Recipe of the week: Chicken dinner, Lancaster style

By Susan S. Yeske

The Middletown Grange Fair is back.

The popular agricultural fair has been canceled for the past two years due to the pandemic, but returned yesterday, August 17, with old-fashioned chicken dinners and festival food running until Sunday, August 21 august.

You can purchase a variety of festival foods at the fair, including a longtime Bucks County favorite, Goodnoe Ice Cream. Returning vendors also include 4-H snack bar, Bonjour Creperie, Best Darn Kettle Corn and Marchioni’s pizza and Italian food.

The new vendors are Blossom’s Sassa Bienne, which serves Cajun and Caribbean food, Rita’s Italian Ice and Tim’s BBQ.

For many, the highlight of the fair is the BBQ Chicken Dinner. Described as a Lancaster-style meal, in the past it included half a grilled chicken with sides of potato salad, corn on the cob, baked beans and rolls. Diners can choose iced tea or milk to drink and choose ice cream for dessert. The meal is served on long tables in the barn dining room and outside on the porch.

Dinner is served from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. on August 18, 19 and 20.

Inflation has hit the Barn Fair in the form of an increase in the cost of parking. Although admission is always free, parking will cost $20 for a car or $50 for a five-day pass. Veterans can park for free with ID. For an explanation of the increased costs, see

If you can’t make it to the chicken dinner at the fair or just can’t wait, you can try this recipe from to create your own.

Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken

6 quarter chicken thighs, skin removed

3/4 cup ketchup

½ cup orange juice

¼ cup packed brown sugar

¼ cup red wine vinegar

¼ cup olive oil

4 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon garlic salt

½ teaspoon of pepper

2 tbsp plus 2 tsp cornstarch

¼ cup of water

1. Using a sharp knife, cut the joint off each leg quarter to separate it into 2 pieces. Place the chicken in a 4-quart slow cooker.

2. In a small bowl, combine ketchup, orange juice, brown sugar, vinegar, oil, parsley, Worcestershire sauce, garlic salt and pepper; pour over chicken. Cook, covered, over low heat until the meat is tender, 5 to 6 hours.

3. Remove chicken to serving platter; Keep warm. Skim fat from cooking juices; pour into measuring cup to measure 2 cups. Transfer to a small saucepan; bring to a boil. In small bowl, combine cornstarch and water until smooth; stir into cooking juices. Return to boil, stirring constantly; cook and stir until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve with chicken.

Michael M. Tomlin