Sunday, November 22, 2009

Smoky Chook

My favourite smell is chicken fat burning on charcoal. The slightly sweet smoke is an aroma that always makes me breathe deeply and salivate.

There's a kinda-sorta restaurant supply store in Tacoma, not too far from where I work. A co-worker and I drove over there at lunch last week and poked around. It was actually pretty cool: this is the first place I've seen in the NW with meat that's right for BBQ. They have pig shoulders, Boston butts, and St. Louis cut ribs.

I was drooling.

Perhaps best of all, I found 40-pound bags of mesquite lump charcoal for $15. That's an incredible buy: I've paid as much as $1/lb for good lump charcoal. This is definitely the best price I've ever seen.

I'm no great fan of mesquite smoke: I don't dislike it, but I don't see why people rave over it either. But I have to say I really like cooking on it. It holds a steady temperature, burns long, and burns clean. I still like Wicked Good Charcoal the best, but lump mesquite has become quite a favourite here.

I realized Friday that we had a couple chooks in the freezer, and I thought "What a great opportunity to try out my new charcoal!" So out they came.

I thawed them out, put them in a pan, and sprinkled them generously with salt, black pepper, and garlic powder.
From Smoky Chook

I chopped up and onion and stuffed it into their little bottoms
From Smoky Chook

Then they went onto the grill
From Smoky Chook

You've heard me say it before: 90% of barbecuing is keeping a steady temperature. you want it to stay at or around 200F. The weather was windy and damp yesterday, and temperature was a slight challenge. But I gotta say, the mesquite really keeps a steady burn. Once I got it into the groove, it held a very steady temp for most of the six hours they were on the grill.

In this shot, the grill had just been open, so the thermometer's showing a little low. It caught back up quickly.
From Smoky Chook

We brought them in after dark. The one on the right was a little torn up, as I managed to tear the skin when flipping them (I cooked them partly on their backs, partly on their breasts).

From Smoky Chook

All in all, I'd call it a success.


Gwen said...

Yum, yum, yum. Off topic here, but yesterday I roasted a chicken along with the standard yellow potatoes, onion and carrots. But this time, I nestled a head of garlic among the potatoes (top sliced off) and drizzled the whole thing w/olive oil and a whole load of salt. The roasted garlic made the chicken SO good. We must do that while you're here.

Ames said...

Aha! Gwen, I know where you got that recipe.

Gwen said...

No, what? There's a recipe like this? Do share it!

Actually, when I got back from Mexico, I discovered that Mr Man had purchased an entire ROPE of garlic. I have to use it up somehow...

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