Sunday, July 10, 2011

Just Call Me "The BBQ Lady":Spatchcocked Smoked Chicken

I know the picture is usually of Mr Macho Guy in his BBQ apron, the Grillmaster who will cook over the fire when he will cook no where else, but once more The Man of the House just doesn't fit the picture. He is deeply indifferent to outdoor cooking and has always grilled only when really prodded to by the rest of us.

But the girls love cookouts and I have lovely memories of most vacation meals being cooked outside on the grill--my dad presiding because he did do the BBQ thing. So, as with many things, I realized that if I wanted it done I'd need to do it myself.

I was somewhat intimidated by the charcoal grill, but I decided that what really worried me was the lighter fluid. So I bought a charcoal chimney, not much more than a big tin can with a shelf near the bottom, holes below that and a handle. You put some newspapers in the bottom, pour charcoal on top, and set the paper alight. When the charcoal is ready, you just pour it into the grill.

I had a lot of problems the first time--too much newspaper, and I used lump hardwood, which doesn't work as well. Still, it was enough to grill hot dogs and burgers for the girls and SC's boyfriend, and emboldened me to grill again, this time with some horrible but very efficient "matchlight" charcoal we had left over from the beach last year. The fire burned hotter, and the food was excellent.

We had meant to grill our bulgogi on the 3rd of July, but it rained, so we had to cook most of it on the indoor grill. But I took the rest of it and cooked it on the grill later in the week, and the girls and I agree it is MUCH tastier that way!

And yesterday I got out the chimney and some hardwood briquettes and smoked a chicken, something I hadn't done in years. And it was delicious!

I used the spatchcock technique on the chicken, which makes the chicken cook much more quickly--it was done in about 2- 2 1/2 hours. The smoky flavor was not as pronounced as I'd have liked--next time I will add additional wood chips later on in the cooking.

But it was delicious to look at--lovely color and crisp skin--and it was delicious. The girls, the Man, JR's over nighting friend and I wolfed it down.

On tonight to Memphis Ribs!

Smoked Spatchcock Chicken

1 whole chicken-- 3-4 pounds
olive oil
black pepper
dressing/marinade of your choice--usually an Italian type dressing

wood chips (we use hickory)
disposable foil pan that fits 1/2 your grill




Start your charcoal. While it is prepping, put 2-3 big handfuls of wood chips in a container and cover with water.

While the charcoal is prepping, spatchcock the chicken and rub it on both sides with olive oil. Grind on some black pepper and add any other spices you like,

When the charcoal is ready, spread it across 1/2 of your grill and put the disposable pan on the other 1/2.
Put 2 cups of water into the pan.

Place the chicken across the grill over the disposable pan. Close the grill and adjust vents so that they are about 1/2 way open.

Turn about every half hour. Brush if wanted with dressing or with more olive oil.
Keep an eye on your charcoal--if the grill begins to cool you may need to add more. If you want a more smoky flavor, add some wood chips after the first hour.

Chicken is cooked when a thermometer registers 180 degrees F in the thigh and 168 in the breast.
Mine took about 2 1/2 hours, but it may take more or less depending on your grill.
Drain the wood chips thoroughly and place them on top of the coals. Put the grill rack back on.

1 comment:

  1. I think the most challenging thing about a charcoal grill is waiting for the coals to be ready, but the chimney is a terrific help. I saw a tip in Cook's Illustrated from a reader who roasts peppers over the chimney while it heats up! As it is, we mostly use a gas grill because of the convenience, but it does not compare in flavor. Butterflied chicken is one of the BEST grilled meals. Glad you are all enjoying the food and that you're enjoying learning a new skill.

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