Thursday, June 08, 2006

Juancho's Smoke-Grilled Chicken

Join Juancho on his backyard BBQ adventures and discover a safe, sure and easy way to barbecue with optimum results - It's relaxing, it's fun, and it's absolutely delicious!!!
Chicken… There must be at least a thousand ways to prepare a chicken...
The way described here below is our favourite. It's easy, it's juicy, it's spicy, it's crispy, it's smokey. And it's very, very tasty! Prepared in this way, even the cheapest chicken will taste excellent.

We normally use our small Weber kettle grill, set up for indirect grilling, which will accommodate two chickens in the range of 2 to 4lbs (1-2 kilos).
Here's how it works:

The Chicken:
Go buy one or two of your favourite chickens.
Wash under cold running water, removing any loose parts, dangling fat, excess skin, etc., and blot dry inside and outside using paper towels.
Put it on a clean and dry surface, or in large non-reactive bowl, and apply a dry rub, inside and outside, spreading the rub with your hands and working it into all crevices until you have a nicely and evenly covered bird.

A word of caution here: when working with raw meat, make sure all work surfaces, utensils and your hands are thoroughly clean before you start, and clean thoroughly immediately after you

The Dry Rub:
For the dry rub we prefer what we call Juanita's BBQ Rub USA #1 . We have been using this rub on grilled chicken once or twice a month for two years now and it is an absolute winner. My wife Juanita developed this rub using a recipe from one of Steven Raichlen's wonderful barbecue cookbooks as a starting point.

  • 4 Tablespoons Brown Sugar (firmly packed)
  • 4 Tablespoons Sweet Paprika Powder
  • 4 Tablespoons Seasalt (no iodine)
  • 3 Tablespoons Coarsly Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • 2 Teaspoons Garlic Powder
  • 2 Teaspoons Onion Powder

Put all ingredients in a non-reactive bowl and mix thoroughly. Break any lumps of brown sugar using the back of a spoon.
Use about 1½ to 2 tablespoons of rub for every two pounds (±1 kilo) of meat. The above will yield about 1 cup of dry rub. Put the remaining rub, if any, in an airtight jar or zip-lock bag. Stored in a cool and dark place it will keep for months.

The Barbecue:
Set up your barbecue for indirect grilling. To roast 1 or 2 chickens we normally use a full Weber chimney of charcoal briquettes, a bit more in winter. Pour about 2 pints (±1 liter) of water into the dripping pan, wine or beer are optional.
Once the charcoal is going well and showing a grey crust, put a few chuncks of wood on top of the hot coals. To increase the smoking effect you should soak this wood in water for at least a couple of hours, prefereably days. Apple, cherry or oak wood will do well, stay away from woods from coniferous trees such as pine or cedar.
With your barbecue all set and smoking, stick the chicken on the grill above the dripping pan. Close the lid, open the vent valves on top and bottom.

Time to Relax:
With that chicken sitting in your black backyard coal-fired microwave, take it easy. Get yourself a drink, sit down, watch that whisp of smoke curl up and follow a path to the neighbours. Aaah, enjoy that lovely smell. There's nothing that can make you feel more down to earth and relaxed.
Try to resist peeking under the lid. Every time you open your barbecue you will loose heat, and the cooking process will take longer. On the other hand, if you have time anyway, what the heck…
After about forty five minutes or one hour of smoking, you should check under the lid to see if the chicken skin is not turning too dark. Once you like the color of the skin, cover the chicken loosely with aluminium foil and return the lid.

Dinner Time:
After about an hour and a half of smoking without opening the lid too often, the chicken should be well done. To check whether the chicken is really done, I simply cut off a leg to see if the inside meat has the proper texture and prefereably comes off the bone easily. You could also check this by inserting an instant read thermometer in the thickest parts which should read about 180 degrees F (just over 80 degrees C).

Favourite Combinations:
This hot smoked chicken combines very well with smoked potatoes (see pictures) and coleslaw.

Favourite Drinks:
Cold mineral water with fresh lemon slices, cold beer, cold dry white wine.

More to come...

Thanks for reading, leave a comment.


Post a Comment

<< Home