Sweet and sticky barbecue chicken

Marge Perry

Step up your barbecue game this Memorial Day with an easy homemade barbecue sauce that will wow your neighbors. Use it to baste the chicken thighs while cooking — but if you want to also serve the sauce at the table, separate some before grilling to avoid cross-contamination.

All-American BBQ Chicken Thighs

For the barbecue sauce

3/4 cup ketchup

3/4 cup beer, preferably porter

1/2 cup molasses

2 tablespoons orange juice

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

2 teaspoons hot sauce, or to taste

For the chicken

8 large or 16 small bone-in chicken thighs (4 to 4 1/2 pounds), skin removed and trimmed

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

To prepare barbecue sauce, combine ketchup, beer, molasses, orange juice, vinegar, Worcestershire, mustard and onion powder in a medium heavy saucepan; bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until reduced to about 1 1/2 cups, 20 to 25 minutes. Stir in hot sauce.

To prepare chicken: Preheat a gas grill to medium or build a fire in a charcoal grill and let it burn down to medium heat (about 400 degrees).

Combine chicken with oil in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

Oil the grill rack. Grill the chicken, with the lid closed, until lightly browned on the bottom, 10 to 12 minutes.

Turn the chicken over, close the lid and grill for 10 to 12 minutes more. Brush the top of the chicken with about 1/2 cup of the barbecue sauce and grill for about 2 minutes.

Turn the chicken over, brush the second side with another 1/2 cup of the sauce and continue grilling (2 to 4 minutes) until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest portion of the chicken registers 165 degrees. Serve the chicken with more barbecue sauce on the side, if desired. Serves 8.

Per serving: 288 calories; 12 g fat (3 g saturated fat; 37 percent calories from fat); 16 g carbohydrates; 13 g sugar; 144 mg cholesterol; 734 mg sodium; 26 g protein; 0 g fiber.