Thursday, June 6, 2013

Dutch Oven Chocolate Chicken


Chocolate what?

No. Stinking. Freaking. Way.  What are you thinking?  Chocolate chi--  What?

See, it all started when my wife was preparing a lesson for church on Sunday about God’s love.  She found this funny quote that says, “Chocolate is proof that God loves us all!”  While we talked about ways to work that into the lesson (involving a handout with Hershey’s Kisses), I got an idea in my head for a day of cooking with chocolate.

I did some research, and I found a great brownie recipe (which will follow another day), but I wondered what to do for the main dish.  I thought about a mole of some kind, and I started looking for recipes.  I found, instead, a recipe for a chocolate-based barbecue sauce.  Immediately, I thought of the cashew chicken I had done in the previous post.  I would do a dredged, crispy fried chicken, and then dry-bake on the sauce!

Though many of the processes are the same as that last dish, there are a few differences, so I’ll write it out again.

Dutch Oven Chocolate Chicken

12” Dutch oven

20+ coals below for frying

10 coals below for baking
30+ coals above

8” Dutch oven

12+ coals below

2 lbs boneless & skinless chicken breast tenders
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp paprika

4 tbsp. unsalted butter
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small yellow onion, minced
1 1.5 oz. chocolate bar, broken into chunks
1 8ox can tomato sauce
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp molasses
2 tbsp. vinegar
2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tbsp coffee grounds or powdered coffee substitute, like Pero
2 tbsp  Dijon mustard
2 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper

First of all, make sure that the chicken is fully thawed before you even start.

I started out, as I usually do, by firing up some coals.  Once I had a few that were getting a bit white, I spread about 20 or more out on the table and put the 12” Dutch oven on it to preheat, with a few tbsp of olive oil in the bottom.

While the coals and the Dutch oven were getting ready, I prepared the chicken.  I mixed the flour and spices in a bowl first of all.  I was working with boneless, skinless chicken breasts, so I sliced them into 1” strips and dredged them into the flour mix.  I set them aside on a plate.

When the Dutch oven and the oil was hot, I put in the chicken to fry.  I covered the bottom and still had only placed about half the chicken, so I did it in batches.  I cooked the chicken about ten minutes or so and then turned each piece over using tongs.  While the first batch was cooking I chopped up the onion and minced the garlic. When both sides were nice and crispy, and I could see that the insides were cooked through, I pulled them off, and put in the second batch.  Somewhere in here, I also added in some fresh coals to the fire to get hot and ready.

While the second batch was cooking, I put my 8” on the coals and melted the butter.  The onions and garlic went in with a little salt to sweat.  Once those were translucent, the remaining ingredients went in to simmer and melt.

When the second batch of chicken strips were done, I pulled it off the coals and added in the first batch, with the lid on, to keep warm with the residual cast iron heat.

When the sauce was looking nice and smooth, I tasted it and adjusted it.  I found my mix to be a little chocolate-heavy so I added in more mustard and vinegar.  You can adjust it how you like.  In the ingredients list above, I backed off on the cocoa a bit to compensate.  I poured about half of the sauce over the chicken in the Dutch open and stirred it up to coat it over all of the pieces.

Then, I set up the dry-bake.  I put the 12” Dutch oven on about 10-12 coals, and put a LOT of good, fresh coals on the lid.  Then I lifted the lid and put an old circular grill on the Dutch oven as a spacer for the lid.  You can see it in the picture.  I put the lid back on.  Now, there’s a thin space where moisture can escape.  In the past I’ve done that by hooking bent nails over the rim of the Dutch oven.  This time, I had this grill that worked very nice.  When you do that, however, you need to put a LOT more coals on top, as shown in the instructions, because the lid doesn’t trap the heat and moisture.  In this case, the chicken is already cooked, it’s just a matter of dry-baking the sauce on like a glaze.  I let it bake for about another fifteen minutes, stirring it once.

Finally, it was ready.  I served it with a side of steamed veggies, and did the brownies for dessert.  A chocolate day!

Mark has discovered a love of Dutch Oven Cooking. Mark also has other sites and blogs, including and his MoBoy blog.


  1. Dear Mark,
    Today I made my first Dutch Oven meal. Your Mountain Man breakfast. It was a success. My husband had two plates. Normally he does not eat a heavy breakfast but he loved that. I really enjoy your books. Tonight after supper I plan on making peach cobbler. Thank you again.

    Heather in NM

  2. Hey! I'm glad I was able to help out! Come back often!

  3. Dear Mark,
    Earlier this week I made roasted chicken with carrots and potatoes in a 14inch dutch oven. Came out great. I used my own recipe this time, stuffing the bird with fresh lemon and using lots of fresh sage and rosemary. My son has asked me to make a mashed potato dish for the dutch oven. Do you have any suggestions for shepherds pie? I am thinking of using pot roast instead of ground meat.

    Thanks again.
    Heather in NM



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