Dr. Baker's Original Cornell Chicken Recipe

This central New York specialty was invented by Dr. Robert Baker, a Professor Emeritus of the Department of Animal Sciences at the New York State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University. He wanted to create a delicious way to grill smaller chickens so that the local farms could sell more birds, sell them sooner, and make them more affordable. One taste of his Cornell chicken recipe and you'll know why he was so successful.



  • 2 whole chickens (2 1/2 to 3 pounds each, cut in half)
  • For the Basting Sauce:
  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • 1 cup of vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning


Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.
  2. Combine the basting sauce ingredients in a blender and blend until emulsified.
  3. Place the chicken halves in a large zip-top plastic bag and pour in 1/2 cup of the sauce. Seal the bag and shake gently to coat the chicken evenly.
  4. Refrigerate for 2 hours. Remove the chicken from the marinade, and wipe off excess sauce from the surface. Discard marinade.
  5. Grill over charcoal, turning and liberally basting with the remaining sauce every 10 minutes, for about 1 hour, or until cooked through. 

Raw Egg Warning

Consuming raw and lightly-cooked eggs poses a risk of food-borne illness.


  • If you have leftover sauce and would like to store for later use, you can boil it down and add more vinegar before placing it in the refrigerator.
  • Or you can use pasteurized eggs if you are worried about salmonella.
  • Make sure that your grill is well-oiled before you start cooking.

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