Thursday, May 31, 2012

Ready for the weekend

 I’m pretty sure everyone has grilled chicken at some point or another, and most people like it just fine. But something I’ve never done, is left the chicken whole.

I normally buy whole chickens. For the little extra work that cutting the bird up takes, the price difference is usually well worth it. Plus I get a kick out of cutting up the chicken. Kinda reminds me of my childhood.

Of course, cutting up a chicken is much more enjoyable than butchering the darn things! Whew! Scald your first chicken and you’ll know why they call them FOUL!

On a whim I decided to leave the bird whole. I thoroughly washed it, then rubbed it down with a light coat of BBQ sauce and then sprinkled on some french onion soup mix.

This whole thing sat for about an hour while I dickered around getting the grill lit and screwing around watering the flowers.

I chose to break out the charcoal grill in lieu of the propane grill.

We cook on the propane grill nearly every night during this time of year. If it’s not too windy... it’s just a better option for us.

Obviously grilled foods tend to be a bit healthier for us, and grilled vegetables are one of my favorite things in the world. Even some fruits go really well on the grill. Ever grilled a pineapple?

Grilled Pineapple! A Kahuna Favorite!
It’s pretty easy. Cut the skin off, roll it in brown sugar and cook till golden brown and yummy!
You just can’t do that in a frying pan!

We also benefit from NOT making fire in the house. Anything we can do during the summer to help keep the house cool is well worth the effort to me!

Living in the country presents some challenges, and this is no exception.

Sure, everyone has to deal with the wind. But at our house it gets a running start! In-fact, I think the wind that hits the north side of my house has been building speed and power since Nebraska. And any good CU fan knows what we think of Nebraska!

Solution: Put the grill inside the stock trailer!

So, we pretty much live on grilled zucchini, squash, onions, burgers, brats, hotdogs, pork chops, and the occasional steak or chicken breast during the summer.

The grill is fast and easy. With nothing but tongs or a spatula to clean, it even helps cut down the dishes that we have in the sink. You just can’t beat it!

Well... Yes! Yes, you can!

Enter the charcoal grill!

Our charcoal grill isn’t nearly as fancy as I’d like it to be. It’s got no gadgets, no auto light, no grilling light. The thing has wheels, but since neither one of them turn, I’m not sure why. One of the wooden slats on the tray in front of it is loose and it’s not big enough to cook for guests. The fire box on the side does a terrible job of smoking food, as it just doesn’t get hot enough to finish the job, and quite honestly, the thing is about as ugly as a Chinese Crested Hairless dog!

But it’s my favorite way to cook food in the whole world!

After five years of fighting with it, I can now control the heat well enough that I don’t burn my veggies, I get the kids steaks fairly well done and mine fairly well raw.

I’ve learned that when I want to smoke with the thing, I use wood chips in the side box for a few hours, but when it’s time to finish things up... that’s right friends and neighbors, I do it on the charcoal!

The flavor that comes from cooking on charcoal is unmatched with any gas fired grill anywhere in the world. Sure, the propane is fast and easy, but for my tastes, you just can’t beat this primitive method of cooking!

So on the grill, just above the bed of perfectly prepared coals went my whole chicken, basted in sauce and rubbed with onion mix.

The smell.... Absolutely amazing.

I wasn’t even remotely sure how this would turn out, mostly because I’ve never cooked a whole bird anywhere but the oven.

I suppose I spent more time fussing over it than I will next time, but somewhere between one-and-a-half to two hours later the breast temp was a nice 171 degrees and we were ready to eat!

That poor chicken was like the ball in a pinball machine as I kept flipping, rolling, rotating and moving it back and forth between the “hot” and the “Cool” sides of the grill.

Sadly, the wings were nearly burnt clean off by the time the breasts were done, but the leg quarters were so juicy and succulent that I’m actually drooling a little just writing about it.

The crust that the sauce and onion mix created out of the skin was flaky and crisp, but just beneath laid white meat so tasty that I had to ask myself why I’ve ever wasted any time screwing around cutting up a chicken!

Hope you get to do a bunch of grilling this summer... Know that I'm right there with you!


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