Russ' Recipes
Russ' Recipes
Break Line
Break Line

         If you don't know what " Firemen's Chicken Marinade " is then you've never been on the DelMarVa ( Delaware, Maryland & Virginia ) Pennisula and gone to a " Firemen's Roadside Chicken BBQ " in the summer months   .....   I actually have a hard time deciding if this marinade or the " Speidie Marinated Chicken " is the best to cook Chicken with on the grill ..... They are both " somewhat similar " but also " very different " .

         Even though the DelMarVa Pennisula is famous for using this marinade on Chicken it didn't actually start there.   In was started in Pennsylvania   .....   migrated to New York State, where it got it's first name   .....   and somehow then ended up here on the DelMarVa Pennisula with it's current name   .....    ( See Historical notes below ) .   It is one of the " best marinades " you'll ever taste for chicken on a grill.

" If you don't try this you are really missing out on something GREAT ! "

And once you taste both you'll be asking yourself this question:

" Should I have Speidie or Firemen's Chicken at my next BBQ ! "

To watch a great video of
" 11 Secret BBQ Tricks "
From Grill Masters

The video includes:
" cleaning your grill with an onion " and how to
" make your grill so your meat won't stick using a potatoe " !
( Plus other great ideas )

Ingredients:  ( the below mixture good for up to 10 lbs., or less, of chicken )

  •   2 chickens, 4-5 pounds each or 4 chickens 2 ½ - 3½ pounds each, cut in half or quarters  -  ( see Tip #1 )
      ( I use chicken pre-cut and sold as leg & thigh pieces since dark meat normally has the best flavor )

  •   1 cup of vegetable oil

  •   2 cups of Apple Cider Vinegar

  •   3 Tablespoons of Salt

  •   1 Tablespoons of Poultry Seasoning

  •   1 teaspoon of ground Black Pepper

  •   Gallon size freezer bags for pre-marinating  -  ( optional )

Directions:  ( the best way to mix the ingredients is with a blender, food processor or immersion blender )

  1.   Scramble the egg in a large bowl until well beaten.
      ( I use an immersion blender for this process )

  2.   Add the oil slowly and blend for about 2 or 3 minutes until frothy.

  3.   Then add the vinegar, salt, poultry seasoning and ground black pepper and blend until well incorporated.
      ( at this point you can pour sauce into a glass jar, cover and refrigerate until ready to use )


  4.   If you want to pre-marinate the chicken place it into a gallon freezer bag(s) and pour the sauce equally into however many bags your have.

  5.   Marinate over night in the refrigerator ( at least for 12 hours ... 24 hours recommended ).

  6.   When ready to cook, remove chicken from refrigerator one hour before grilling.

  7.   Whether you are using a charcoal or gas grill you must create two cooking zones:  " A low heat zone and a medium high heat zone ".

  8.   Brush some marinate on the " no skin side " of the chicken and then place it on the medium high heat zone and brush the skin side.

  9.   Cook while turning approximately every 10 minutes, basting frequently with reserved sauce.
      ( If your chicken is cooking too fast, move the pieces to the low heat side of the grill )
      ( return to the medium high heat side for further cooking and basting after a few minutes )

  10.   Continue grilling for another 40 minutes, turning and basting the chicken every 10 minutes.

  11.   After 50 minutes of grilling, check the internal temperature of the meat with an instant-read meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh or breast.  ( Chicken is cooked when internal temperature reaches 165 °F or 74 °C )


  12.   Serve with your favorite sides and .....


         While at a local DelMarVa Firemen's BBQ one time I asked one of them whether or not they pre-marinated their chicken first in their mixture before cooking them and two of them actually answered me and said " No we don't ".

         Now some folks swear-by pre-marinated their chicken first ..... and I've tried it both ways ..... and actually pre-marinating the chicken first does add more flavor ..... however most of the time I cook it without pre-marinating ( basically because I forget ahead of time to pre-marinate plus the firemen also don't ) and the flavor still comes out " Great ! "  -  ( plus I'm a little to lazy to do so - LOL )

         Also ..... if you are going to pre-marinate the chicken I'd advise you to make " Two Batches " of the sauce mix ..... " One Batch " for pre-marinating and " One Batch " for applying to the chicken while grilling ....

    Bone-in chicken works the best with this recipe ... however boneless is better for " Speidie Chicken ".

          The original recipe actually has academic origins.   It was developed in the 1950's in the State of Pennsylvania by one Robert Baker who later a became a professor of food science at Cornell University.   It was actually first named: " Cornell Barbecue Sauce".

          Robert Baker was a specialist in poultry who also created more than 40 poultry, turkey and cold cut inventions including " chicken nuggets, turkey ham and poultry hot dogs".   The recipe was developed for a large quantity ( 10+ pounds ) of smaller fryer size birds ( 2-3 lbs ) and became very popular at picnics in the Ithaca, New York area.

          Eventually, this recipe spread to other fund-raisers, fire department cookouts and little league barbecues in New York State and worked its way down the coast from one group of volunteer firemen or Lions or Kiwanis to another.

          It, of couse somehow, eventually ended up on the DelMarVa Pennisula where it got it's current name of: " Firemen's Chicken Marinade ".   The side dishes often differed from group to group, but always seemed to included a form of potato, pickles or salad and bread.

" This is a great chicken marinade no matter how it got here for sure !"

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