Dean Fearing’s Deep in the Heart of Texas Backyard Barbeque Chicken Recipe

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There’s nothing quite like the big, bold taste of Texas.

Known for its spicy Tex-Mex, state fair-inspired treats and, of course, delicious, smoky barbeque, the great southern state is serving up some of the south’s tastiest, most renowned cuisine — and chef Dean Fearing, of Fearing’s Restaurant, has had a heavy hand in making Texas cuisine what it is today.

When we asked him what one of his favorite go-to meals was, he said it had to be some classic Texas fare — backyard barbeque chicken. Fearing also said he always uses natural hardwood charcoal for grilling.

Deep in the Heart of Texas Backyard Barbeque Chicken Recipe
* Serves 4


  • 1 whole chicken (3-4 pounds) cut into quarters
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • dried thyme to taste
  • crushed red bell pepper flakes to taste
  • 3 cups Sonny Bryan’s Barbecue Sauce
  • Country Greens-Cornbread Pan Stuffing (recipe follows)
  • Peach-Jalapeno Chutney (recipe follows)
  1. Make sure the whole chicken is rinsed under running water. Cut chicken into quarters, brush with vegetable oil and season with salt, pepper, thyme, and pepper flakes on both sides. Set aside.
  2. A clean grill is a happy grill. Make sure old ashes are discarded and grates are brushed clean. Add wood charcoal and ignite. When charcoal has burned to white ash, add chicken quarters skin side down. The process now is to render as much grease from the skin without burning the skin or causing the grease to flare-up on the fire and burn the skin. Take your time and be attentive to what is on the grill.
  3. At this point, add water-soaked hickory chips (a small handful at a time) to the edge of the fire. This will start the smoking process. Seal in the smoke with a lid or the top of the grill. Remember to keep an eye on the chicken and turn when skin is rendered about 8-10 minutes. If the smoke dies down, add another handful of hickory chips.
  4. Grill and smoke chicken for about 15 additional minutes making sure the meat is cooking evenly on both sides. Then begin basting each piece of chicken with barbeque sauce. Don’t be afraid to swipe on the barbeque sauce heavy and keep turning each piece to prevent burning in one area of the grill.
  5. Remove barbequed chicken from grill to a platter and serve family style with bowls of Country Greens-Cornbread Pan Stuffing and Peach-Jalapeno Chutney.
  6. You may find one whole chicken is just not enough to satisfy “A Big Texas Appetite.”

Country Greens-Cornbread Pan Stuffing Recipe

For the Greens:

  • 4 lb fresh collard greens
  • 1.2 cup smoked ham hock
  • 8 cups chicken stock, plus 2-3 cups more, if needed
  • 1 large onion, peeled and kept whole
  • 2 dried red chilies
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • salt to taste
  • pepper vinegar to taste
  1. To prepare the collard greens, pick through the greens, discarding any large stems and brown or yellow leaves. Wash thoroughly to remove all grit. With a knife cut the greens into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Place the ham hock, onion, chilies and pepper in a large pot over medium-high heat and add enough stock to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 45 minutes.
  3. Add the greens in 4 batches, stirring each batch down until wilted and submerged in the liquid. If needed, add more stock to cover the greens by 1 inch. Increase the heat, to medium and simmer, 40-60 minutes. The length of cooking time depends on the age of the greens; the older the greens, the longer it takes to tenderize them. The liquid (potlikker) should be reduced by 3/4. Remove the ham hock and remove meat from bones and cut into medium dice. Add back to greens, remove onion and chop fine and add back to greens. Season with pepper vinegar.
  4. Keep warm!

For the Cornbread:

* Makes 1 10-inch round bread

  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 extra large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted (or melted bacon grease)


  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Grease a 10-inch cast-iron skillet and place in oven.
  3. Combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add milk, eggs and butter. Stir with a few rapid strokes until dry ingredients are just moistened.
  4. Pour batter into hot pan. Place in pre-heated 425 oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until edges are light brown and bread is firm. Remove from oven and let cool. With a knife cut cornbread into 1 inch dice.

Peach-Jalapeno Chutney Recipe

  • 5 ripe peaches
  • 1 tablespoon finely diced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice


  1. Peel and pit all peaches, medium dice 3 peaches and place in bowl and set aside.
  2. Puree the remaining peaches in a blender. Pour the mixture into a medium saucepan with ginger, sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice. Bring pan to medium heat and reduce mixture, stirring occasionally, until thick for about 5 to 6 minutes. Pour diced peaches into saucepan and cook, stirring occasionally, for three minutes or until mixture is hot.
  3. Remove and set aside.

Dean Fearing is known as the “Father of Southwestern Cuisine” and will be a part of the upcoming Toyota Texas Fest presented by JBL, May 20-22 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas. Fans can partake in the special Lone Star Food Fest with Dean Fearing alongside the music festival featuring Big & Rich, Lee Brice and Kip Moore. For more information visit