My Weber kettle finally died. It has sat outside under the eaves of my house most of the time - seeing as I lack a garage or shed in which to house items such as a grill. I think that makes it's 10 year lifespan all the more impressive. Of course, a grill like that just couldn't go gentle into that good night - no, it went out with drama befitting our household.
I wanted to try butterflied grilled chicken. I love grilled chicken, but it has always been problematic - cooked over direct heat as suggested in most recipes leaves you with chicken jerkee. Yuk. So after seeing America's Test Kitchen and reading Mark Bittman's recipe for simple grilled chicken, I decided that yes! I could cook on my kettle using indirect heat! I also decided it should be smoked. Cuz having smoked cold chicken in the fridge is like having money in the bank. yummmmmmmmmm chicken sandwiches..... yummmmmmmmmmmm arugala salad topped with radishes, green onions and smoked chicken.
So I go to the store and buy me some hickory wood chips and charcoal, and a nice plump "natural" chicken (I would hate to have an unnatural chicken - would it have tenticles or something?).
I also stopped by the garden and picked up some radishes and arugala. (Yes - I did finally get my garden in, but it is not as ambitious as in past years. More on that later - this is the grill's story.)
I fired up the coals in the chimney, prepped the chicken, started the rice pilaf - everything's going good....
I stepped out, lifted the chimney, started pouring the glowing coals into the grill and the leg farthest away from me gave way and tilted the grill up against the brick wall of the house... I jumped about 10 feet away. I didn't think I could do that - being old and fat like I am - but hot coals have always been excellent motivators.
So - the conundrum - do I tip the hot coals out? Do I try to prop the leg back up? A holler to the kinfolk brought them out of the house and it was decided by committee that we would try to get the leg back under the grill and then be really really careful. Behold the power of grilled chicken. It makes idiots out of the best of us.
So using lots of oven mitts and more than a little caution, we got the leg propped back up where it belonged. Ms. Chicken went onto the grill - and we just held our breath. It worked. Yeah! The whole technique worked great. The smoke gave the skin a dark mahogany color, the chicken was just ever so slightly kissed by the hickory - and it was really moist. All over. I wished I could say I took a photo of it, but it didn't last that long. The wings didn't even make it off the grill - Tony went out and "liberated" them to see if they were "finished".
I finished off the meal with "fried corn". I had a couple ears of corn left from earlier in the week, plus two pablano peppers. I roasted the peppers over the hot side grill while the chicken cooked. The corn - well I was going to grill it, but all things considered I thought better of that. So I cut the kernels off the cob, fried a little bit of onion in some oil, raised the heat to high, added the corn stirring quickly to develop a brown crust. I pulled it off the heat, added the now diced roasted pablano peppers and a little bit of cumin butter, salt and pepper. (Yeah I cheated with the cumin butter - I melted a little butter in the still hot pan and stirred some ground cumin into it. The heat took the raw edge off the spice.)
Even as I am mourning my loss, I am excited because I get to BUY A NEW GRILL!!!! Wheeeeeee!!!!! I like plain charcoal grills - never really been into gas. The less complicated a tool is the less likely to have problems with it. I ended up buying a 22.5 one touch silver Weber Kettle - the big brother of my previous grill. The best thing about the larger cooking surface? Now I can cook TWO chickens at once. Which we did.
Yummmmmmmmmmm........chicken.......A side note for those of you who are in the search for cheap kitchenware - Linen and Things up at Polaris is going out of business and right now all their kitchen stuff is 20%.