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Dr. Baker's Original "Cornell Chicken" Recipe


Dr. Baker's Original
Brian Hagiwara/Photolibrary/Getty Images
This central New York specialty was invented by Dr. Robert Baker, a professor at New York's Cornell University. He wanted to create a delicious way to grill smaller chickens, so that the local farms could sell more birds, sell them sooner, and more affordably. One taste of his Cornell chicken recipe and you'll know why he was so successful.

Makes 4 Portions Grilled Cornell Chicken

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Marination Time: 2 hours

Total Time: 3 hours, 10 minutes


  • 2 whole dressed chickens (2 1/2 - 3 pounds each), cut in half

  • For the basting sauce:
  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning


Combine the basting sauce ingredients in a blender and blend until emulsified. Place the chicken halves in a large zip-top plastic bag and pour in 1/2 cup of the sauce. Seal the bag and shake gently to coat the chicken evenly. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

Remove the chicken from the marinade, and wipe off excess sauce from the surface. Grill over charcoal, turning and liberally basting with the sauce every 10 minutes, for about an hour, or until cooked through.

Note: Dr. Baker's original recipe used a barbecue pit with the chicken cooked on racks, several feet away from the coals, so that the chicken cooked relatively slowly, but this recipe still works fine if you use a deep, kettle-style grill.

This recipe makes enough basting sauce for 4-5 whole chicken, and any extra can be stored in the refrigerator for several weeks.
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