K Nall’s BBQ Chicken

By Kyle Knall

Two details that bear mentioning: Kyle Knall’s late father – nicknamed “K Nall” – made BBQ chicken. And the Knalls were very close to his mom’s side of the family. When they were all together, his dad always made this chicken, which is something he learned to make from Kyle’s grandfather – his mother’s dad. That gentleman had a real system for making this chicken – he would burn it. It came to pass that Kyle picked up the torch, in tribute to his father. “I started making it on the rooftop in Brooklyn,” when he was chef and partner at the restaurant Maysville. “It’s super special to all of us.”


The question that invariably comes up, he adds, is the style of BBQ sauce. “It’s a really bright vinegar sauce with a little ketchup and mustard,” he says, placing it in Alabama territory. Between the brine and that sauce, this is a special recipe indeed.


Serves 4


8 cups water

8 cups white vinegar


BBQ Sauce

550 grams white vinegar

50 grams apple cider vinegar

260 grams ketchup

170 grams brown sugar

70 grams yellow mustard

75 grams Worcestershire sauce

5 grams chili powder

15 grams garlic powder

30 grams black pepper

30 grams kosher salt

10 grams smoked paprika

2 grams cayenne pepper

1 whole lemon, squeezed



2 pounds leg quarters (mix of legs and thighs)

40 grams kosher salt

20 grams black pepper

25 grams olive oil


Use half of the brine and submerge chicken in brine and let it sit for two hours. Remove chicken from brine and pat dry with a rag or towel. Season chicken with olive oil, kosher salt and black pepper. Place on a charcoal grill that has the fire offset and cook at 375 degrees. Cook chicken for 1 hour, 10 minutes, making sure to turn and flip every few minutes. Dip the chicken in the remainder of the brine every time you flip it to keep it moist. In the last 10 minutes of the cook, dip the chicken in the sauce and place it back on the grill so that the sauce can caramelize on the skin. Serve with the remaining sauce on the side and sliced white bread.


After studying at Culinard in his hometown of Birmingham, Alabama, Kyle Knall went to work for Frank Stitt. After four years, Knall moved to New York City, immediately securing a line cook position at Gramercy Tavern. Working closely with Michael Anthony, a James Beard honoree, Knall was promoted to sous chef for his final two years at Gramercy. In 2012, Knall was approached to serve as executive chef and partner of Maysville, which received a two-star review from The New York Times. The accolades continued as Knall opened Kenton’s in New Orleans in 2015. In 2018, Kyle took the position of executive chef of STARR Restaurant’s Electric Lemon, located in the Equinox Hotel. In 2022, he was nominated for Outstanding Chef by the James Beard Foundation, and in 2024, he was nominated in the Best Chef: Midwest category. Today, he is the executive chef and partner of Birch Restaurant and is the culinary director at Stone Bank Farm.

Kyle Knall


Kyle Knall


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