Allie’s Recipe: “BBQ Chicken”

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By Bopha Phorn, Allie Barton & Holger Roonemaa

As Humphrey Fellows, we come from distinct parts of the world. We all speak different languages, come from different cultures and have various media backgrounds. One of the strongest commonalities we share, however, is a celebration of each of our countries’ cuisines.

For our first project as a group, we were tasked with preparing traditional food from one of our own countries. Allie Barton, from America, Holger Roonemaa, from Estonia, and me, from Cambodia, originally planned to cook a Cambodian meal in a Cambodian Restaurant called Reatrey Sekong in Phoenix. Because of a tight schedule and lack of ingredients, we decided to change our initial plan. We were in a panic, but thankfully, Allie had a brilliant idea to save us on time. Allie’s recipe was “BBQ Chicken with Corn Bread”, a traditional American barbecue.

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Photo by Holger Roonemaa 

I’ve eaten BBQ chicken before, but I had never once made it myself.

Before we started our cooking session, we all agreed that Allie would bring some of the ingredients from home, and Holger and I would do the grocery shopping.

It was around 7pm on a Tuesday night when our little group congregated in my apartment to carry out our cooking mission. I was nervous at first, as I had not cooked for several years, since I started my job as a journalist. Allie seemed to be comfortable with the recipe as she turned on the video tutorial on her iPhone 7.

While she was mixing the ingredients for the chicken wing rub, I was making sure that the frozen chicken thawed. I also helped Allie mix the ingredients, making sure it tasted good, while Holger greased the pan.

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Photo by Holger Roonemaa 

After the frozen chicken wings thawed, I handed them over to Holger. He then applied the dry rub to the chicken wings. I helped arrange all the wings on the plate, so they would evenly cook. Holger then put them into the oven at 425 degrees.

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Photo by Allie Barton

Without taking a break, Allie went on to combine the corn bread ingredients. Holger stirred the mix prepared by Allie and poured it in the already greased pan. Holger then placed our culinary creation into the oven for nearly 45 minutes.

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Photo by Holger Roonemaa

While we were waiting for the wings to come to a crisp, Allie said to me: “If you go to a restaurant for BBQ chicken wings, ask for Honey Hot.” I passed my newfound American dining information on to Holger.

I was really excited to try our meal. We all were.

With the wings still in the oven, Holger mixed the buffalo wing sauce, while I could only clean the dishes and put everything in its place.   

Holger took out the plate of cornbread. Allie held a fork ready to test whether it was finished. It needed a bit more time, so Holger placed it back in the oven. About 5 to 10 minutes later, the cornbread was well-cooked, and we all were thrilled to try it.

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Photo by Holger Roonemaa 

Soon after, the wings also emerged from the oven ready to be mixed with the honey hot buffalo sauce. Holger stirred them together in a pot so that the chicken was well covered. About five minutes later, the chicken was ready and our mouths were watering.

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Photo by Allie Barton

We were all impressed with the outcome of our cooking project. I will admit that Holger was a little shocked by how spicy the wings turned out to be. Nevertheless, we enjoyed our little meal of classic American food. Cooking in a group creates not only good food, but also great memories.

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Photo by Allie Barton