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The H.J. Leggie Texas Low & Slow Chicken

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    The H.J. Leggie Texas Low & Slow Chicken

    When I moved to Houston in 1975, I found myself looking for a place to live in Seabrook, a coastal community along Galveston Bay that’s part of the booming suburban area known as Clear Lake (home to the NASA Johnson Space Center). Within the community is a long road along the bay known as Toddville Road. We found a house along there for rent that was owned by an 82 year old guy by the name of Herman (H.J.) Leggie. Old H.J. lived in the back in a one room shack and rented his house for income.

    Among a number of things in his life he was a small engine mechanic (working on anything from an outboard to a lawn mower) and an accomplished gardener. The guy grew cantaloupes the size of bowling balls. One day when I was rooting around his repair shed low and behold I saw this vessel, maybe 300 gallons that had been made into a stick burner. Yea old H.J. was somewhat of an accomplished pitmaster at some point in his life as well.

    Well having cataracts so bad in both eyes that he could hardly see meant that repairing engines and cooking barbecue was pretty much ancient history for him. So I volunteered to drag the cooker out and clean it up and see if I could do some smoking. Now at that time I had no idea what real smoking was all about, I was an accomplished backyard cremator of meat on a grill.

    So for my first cook I started a charcoal fire in the cooking chamber (what’s that fire box for??) and began to grill some chicken. Well as usual I managed to burn it up before it got done internally. So for my efforts old H.J. chews my ass out calling me a moron and showing me how to smoke using the offset fire box. He also told me that in Texas they cook chicken using Wishbone Italian dressing to keep it moist and preventing it from burning up.

    Well after that, and for a lot of years that followed, I kind of perfected that method of marinating in Wishbone and mopping with a combination of the dressing and Woody’s marinade. As time went on I began learning other ways to cook chicken and kind of forgot that first lesson old H.J. had taught me.

    Fast forward to recent times and I ran across this book on Amazon. Within it was a recipe that low and behold was exactly from back in the day, using Wishbone to marinate and mop chicken......


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    So what the heck I did some over the weekend and rediscovered an old favorite. Marinating a bunch of chicken leg quarters in Wishbone overnight, seasoned and setup an indirect on my Weber kettle, fan controlled and a full basket of charcoal in the SNS....

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    Cooked at 275* steady, mopped with my Wishbone/Woody's mopping sauce about every 30 minutes or so and about 2 hours later pulled them off at about 165* internal. I know it gets to be cliche, but I had forgotten how good this method of cooking really is for chicken. Totally moist and juicy, bite through (not crisp) skin, great flavor down to the bone, some of the best I've made in a long time and I make a lot of chicken. Needed about 5 napkins to wipe the juice from my face and hands.....


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    Extremely simple but very effective method, give it a try if you're looking for something different. I think old H.J. Leggie would have given me two thumbs up !!! (Or more than likely found something else to chew me out about )

    TROUTMAN STEVE WISHING EVERYONE A HAPPY HOLIDAY !!! PEACE OUT !!!
    Last edited by Troutman; December 18, 2018, 09:28 AM.

    #2
    Yum! Thanks for sharing.

    Comment


      #3
      Very cool Troutman ! One of my favorite co-workers lives in Clear Lake. And we used the wishbone marinade up in Massachusetts too!

      Comment


      • Troutman
        Troutman commented
        Editing a comment
        So does lonnie mac , just down the road from the Seabrook area !

      #4
      Italian dressing has been my chicken marinade of choice for as long as I can remember. Great looking cook!

      Comment


        #5
        Nice story!

        Comment


          #6
          Thanks for the reminder brother! I have not done this is a long time. Good to get back to the roots of great chicken.

          Funny, I'm sittin in Clear Lake right now. LOL.

          Comment


          • Troutman
            Troutman commented
            Editing a comment
            I hadn't done it in probably 20 years, I just forgot about it. Such a great way to do chicken, fun to re-discover that brain cell again !!

          #7
          Wishbone and Woody's was Dad's go to for chicken as well. Gotta resurrect this one fo sho! Thanks for sharing Steve.

          Comment


          • Troutman
            Troutman commented
            Editing a comment
            Woody's was made originally in New Orleans until Katrina wiped out the factory. It was being sold bootleg on line until they opened up again I believe in Reno, NV of all places. Stuff has a cult-like following.... http://woodysfoods.com/sauces.php

          • RustyHaines
            RustyHaines commented
            Editing a comment
            Not many hurricanes in Reno ?

          #8
          That looks bomb. Nice cook. As I think about it, the Raichlen Only Marinade You'll Ever Need (or pretty much that I'll ever make) is not that far from being a vinaigrette, or an Italian dressing.

          Comment


            #9
            Thanks for sharing that story! I'll have to make a batch of this over the holidays for family in honor of H.J.

            Comment


            • Troutman
              Troutman commented
              Editing a comment
              Yea old H.J. Leggie was one of those once in a lifetime characters you meet. Was almost a cartoon of himself, cranky but lovable all at the same time. He would have been hell-on-wheels when he was a younger man.

            #10
            Cool story!

            I'm doing a WSJ full of chicken breasts tomorrow afternoon for a big pot of chili. I may just have to get some Wishbone. The only problem may be how much of the chicken will wind up as the cook's lunch and not in the chili.

            Comment


              #11
              A simple recipe with a great story!

              Comment


                #12
                So the moppin sauce is wishbone + woody's. What ratio?

                Is this the Woody's sauce? https://www.heb.com/product-detail/w...-sauce/1157206

                Comment


                  #13
                  Well if I told yea Stevo, I'd have to kill yea !!! Only kidding, I've been kind of eyeballin' it for years. I use more Woody's for beef and pork, more 1:1 but for chicken I use 2:1 Wishbone to keep it thin. I also add;

                  Juice of (1) lemon
                  (1) tablespoon of Lea & Perrins
                  (1) tablespoon of Balsamic Vinegar
                  (1) teaspoon of honey
                  (1) teaspoon of hot sauce

                  That's for about 1/2 a cup each of the Wishbone + Woody's. I make a triple batch usually and store it in the fridge to use for mopping all sorts of meat and poultry. I just use plain Wishbone for the marinade. And yes, you can find Woody's at HEB.

                  Comment


                  • lonnie mac
                    lonnie mac commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Brother, I didn't know I was gonna have to do math in this thread! So got a chicken, gonna cut it up. Only need enough sauce for it. So 2:1, I was thinking 2/3 to 1/3 for the mopping. How much of the other stuff? Confused on the 1/2 cup thing. Algebra sucks!

                  • Stevo
                    Stevo commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Last night I made this mop using 1C Wishbone, 1/2C Woody's, and then the other stuff as indicated above. I heated it to a simmer and kept it warm. Mopped the halved chicken maybe 4 times during its cook. Came out great!

                  • gcdmd
                    gcdmd commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I just picked up a package of thighs, 2 bottles of Wishbone Italian, and a jar of Woody's at HEB. The thighs and the wishbone will be making each other's acquaintance within the hour. I had to look a bit for the Woody's. It was about hip high and only occupied one jar width of a row on the shelf.

                    Thanks for the story and the tips, Troutman.

                  #14
                  Thanks Troutman !

                  Comment


                    #15
                    Thanks for the write-up, Steve. This is a great time of the year for outdoor cooking in our part of the country (Victoria for me), as long as it doesn't rain.

                    Right back at ya on the Holiday wishes.

                    Comment

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