Cary Grant's Favorite Dish Was A Barbecue Chicken Dream

Although he passed away in 1986, iconic actor Cary Grant left behind a powerful legacy. Not only was he ultra-talented in everything from comedy to romance to thrillers, but the Hollywood star was also secretly skilled in the kitchen. One of his favorite dishes to make? Oven-baked barbecue chicken.

Thanks to cooking blogger Tori Avey, who posted the recipe documented as the late actor's favorite in the 1939 book "What Actors Eat When They Eat," we know the exact recipe he followed — although he didn't create it himself. "Now go to it, friends, and don't blame me if it is not to your liking," Grant is quoted in the cookbook. "For after all, the recipe is not mine. It is the national prize winner of the year and I happen to like it." 

You'll need a whopping 3 ½ pounds of chicken, along with Worcestershire sauce, A-1 sauce, sugar, cider vinegar, a diced onion, chopped garlic, and a whole cup of ketchup. To make it, you'll brown the chicken in chunks on the stove, then transfer them to the oven doused in the sauce. Each bite yields a blend of sweet and savory flavors, exactly how a barbecue dish should. And if you want the sauce even thicker, cooking blogger Avey advises using the old trick of stirring cornstarch and water together, then incorporating the slurry with the rest of the ingredients.

Simple ingredients for a larger-than-life celebrity

One of the murkier parts of the original recipe beloved by Grant is the timeframe for baking the chicken. The recipe simply says to "bake in a moderate oven (300 degrees) until tender" — but this can vary depending on what cut of poultry you're using. Also, keep in mind that the USDA recommends a minimum oven temperature of 325 degrees Fahrenheit or higher for baked chicken — so you'll probably want to deviate a bit from Grant's recipe. If you're going with breasts, try 40 minutes, or for thighs, up to an hour and 15 minutes at 325 degrees Fahrenheit. You could also crank up the heat to 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 minutes, like we do with the thighs in our oven-baked BBQ chicken recipe.

This dish isn't reinventing the barbecued chicken wheel, but its delicious simplicity may have been exactly what Grant loved about it. Although he became one of the most famous celebrities of the century, his life didn't exactly have a glamorous start. He was born in Bristol, England, where he was essentially abandoned by his parents, leading him to run away with the circus at 15 years old. Along with saucy poultry, Grant also enjoyed humble tuna fish pie and mushroom canapés — the latter of which sounds fancy, but his recipe involved simple ingredients like spinach, tomato, and Tabasco sauce. If you want to take a page out of Grant's cookbook, start off simple with his favorite barbecued chicken.