Cornell Chicken

Cornell Chicken

A few years ago for Christmas, my mother-in-law Gail gave her four boys this amazing recipe book filled with all of the recipes of their childhood. Breads, desserts, salads, and sauces, it’s chocked full of all of the boys favorites that Gail made them and that they ended up learning to make themselves.  As Dan and I add to it ourselves, we’ll eventually be able to pass along to our children with our own stories like the ones that Gail’s added to her recipes. One of Dan’s favorites is called Cornell Chicken also known as Fireman’s Picnic BBQ Sauce, named for the Firemen of Cornell, NY who served this delicious marinated chicken at one of the annual BBQs. According to Dan, Gail ‘charmed’ her way to this recipe.  I like her style.


Super simple marinade but incredibly flavorful.  A whipped egg mixed with some vegetable or canola oil, apple cider vinegar, some white pepper, poultry seasoning, and a lot of salt.

Cornell Chicken

I first mixed it in a bowl then put in a plastic bag.  In the meantime, we par-boiled some on the bone chicken thighs. This way, it’s mostly cooked so then when it’s on the grill, it’s low and slow without having to worry whether it’s fully cooked.  After about 15 minutes of boiling (I happened to be making some ham stock from a leftover ham bone, so I just threw them in with that).  Once the chicken was cooled, I added them in to marinade with all that deliciousness.

Cornell ChickenA vacuum sealer would be ideal, but in the meantime, I just use my husband to make sure all the air is out.  Then, into the fridge for at least 24 hours.  The longer the better though, really, Gail said that 48 is the best.

Cornell Chicken

The next day, Dan turned on the grill, I steamed some asparagus, and after about 30 minutes on low on the grill with continual basting of the leftover marinade, we had these beautiful thighs. Crispy skin, super moist, and with the delicious vinegar-tangy and peppery marinade soaked into the delicious juicy meat. I totally would have charmed my way to this recipe too!

Sir Nigel

Nigel, our QA Officer, approved 🙂

Cornell Chicken
AKA Fireman's Picnic BBQ Sauce
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  1. 1 egg
  2. 1/2 cup of oil (vegetable or canola)
  3. 1 cup of apple cider vinegar
  4. 2 tablespoons of salt ("no this is not a typo" says Gail)
  5. 1 1/2 teaspoons of poultry seasonings
  6. 1/4 teaspoon of white pepper
  1. Whip the egg really good.  Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.
  2. Marinade some par boiled on the bone chicken overnight (at least 2 days is best) in the marinade in a plastic bag.  When ready to eat, grill on low continuously basting with the remaining sauce.
Served From Scratch

 AKA Fireman's Picnic BBQ Sauce - a delicious, tangy white marinade that's perfect for any chicken and any BBQ!

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  • Sounds delicious! 🙂 Didn’t the apple cider vinegar overpowered the dish? I had a good bottle of apple cider vinegar at home and I’d love to try this. Mmm, you think chicken breast will be good on this?

    • Thank you! The vinegar gives it a really nice tang, you should definitely try it! I’m sure it’ll be just as delicious with chicken breasts!

  • The cookbook Gail gifted upon her children is priceless. I’m sure it was quite a labor of love to compile all of the recipes. It’s such a wonderful way to carry on family dining traditions. If even half of them are as delicious looking as this cornell chicken, she has a best seller on her hands. 🙂

    • Isn’t it sweet? I love reading through it because it’s clearly written how she speaks and the stories are so great! It would totally make a great cookbook! 🙂

  • What a wonderful thing to do for the whole family!! I wish I could have a copy {I would pay of course}. My husband and I love to cook.
    Our kids have grown and we have 13 grandchildren from 3 – 18 {7 girls/ & 6 boys}. We are blessed and know it!! Thanks for the smiles
    and ideas you’ve passed to me today! ~ Janelle {So. Cal}

    • Thanks, Janelle! And thanks so much for visiting and reading! 13 grandkids – wow! That’s amazing. And we’re so honored you’d want to buy a copy of the book! Unfortunately, it has quite a few recipes that my husband has asked I never share, but the ones I can, I am! So maybe someday we’ll make our own Served From Scratch cookbook. 😀

      • Thank you, Tracy ~ I hope you do that, It would be a tribute to your family. Love It! {Of course I would be buying one!}
        Thanks for the the reply! /
        ~ Janelle {So Cal}

  • It is so important to pass down our family recipes to the next generation — I just lost both of my grandparents in the past year and their recipes are so fondly remembered by every member of the family, we’ve all been trying to catalogue them so we can continue to enjoy them. This chicken marinade sounds like it would be a new family favorite in our house. I love your tip on par-cooking the chicken too — can’t tell you how many times my husband has taken the chicken off the grill before it was actually cooked. Nothing like digging in to medium rare poultry! LOL!