Grilled Chicken with Sofrito BBQ Sauce

June 14, 2011

Mama and Daddy often come up for Sunday lunch, and I always feel so grateful that a) they live close enough to do so and b) they like us enough to blow their Sunday afternoons at Chez Crazy.  Because it’s always a circus around here.  I swear, after a few hours at our house, Daddy no longer laments the gradual loss of his hearing.  He’s the lucky one in that deal, I’m telling you.

I usually don’t get around to asking them to Sunday lunch until Friday or Saturday–it’s not so much laziness, or disorganization–although I am guilty of both sins. It’s more like vertigo.  Shepherding the Minxes is dizzying work; I rarely know what day it is or heck, even what month it is.  I honestly don’t know what the Hell even happened to May; that sucker shot past me altogether.

When I do finally collect my marbles enough to invite them, Mama and I inevitably have the same conversation.

Mama: “What can I bring?”

Me: “Oh, how about a nice salad? Really, I’m just going to throw some sausages on the grill. I’m keeping it really simple.”

Mama: “Good, you should keep it simple. I don’t want you to go to any trouble.”

Me: “Mom, relax. Believe me, I’m not going to fuss.”

And then I’ll hang up the phone and suddenly decide that I really, really want to fuss.

Something about the prospect of Sunday lunch with my family gets this old girl’s butt moving. I get inspired. I haul out my cookbooks and pillage the Leaning Tower of Food Rags in search of something special, or weird, or different. Sunday lunch is a happy gift, and the food should be, too.

Poor Mama is always a little dismayed when she shows up, expecting sausages, and the kitchen is in full disarray–evidence of my defection from plan.  I just can’t help it. It’s a sickness or something.  But I’m often so uninspired that when a jolt of energy comes along, it’s a shame to let it pass unheeded.  Strike when inspiration is hot, I say, and it’s not often hot over here.

A few weekends ago, weary from our hellacious plane trip home from Cancun, I promised Mama to keep things simple, and I truly meant to follow through.  But as soon as I hung up the phone, darned if that little jolt didn’t sizzle through my veins yet again, and out came the cookbooks.  La Tourista is no match for Sunday Lunch.

It was going to be a glorious weather day on Sunday, so I immediately turned to my summer bible, Weber’s Way to Grill. Ummm, y’all have ordered that cookbook, right?  I mean, guys, can I make it any plainer how much I love this thing?

I settled on this recipe, which calls for making homemade barbecue sauce–something I’ve never done.  I tinkered with the recipe a little, but not overly so; I blame Tourista fatigue.  The original recipe calls for pork, but I had chicken on hand, so that’s what I used. The result?  A wonderfully balanced, light-handed barbecue sauce.  This sauce is neither too smoky nor too sweet, which are my usual gripes regarding bottled BBQ sauce.  This sauce was a perfect canvas for the meat; it accentuated, rather than overwhelmed.  Even the minxes tried this sauce, which is saying something.

Next time you’re having someone you really like over for dinner, I’d suggest making this.  It’s casual enough for summer, but definitely shouts, “special.”

Chicken with Sofrito Barbecue Sauce

serves 6

adapted slightly from weber’s Way to Grill


1 large yellow onion, minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 bay leaf

1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

1/2 cup pineapple or apple juice

1 (14-ounce) can fire-roasted tomatoes

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon chipotle puree*

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

6 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded slightly

For the sauce: In a medium skillet over medium heat, cook the onion and the bay leaf in the olive oil until softened. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the onions are carmelized, about 30 minutes, stirring frequently, adding the garlic to the skillet after 15 minutes. Add the vinegar to the caramelized onion mixture; cook until it has almost evaporated. Add the pineapple juice and simmer until the liquid has reduced by half, about 8 minutes. Add the rest of the sauce ingredients and simmer for 5 more minutes. Remove the bay leaf.

Puree mixture in a food processor or blender.

For the chicken: Combine all of the rub ingredients in a small bowl. Lightly oil the chicken and season with the rub. Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes before grilling.

Grill chicken on direct medium heat, with the lid closed, for 8-10 minutes, turning once. Remove from heat and let rest at room temperature for at least 5 minutes before slicing/serving.

Serve with barbeque sauce.

*Mmmkay, one more time and then I’ll stop bossing you. Chipotle puree: Grab a can of chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, whizz it up in the food processor, dump it into an airtight container and Viola! Chipotle puree.

