the letter. I think it needs modification. The blueberry sauce is very mild. I thought it would be otherwise given the ingredients. But it’s mild. It does not Infuse enough flavor on the chicken by itself for my taste. The chicken either needs to be marinated in the sauce overnight or the chicken needs to be brined. Also, FYI making the sauce is a very messy time consuming endeavor. To get it to the consistency of maple syrup it really needs to cook down for awhile. I would say the cooking process from start to finish took at least three hours. With clean up about four.

    I think this recipe has promise. But it needs a tweak. Not sure what at this time.

  2. Whoa! My wife and I loved it. I felt like I had to add more pop to the sauce (which is practically blueberry preserves-paste)(maybe I did it wrong… who knows…). But overall, the way the sugars in the sauce carmelized on the skin was BOMB. I used a few Jack Daniels whiskey barrel chips for some smokey goodness during the beginning and end… I think if i had added bourbon to the sauce during the last 10 or so minutes of the reduction, it would have been even better.
    Overall, this was some amazing chicken.

  3. Tried this recipe for memorial day 2017. It was amazing. The sauce took a while to make but it was well worth it. Cooked a whole chicken that was previously frozen and it still came out juicy and tender. My only advice is to start the sauce early so you can leave it in the fridge overnight. I started at 10:30 p.m and I was up till 1

  4. Really nice twist on chicken, but the recipe was a tad sweet for us, so we cut it with a poblano pepper. Or, you could use less than the two cups of sugar called for inthe recipe.

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