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Whole Chickens Part One: Basic Grilled Chicken with Grilled Peach Salsa

Summer is a great time of year for us, we are getting a fresh whole chicken in our CSA box every other week, but there is no way I am turning my oven on for 5 hours in Virginia in the summertime, the temperature consistently stays at a level of uncomfortable which can only be described as “Satan’s ass crack.” So, after some experimenting, we have developed a few fool-proof methods for cooking whole chickens that keep my kitchen at a tolerable temperature.

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Ingredients:

  • One whole chicken
  • BBQ rub
  • two peaches or nectarines
  • a small onion or scallion
  • one tomato
  • one jalapeno pepper
  • juice of one lime
  • fresh herbs: cilantro and parsley work particularly well here
  • coconut oil

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Start off by seasoning your chicken inside and out with your favorite rub, we don’t personally make all of our own rubs, because other companies have spent plenty of time and effort discovering the perfect ratios so that I don’t have to. After your coals heat up, I want you to  divide them up so that the coals are pushed over to each side of the grill with a space in the middle.  Weber makes these neat little baskets you can use for this if you have them, but they aren’t necessary.

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If you have guessed that we are going to put the chicken in the space between the hot coals so that they dripping chicken fat doesn’t cause flare-ups then probably don’t even need to keep reading…just go fire up that grill.

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The bird goes in the middle of the coals breast side down, and we cooked it to about 150-160F before throwing on the ingredients for salsa.

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Finely chop the tomato, sprinkle it with a little salt and pepper and the lime juice then set it aside for later.  Then slice the peaches, onion, and jalapeno in half and lightly brush with coconut oil, before putting them directly over the coals.  Let them cook for a few minutes until they soften and nice grill marks form, this happens pretty quick so don’t wander off.  Flip them over and let them cook for another minute or two before pulling them off the grill.  By this point your chicken should have also reached an internal temp of  at least 165F, which means it is also ready to come off. Chop up the remaining ingredients for your salsa and add in the fresh herbs, the skin should easily pull away from your cooked peaches, it is texturally unappetizing if you leave it on.  Now you are ready to eat, we paired our chicken with a nice cool vinegary cucumber salad which turned out to be the perfect refreshing combination on yet another sweltering hot day.

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Posted by on July 24, 2013 in Chicken

 

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Hail Caesar! King Of The Salad!

Interesting fact about Caesar, it is not actually pronounced see-zar in its native latin.  C for the Romans was pronounced like K and the AE is actually more of an I sound.  This makes the pronunciation sound like the German word kaiser, also meaning emperor.  Isn’t linguistics neat?  Next time you go into a restaurant insist on a Kaiser salad instead!  Or don’t, you really should not give the person who handles your food a hard time, lest you end up with a few pubic hairs mixed in.

Check it out I forgot to take the sticker off my bell pepper

Ok for this simple, yet impressive dish you will need:

  • 2-3 romaine lettuce heads
  • 2 TB dijon mustard
  • 1 t
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 3 lemons
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • salt and pepper
  • capers
  • 4 egg yolks
  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar or reduction
  • salad fixin’s: I used bell pepper, onion, avocado, basil and hungarian sweet pepper

I started by poking a bunch of holes in my chicken with a fork and marinating them in the dijon, some salt and pepper, garlic powder, and the juice of one lemon. Pop that in the fridge overnight or for a few hours.  Next I soaked a few chunks of alder wood for smoke, then started up the dual zone fire.

By now cooking the chicken should be no difficult feat; sear over direct heat and finish on indirect heat.  While the chicken is finishing(to an internal temp >160F) build your salad.  Rub the heads of romaine with oil and sear them on the grill for a couple of minutes on each side.  Also, lob your lemon in half and put that on the grill, cut side down, until you get a nice char.

Next build your dressing, which is a caesar-style aoli.  Aoli’s take patience grasshopper, add the oil in slowly you must.  I guess that sounded like Yoda crossed with Mr. Myagi, but you get the idea.  Press your garlic and combine it with the juice form one lemon until you get a paste, add in your egg yolks and whisk well until everything is incorporated.  If you do not have an electric beater and are armed with nothing but a lowly wire whisk, I suggest getting a partner and tag-teaming that sh*t like New Age Outlaws in the ring, because your arm is going to get tired.  I added in a very small amount of oil at a time and continued mixing for several minute until everything is incorporated.  I used between 1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil, or until you get your desired consistency.  I wanted mine to be really thick so it would coat the lettuce.  At the end I also added between 1-2 T of capers and salt and pepper and mixed well.

A total tanget about the capers, traditional caesar dressing calls for an anchovy or anchovy paste, neither of which I could find at the stores I went to.  If you have these things, then by all means use them, I subbed capers for the briny-salty taste.

Back on track now, toss your chopped up grilled lettuce with the dressing, make a little halo with your salad toppings, leaving a big hole in the middle for a mini meat mountain.  Once you add your chopped chicken, drizzle with the balsamic and top with chopped basil.  A neat little basil chopping trick is to roll a bunch of leaves up like a little cigar and slice, that way you get pretty little ribbons of awesome.

Don’t think I forgot about the grilled lemon, I also squeezed that over top just before I started shoveling huge forkfuls of food into my mouth.

