He's back! Roger, our Fall River BBQ dad, strikes again with another great recipe for the grill. Just in time for the weekend!
As much as I would like to, you can’t eat beef and pork all the time. This month’s BBQ post is all about chicken, and awesome chicken. There is a technique to cooking poultry that elevates it from just an everyday piece of white meat to something spectacular.
Years ago before refrigeration, people would pickle and brine meats to make them last through the long winters. Nowadays people brine to add flavors and enhance the juiciness of meats. A few years ago I started brining poultry, and by poultry I mean either turkey or chicken. Much to the dismay of my wife, I started my first brine on the Christmas Turkey. In order to convince her that this would not ruin Christmas, I had to cook 2, one of them brined, and one the “regular” way. Needless to say the brined turkey was a hit, and it was the first one completely devoured by our 10 guests. From that point on we have been brining every chance we get.
You can do this on either a propane or charcoal grill, you need to set the grill up for indirect heat on the birds.
The first thing you need is a good container to hold the brine and the birds. I use a cooler in the winter months to do this because you can set it outside and it keeps cool without freezing (depends on the temperature of course). For this recipe I used a large cooking pot, and put it in the refrigerator once the chicken is in the brine, as it is important to keep the food cool during the brining process.
4 litres of cold water
2 cups of kosher salt – do not use table salt
½ cup of sugar
1 crushed and chopped head of garlic
1 squeeze of lemon
2 tbsp rosemary
2 tbsp thyme
2 tbsp black pepper
One good test to know if you have enough salt in the brine is that an uncracked egg will float when it reaches the right amount.
Once you have the brine put together, add the whole chickens, cover and refrigerate. Leave in the brine for 4-6 hours, no longer than 8.
After the birds have soaked in the brine for 4-6 hours, take them out, pat them dry and position them on your rotisserie. If you don’t have a rotisserie that’s ok, just ensure when you put them on the grill that they are not over the direct heat of the coals or the burners.
One thing you do need to do is make sure you have positioned a drip pan underneath the chickens to catch the drippings, otherwise you will make a lovely grease fire on your grill that will coat the chickens in a filmy oily black coating – definitely need to avoid that.
Set the grill up for indirect grilling, and get the heat up to about 400 F. At 400 F the birds will develop a nice golden crispy outer skin. The chicken will cook for about an hour and 15 minutes, give or take 15 depending on the heat of your particular grill. You should have a good meat thermometer for cooking poultry; you don’t want to under or over cook them, undercooked is gross and will ruin your reputation, and overcooked is dry and will do the same. The chickens are done when the internal breast temperature is at 165F exactly.
Take the chickens off and let them sit for 15 min before cutting into portions. Serve with some fresh local grilled veggies and potato salad. Enjoy. And remember you don’t make friends with salad.
Roger is a professional technology geek, a father of 3, husband of 1 and an avid live fire cooking enthusiast who spends his free time in Fall River cooking outside. You can email roger at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @ragaa