{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Erica@PLRH June 14, 2011 at 12:17 pm

I’m hanging my head in shame. My parents don’t get anything nearly as good when they come over for lunch OR dinner.


Wendi @ Bon Appetit Hon June 14, 2011 at 1:06 pm

I think that as long as you enjoy making a fuss, you should be able to. And do you suspect that your Momma possibly really likes you to make a fuss? Maybe somewhere deep, deep down?


Jennifer June 14, 2011 at 4:10 pm

I love that you have your parents over for Sunday lunch. That’s so old fashioned and sweet.


Bryan June 14, 2011 at 4:15 pm

Sounds great my friend! I often make my own BBQ sauce (My lovely wife and I can’t find one in a bottle that we both like) but I don’t think sounds as good as this one! Thanks for the recipe.


SuziCate June 14, 2011 at 5:51 pm

You’re so sweet to fuss for your folks each week. One day youre Mama is gonna’ veer from that salad and do something super fancy, and lo and behold you’re really going to be making those sausages!


Maria June 14, 2011 at 6:03 pm

Ok, I am going to Barnes and Noble tomorrow, with gift card in hand and buying this cookbook.

This sounds delicious. And not too much to fuss over to make something that LOOKS like it was made with great effort.

Thanks, Kitch!


TKW'S Dad June 14, 2011 at 6:23 pm

TKW, selective hearing is okay, but no Dad will not lament the gradual loss of hearing! It is not a good thing, believe me, especially in places with background noise. But your Mom and I are truly blessed, to have a Daughter and her family graciously willing to have us over practically every week of the year for lunch, catch up on the news and enjoy the Grandchildren. Jennifer is right, it’s so old fashioned, but definitely sweet. We truly thank you!


ck June 15, 2011 at 3:26 am

I have to second that – TKW is a wonderful blessing!


TKW June 15, 2011 at 5:01 am

Okay, Daddy, I’ll believe you about the hearing loss, although I admit that I envy you when she whips out that recorder and plays Hot Cross Buns ad infinitum. Love you.


Heather June 14, 2011 at 7:45 pm

I totally just bought that cookbook for my BIL for his birthday. If he knows what’s good for him he’ll show up this weekend for the visit he’s promised. If he gets too busy to make it home, that sucker is mine! Of course, it’s only 15 bucks at Costco!


Gibby June 15, 2011 at 6:50 am

Looks SO yummy, Kitch! I must get that Weber cookbook.


Jenna June 15, 2011 at 8:13 am

Wow, a rub AND a sauce. You’ve gone hog wild!


Gale June 15, 2011 at 8:55 am

The ingredient lists for BBQ sauces are always a bit overwhelming, but usually always worth it. Thanks for the recipe. I can’t wait to give it a try!


BigLittleWolf June 15, 2011 at 9:09 am

I just discovered the pressure cooker. And now you want me to man the grill?

(If I dangle this recipe and photo in front of my sometimes-cooking-kid, think he’d take to the grill?)


TKW June 16, 2011 at 6:56 am


Teens and the grill are a natural–Fire! Meat! Caveman Stuff!


elizabeth June 15, 2011 at 12:09 pm

Now that we have access to a proper grill I’ll have to check this out. In the meantime, I really want to try this recipe….


Rudri Bhatt Patel @ Being Rudri June 15, 2011 at 4:55 pm

How sweet that you host lunch for your parents. And even sweeter that your Father left a comment. Makes me smile.


TKW June 16, 2011 at 6:57 am


Whenever Daddy comments, I think of you. xo


Katybeth June 16, 2011 at 3:10 pm

Was your “hellacious plane trip home from Cancun” on UNITED AIRLINES perhaps?
The meal sounds wonderful–isn’t it fun to fuss over our parents especially when they least expect it and so appreciate it?
This looks good enough to pass along to a friend who loves to cook and would like to invite us over this summer.


TKW June 17, 2011 at 6:43 am


But of course! UA and their charming personnel.


Paula (Salad in a Jar) June 18, 2011 at 6:22 am

Yes, because of you, I have the book. Always glad when you highlight a recipe.

Girl, I love the way you describe your “jolt of energy.” It happens to me too when I get wind of company coming despite my efforts to be calm and relaxed. My husband insists it’s quite acceptable to serve cold cuts– even pickle loaf. Really?!


TKW June 18, 2011 at 8:30 am


Holy Hell–what is pickle loaf? I must know.


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