 

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2012 in Chicken, Salad, Sauces

 

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Winner Winner Chicken Dinner with Smokey-Dokey Sauce

There are two ways to cook chicken on the grill…Theres the easy way, and then my way.

We used a whole chicken cut up in to pieces, the problem with this is that they all have different cooking times.  Breasts the longest, then thighs and back, after that drumsticks, and finally your wings.  You have to stagger the times at which you put them on the grill or you could just by a package of all breasts or thighs or whatever and make it easy.

Before you even start soak your hickory wood chips in some water.  No water pan, no chip box? No problem today, we threw them b*tches right in with the coals this time.

Ok, now give your birdy a little massage.  Rub her down real good!

The ingredients look a-ok

I used Pork Barrel BBQ rub because I am lazy, feel free to copy my idea or just sprinkle them with some salt, pepper, and garlic.  Before you start handling the chicken be sure to put your spice rub in a separate bowl.

EEEK!

It can get pretty disgusting and you don’t want to go around contaminating all of your spices.  If your hands aren’t getting nasty then I don’t think you are doing it right.  After you finish the rub put your bird in a bag and put him in the fridge.  I put my bird-bag in a bowl too because I didn’t want it leaking all over my fridge.

I’ll wait while you wash your hands….

Ok…this sauce effing rocks! Even if you don’t own a grill you should make this sauce.  I am thinking of stirring it into my coffee in the morning, I love it that much

Ingredients:

  • 4TB tomato paste: I found the stuff in a jar because its resealable and ya know, that nasty BPA s*hit
  • 2TB olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 an onion
  • 1TB molasses
  • Heaping teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 t coarse ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (preferably Grade B)
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 t paprika
  • 1 small apple
  • 1 dried ancho
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1 t salt
  • 2 TB liquid smoke

Do you have all that crap?  If not…then just go to the store, those are all staples in any BBQ house.  We will start by cutting up your dried ancho(scissors work best here) and pouring you 1/2 cup water over it.  Let that soak while you chop up your apple, then throw the apple and the ancho + water in a small saucepan to simmer until soft and tender.  Chop up the onion and garlic and add those in too, everything will be soft and tender in about 10-12 minutes.  This doesn’t need to be pretty, you’re going to puree the whole thing anyways.

While that is simmering, you can start building your sauce because you are going to be doing a whole lot of measuring.

Still steaming

When you are pureeing your apple mixture it is ok to leave some very small chunks in there, but you want to make a fairly smooth sauce.  Stir that in with all of the other ingredients, except for the smoke, in a sauce pan and bring to a boil-ish state.  Sauce doesn’t really boil but you will see when big splatter-y bubbles form, I actually recommend doing this part naked, since chances are a splatter will ruin your shirt.   Once it is good and hot go on and reduce the heat down to low and let it simmer for 10 minutes stirring occasionally.  Then you are pretty much done.  Add in the liquid smoke at the end of the cooking, stir it in while it is cooling down so as not to damage the flavor too much and get back to your chicken.  Mine yielded two cups of sauce, which was plenty for the dinner with a little leftover for later!

Liquid orgasm

If you made your sauce naked as-per my instruction you should probably put your clothes back on before you fire up the grill, I can think of a few places I really wouldn’t want hot ash landing.  When I say fire up your grill, you should know the routine by now; charcoal chimney, dual zone fire, blah blah blah.  Throw your wood chips on when it is nice and toasty to get that smoke going.

Put your bird over the hot direct heat first until it gets a nice sear on the outside.  This not only gives you amazing skin, but it also seals in the juices.  When it looks good move it to the indirect side.  After your meat is on the indirect side, brush with the sauce and let the heat caramelize it.

The pan is for collecting the juices so we can bathe in them later

Chicken is one of those meats I just don’t really trust when it comes to “eyeballing it” or going by time.  I can poke a steak and tell you how done it is, but I just don’t trust chickens…they’re shifty creatures.  We used our instant read thermometer to periodically check the temperature.  Funny story, I fed someone raw chicken once because my 13 pound bird wasnt cooked all the way through.  The standard is 16-165 for light meat and 170-175 for dark, you can check by sticking the thermometer into the deepest part of the meat without touching the bone. Our chicken had pretty big t*ts so you can imagine those took a long time.  In fact, this could take up to an hour depending on the heat of your coals and the size of your bird so I hope you don’t have any time-sensitive plans.  If you wanted quick and easy chicken you could just go to KFC and grab a Double Down.

I really hope I don’t have to explain common sense, but I feel compelled to (just in case).  Please just leave your grill alone for a while and let that sh*t cook..  If your internal temp is like 75F, just put the lid on and walk away for, like, a half hour.  Humans like to meddle, sometimes we need to learn to sit back and let nature take over, or in this case the grill.  All you need to do is flip it once or twice and brush your meat with a bit of sauce every now and then and leave it alone.  If you keep poking holes in your meat to check the temp you will let all the the juices run out.

After I pulled it off the grill I brushed it with sauce one more time and tried to let it cool for a while before eating.

Derek couldn’t even wait long enough to take his head lamp off, let alone wait for it to cool.  I must say though, a head lamp is a useful tool for night-time grilling.

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2012 in Barbeque, Chicken, Sauces

 

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