It was a beautiful Sunday, and that pretty much means burning some meat with charcoal. Today we tried something new, Grilled Herbed Chicken, with mopping sauce. The kitchen help, and my better half, got the recipe from some Food Network show, that’s where the mopping sauce idea came from. Those guys always have to throw something weird into the mix. Could have been where Lutherans learned to put vegetables into jello salad. Like I said, weird.
The guys on TV used an Uruguayan grill that looked really slick, but we toughed it out on our venerable Weber. 2 chickens were a bit much for our old grill, but we’ve done it before, so no big deal. When we do chicken, we always start out with brining the birds overnight. It makes the chicken moist and delicious, as opposed to the kind your Dad brought in from the grill. The professional food guys didn’t brine their chicken, or maybe they did and didn’t mention it. Figured maybe everybody does it already, so leave it out of their banter. I still find people look at me strange when we talk about brining chicken. And these are usually the kind of people that think “I” need to get out more.
Anyway, the 2 chickens got brined in whatever the Mrs whips up for brine, overnight. Sunday morning rolls around, it’s not raining and the wind is barely evident, a rare event in Kansas, and the temperature and humidity were going to be civilized. When I stepped outside to greet the day, I distinctly heard my Weber smiling.
About 10am I inquire with the Kitchen as to when I need to put my game face on. Since we originally were going to have my Son and family come to eat, normally that means some sort of contortions in getting the Kitchen gussied up and so forth. However, the Grandson came up some malady, so they had to cancel. That means I could chill for at least an hour. Or better yet, go out to the shop and whip up a carpenter bee trap or 2.
We have been having a real problem with those dang things. They bore into unpainted wood and even treated wood. Leave 1/2 to 5/8 inch holes all over the place. My tractor shed has dozens of them flying around. Given enough time, they can cause some serious damage. I was trying to find a means of dealing with them, in a serious, adult type fashion, and most of what I could find online was dozens of Kumbaya types telling me to not kill them, or better yet, catch and release or some such malarkey. I suppose If I delved deep enough into this morass of misplaced magic thinking, I would be instructed to make sure I provided proper bathroom facilities for the bees who identify some sort of mental illness where they can dress wrong and, well, enough said. I found an alternate source of information, one more in keeping with killing the little bastards. 45 minutes later, 2 bee traps.
I get informed, when I come back to the house, that the grill can be started. The first procedure in grilling is opening a beer. Don’t ask me how it works, it just does. I filled my charcoal chimney plum full and got it going. Normally, one full chimney will do the job; I had a sneaking suspicion that I was going to need more later, but I put that thought aside for now. The Mrs was making up the mopping sauce and by 11:30am we were ready to get things going. One full chimney will give you an even layer of coals on the bottom grate of the grill. 2 chickens pretty much filled the entire top grate. I give chicken a count down of anywhere from 6 minutes to 12 minutes before I flip them. It depends on the level of heat and the willingness of the chicken to play ball and lift off the grill without sticking. This time it turned out to be 6 minutes. I am thinking there is not enough heat for 2 chickens, but will wait until the first complete revolution of flipping is done, before pulling the pin on starting another chimney of charcoal.
First complete flip and yup, time to start another batch of coals. I think all that chicken is blocking the air flow and the charcoal is starving for air even with all the vents open. It happens from time to time. I figured this was getting serious, so I opened another beer, just to be safe.
Another exciting feature to this style of grilling is using foil covered bricks. You put them on the meat to press it down and make it feel claustrophobic and give up sooner. It works well when you have a lot of heat. This time, they just slid around, like they couldn’t be bothered to stay in one place. I think maybe the bees had been talking to them. Mutiny on the prairie, it’s what’s for lunch, apparently.
I add the new coals, the Mrs mops the birds and then checks the temperature. 140 degrees and about an hour into the grilling project. Normally, I would be using a tooth pick by now. The Kitchen help is starting to give me the look, like maybe I might have fallen down on the job. Another bee influence, clearly. I am about ready to get my propane blow torch warmed up, when suddenly, it’s done. Not a moment too soon.
Homemade coleslaw and grilled herbed chicken with TV inspired mopping sauce. It was good, really good. Not sure if all the hoopla and special effort made it taste any better than our normal stuff. Looks like we will be having chicken for every meal, including breakfast, for the next week. It will be a welcome change from oatmeal.