M: “Legend born in the South, Raised in a Glass.” What makes Cheerwine so distinctively Southern? The short answer would be that since it first hit the market it has only been sold in Southern states, but there is something about this heavily carbonated, cherry flavored soft drink that just *feels” like the South. Founded in Salisbury, NC in 1917 by L.D. Peeler, who bought the recipe for the Kentucky based “Mint Cola” and renamed it for it’s effervescence and burgundy color. It was an instant hit throughout North Carolina and eventually expanded its distribution into South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia and throughout the Southeast. Last fall, the company announced plans to expand to National distribution by 2017, as this beloved Southern secret gains countrywide attention. Can’t wait until 2017? See how far you’ll have to drive here or just have it shipped. Love those longnecks.
So how does it stand up in barbeque sauce? Coca Cola has a well known history as a cooking ingredient in everything from cake to, well, barbeque sauce. For my money, this recipe stands up with the best of them. As a rule, I prefer to do things from scratch. So when I see a recipe that uses packaged products as ingredients, I tend to shy away. And this one uses not only cheerwine, but also A-1 steak sauce. But you know, that’s my hang up and cooking Southern has forced me to play through that. In for a penny. It’s recipes like this one that makes me more than happy to get over myself.
I’ve made this both as an oven roast and cooked on the grill. I prefer stepping outside and firing up the grill. Especially when we’re seeing sunshine and 80 degree days in early March. It’s good to live in the South.
Recipe: Cheerwine Barbeque Chicken
Summary: Tangy sweet sauce with a hint of cherry made from the South’s best kept soda turns your roasted (or better still, grilled) chicken into something special. From The Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook
- 1 T Butter
- 1 tsp Minced Garlic
- 1 c Ketchup
- 1 c Cheerwine
- 3 T Worcestershire Sauce
- 1/4 c A-1 Sauce
- 1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper
- 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
- 1/2 tsp Dry Mustard
- 2 T White Vinegar
- 7 Lb Chicken Thighs
- In a saucepan, saute garlic in butter for a minute or so.
- Whisk in ketchup, Cheerwine, Worcestershire sauce, A-1, cayenne pepper, black pepper, dry mustard and vinegar and bring to boil.
- Reduce to simmer 20 minutes (until sauce thickens).
- Let cool and refrigerate to chill.
- Combine sauce and chicken in a storage container, making sure chicken is completely coated.
- Refrigerate 4 hours to overnight.
- Cook in 350 degree oven until an internal temperature of 170 degrees is reached (about an hour) OR grill on charcoal or propane grill at medium heat 15-20 minutes (with either method, baste with remaining sauce halfway through) until hitting that internal temperature of 170 degrees.