Thursday, August 11, 2011

Another Blissful Summer Weekend

My adventures in eating this week?

An AM farmer’s market breakfast,

a neighbor’s BBQ (Best Ribs Ever)

and my place for cupcakes.

I can so get into this summer state of mind…flip flops and Fridays off.

It’s easy to forget life in the fast lane when you realize that there is more to life than working.

What’s your summer excuse? You have one…don’t you? Any excuse accepted. After all, it’s summer and it’s so darn hot I just feel like kicking back and being spoon-fed.

Bon Appetit!

I love amazing barbecue: slow-cooked, moist and full of powerful flavors.

Every Sunday there is a BBQ in my neighborhood and everyone I know is set to out- cook one another…and often do. One significant thing…there are never any leftovers. Not a one. Speaks favorably for the highly-competitive Pit Master’s in my block.

My only day home this week, I found myself charcoal grilling all day. 

To tell you the truth, I never really learned to BBQ so this was a real experiment.

I do know that I like charcoal better than gas but today I discovered that the addition of wood chips creates a magic all its own.

A good recipe really helps like the Alabama chicken below.

One thing I am certain of: Someone will out cook me next week. Until then, the bragging rights to the art of the BBQ this week are all mine.

Alabama BBQ Chicken
For this Alabama barbecued chicken recipe, I abandoned the tomato-based BBQ sauce for a mayonnaise sauce with horseradish.It is perhaps the best chicken I have ever made.

Just to make sure that I wasn’t imagining things, I had the leftovers tonight. Yes, it is the best and one of the easiest chicken recipes I’ve ever cooked.

I started the BBQ and was 15 minutes into cooking it when a major thunderstorm came rumbling through. Thank goodness Dave, my conductor on the AM train who gave me this recipe, told me to close the vents. It saved the chicken.

What I really loved about the essence of this chicken was the cayenne rubbed into the chicken before cooking (gives it a little kick) and the horseradish in the BBQ sauce. It definitely created so many great flavors that left me planning when I was going to fix the recipe again.

This recipe speeds up the smoking process by halfing the chicken and placing the charcoals and hickory chips to the side so you are cooking it on indirect heat.

White BBQ Sauce
3/4 cup Mayonnaise
2 tablespoons cider vinegar 
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon prepared horseradish
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon salt 
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 whole chickens (3 1/2- to 4-pound), patted dry and split
2 cups hickory wood chips
Vegetable oil for grill grate

For the sauce: Mix all ingredients until smooth, about 1 minute. Refrigerate sauce in airtight container for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.

For the chicken: Mix salt, black pepper, and cayenne in small bowl. Rub spice mixture all over chicken.

Soak wood chips in bowl of water to cover for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, open bottom grill vents completely. Light large chimney starter filled with charcoal briquettes (about 90 coals) and burn until charcoal is covered with fine gray ash. Place 13 by 9-inch disposable aluminum roasting pan in center of grill. Pour half of coals into pile on each side of grill, leaving pan in center. Scatter wood chips evenly over coals and set cooking grate in place. Cover, with lid vents positioned over center of grill and opened halfway. Let grill heat for 5 minutes.

Dip wad of paper towels in oil and oil grate, holding paper towels with long-handled tongs. Place chicken skin side down on center of grill. Cover (with half-opened lid vents over chicken).

Grill chickens until skin is well browned, 35 to 45 minutes. Flip chickens skin side up and grill, covered, until breast meat registers 165 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 15 to 20 minutes longer. Amazing but the timing on this chicken is near perfect.
Transfer chickens to cutting board, brush with 2 tablespoons sauce, tent with foil, and let rest 10 minutes.

Remove foil and brush chicken with 1 tablespoon sauce. Serve