• Home
  • Blog
  • Secret to Crispy Grilled Chicken – Cornell Style

Secret to Crispy Grilled Chicken – Cornell Style


History of Dr. Robert Baker’s Cornell Crispy Grilled Chicken

Bob Barker’s tried and true method for grilling chicken that is crispy and juicy. 

Bob Baker was a famous professor of food science and poultry science at Cornell University in Ithaca New York. His wife Jackie Baker would always call their home “the home of barbecue bob” By the late 1950s Bob Baker had created his recipe and was all over New York. Cornell precipitated an unexpected act of Bakers career which transformed the way we eat chicken today.

By 1958, Cornell Chicken’s popularity had become tremendously industrial, and the lab was quickly transforming into a poultry foods industry helmed by Rob Baker. He was able to come up with some 30 unimagined foods like, frozen French toast, chicken hot dog, which were instant hits in the food market. Other than that, Bakers most influential work in Bruckner – bridling and atomizing chicken meat brought the chicken to the center of the American diet.

Promoting the poultry industry

When Baker began his work of producing and creating chicken recipes about half a century ago, the average American ate fewer than 30 pounds of chicken a year. Today, 80 pounds of chicken is taken by one person every year, thanks to Baker’s Grilled chicken. His great dresser for barbecue, Bob proved to many that there was an answer to the challenging plague facing poultry scientists “how to get people to eat more chicken.”

The poultry department of the East coast worked hard to help make chicken raising more efficient, but by the end of the mid-’50s, those efforts had not translated to increased consumption. The chicken was therefore affordable and even grew tenfold, but the average consumption continued to be low despite the chicken meat getting healthier, cheaper and available.

The success of Cornell Chicken provided a possible consumption solution for many people were suffering from “chicken fatigue” where a chicken was just chicken no matter how good you prepared it. Whereas beef and pork had dozens of cooking guises –steak, chops, hamburger and many more.

The breakthrough

Baker spent most of his career life of four decades ticking off new ways of getting people to eat chicken. Chicken patties, chicken, bologna, chicken sausage and the precursor of chicken nuggets. The success of making these products went way ahead to signal the land-grant researchers to use food science to help support the State’s Agricultural industry.

At first, baker smoked the meat in holes in the ground like a goat roast but later decided it would be much easier to cook above the ground and he began constructing metal racks to assist in turning 25 half chickens at a time.

The use of vinegar without sugar

The emulsion of vinegar, eggs, and oil makes the chicken to crisp without burning as quickly as it does when immersing in red barbecue sauce which unlike the Cornell sauce contains sugar. Charcoal is also recommended to give the chicken that Smokey flavor. Baker also does not marinate his chicken, unlike ordinary grilled chicken.

Baker died in 2006, but he left behind the Chicken Coop family which has continued the legacy of chicken operation. The resulting contribution to the annals of barbecue would be forever associated with Cornel University in Ithaca New York under the leadership of baker.

Bob Baker’s Crispy Grilled Cornell Chicken Recipe

This recipe serves four to eight individuals.

Marinating: You can store the sauce in the fridge for a few days because the coldness, the vinegar and salt will prevent microorganisms from multiplying. You can divide the recipe in half by discarding half of the eggs after whisking them.


ingredients for crispy chicken

  • Two eggs
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • ½ cup apple cidler vinegar
  • ¼ cup of poultry seasoning
  • One tbsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • Four chicken quarters


  1. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs together with a hand mixer or a balloon whisk. Add the canola oil and whisk for two minutes until it gets thick enough, homogenous and bright yellow in color. A balloon whisk will work best as its wire strands are really efficient to do an emulsifying job of mixing oil and water. Thoroughly whisk the salt, vinegar and pepper together.
  2. Pierce the chicken skin severally with a fork or a sharp knife to ensure that the marinade is absorbed and fat can pop out during grilling. This will help make the chicken crispy and tender. Marinate your chicken for 3 to 24 hours depending on the urgency and place them in zipper bags and put them in the fridge. You can also use a bowl or a pan but you will have to ensure your marinade is enough to coat all your chicken.
  3. If you are using the grill. Turn the grill to 225 degrees up to 325 degrees depending on your timing. Sprinkle the poultry seasoning and rub it on all sides of the chicken till they are all covered. Place your chicken under the indirect heat and close the lid. After every 5 to 10 minutes baste with the marinade and turn the chicken while changing their positions.
  4. If you are using charcoal. You should prepare the charcoal earlier enough and let it burn for about 20 minutes. Do not place on the charcoal briquettes together but separately so as to allow direct and indirect cooking.
  5. Grill for about 60 to 90 minutes till the internal temperature of each art is around 150 degrees. The cooking time may vary depending on the quality, thickness and size of your chicken. For those who use charcoal it may take a longer time to get your chicken fully cooked.
  6. Move your chicken over the hot direct heat side of the grill, lift the lid and carefully crisp the chicken skin without burning it for 10 to 15 minutes. Flip and then heat for five more minutes. This is an important step as it gives your chicken a crispy yet tender feel and golden color. You can use your meat thermometer to check the doneness of your meat. Remember it is always safe to double check your coking.

About the Author

Follow me

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}