Cornell-Brooks BBQ Chicken {An Upstate NY Favorite}

by Julie Cohn
Brooks BBQ Chicken Recipe 2

Sharing is caring!

This Cornell-Brooks BBQ Chicken recipe is an upstate New York favorite and will quickly become your favorite too…no matter where you live!  The chicken is soaked in a zesty vinegar-based marinade then slow roasted on the grill, creating a flavorful and juicy chicken with crispy skin.  Oh my goodness, this chicken is good!

{This recipe contains affiliate links.}

From the time I was very young, my Dad was always active in our church’s Knights of Columbus. Each summer, in our area of upstate New York, the Knights of Columbus would host a famous chicken BBQ fundraiser each summer, using a chicken marinade recipe developed at Cornell University.  People would line up for miles to get a plate of this deliciousness!   Rows of charcoal grills made from cement blocks and grates cooked the sizzling chicken, while the Knights of Columbus guys basted it with big paintbrushes.  Fresh off the grill, they piled the chicken high on each plate and served it with salt potatoes, corn, watermelon, and a roll to sop up the chicken marinade.   My mom would sometimes make Cornell-Brooks BBQ Chicken for us at home too — it was one of the best parts of summer living in upstate New York! 

Cornell Brooks BBQ Chicken


My husband grew up in upstate New York too, but in a different area several hours away from where I grew up.  The famous barbecue chicken in his area was Brooks BBQ from Oneonta, NY.   One time I went online to see if I could find a recipe to make him Brooks style BBQ, and lo and behold, it was the same recipe as the Cornell University chicken the Knights of Columbus used to make!  Since then, I’ve tweaked the recipe just a little bit, and this has become one of our favorite ways to make barbecue chicken at home.   I serve this Cornell – Brooks BBQ chicken with potato salad, Broccoli Slaw, Raspberry Razzle jello salad, and watermelon.  YUMMY!

Cornell – Brooks BBQ Chicken Recipe

  • 2 c. Apple Cider vinegar
  • 1 c. oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. poultry Seasoning (I use Bell’s Seasoning)
  • Pepper to taste
  • Half Breast Chickens w/Skin  

Whisk together all the ingredients except the chicken.  This makes a lot of marinade liquid, but you need some to baste the chicken too, so it is good to have extra.  Place the chickens in a large baggie or marinade pan.  Pour the marinade over the chicken, seal the container, and allow the marinade to sit in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours or overnight, turning the container occasionally to thoroughly coat the chicken.

 Heat the grill and slow cook the chicken over medium heat for about 40-45 minutes, basting with the marinade while cooking.  Make sure to slow roast the Cornell/Brooks BBQ Chicken and keep an eye on it, so it does not burn.  


Cook until the skin is crispy but not black.  Make certain you cut into the chicken to make certain the center is no longer pink before serving, as thicker pieces of chicken can take longer to cook.  Serve with a few summer salads, such as this Four Bean Salad.  If you have any leftovers, pull the chicken off the bone and eat cold or use for a zesty chicken salad!  

Note:  This chicken tastes best grilled over a charcoal flame, but most people have gas grills these days.  If you can use charcoal, do so, it really does kick up the flavor a notch!  

Sharing is caring!

You may also like

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.