May 12, 2003

Tangerine-Oregano Chicken

I came home early today to work on some code that required uninterupted time. While I was working I let a chicken brine (and then smoke) for dinner.

Brinning is the current technique-du-jour for the home chef, and while I've never thought that it elevated meats from normal to amazing (perhaps I've just been careful how I cooked meats always) I will admit that it helps. And it also gives you a margin of error with the cooking. And, for smoked meats that margin is handy. So, on to the chicken...

- 2 qts water
- 1/2 cup kosher salt
- juice of 8 tangerines (can you tell I have a tree that's making too many?)
- 6 stalks of fresh oregano (can you tell I just trimmed the herb garden?)
- 2 shots hot sauce
Spatchcock (I'm sure I'll explain that later, or google for it if you must) and brine one chicken for about 1.5-2 hours.

Prepare a BBQ with coals to the side. Add wood chunks of your choice (hickory in my case) and offset-roast (with the dark meat nearer to the fire) for a total of 1 hour 15 minutes or until done. Add wood and/or charcoal as required during this time (I did this twice, with 3-4 more chunks of wood per addition).

Serve with couscous and pine nuts.

Oh heck. I'm trying to be coy. Who am I kidding? It was freakin' amazing. The skin was a dark brown from the smoke. The meat was tender but moist, yet the skin was also crispy. There were red smoke rings in the meat, but you could taste the tagnerines and spices and oh-crap it was good!

Can you tell? It is spring in California and a young man's (yeah, right!) thoughts turn to BBQ! I'm thinkin' of havin' Carol and the kids over later this week for another run of the Recipe for 5-ways to Heck Baby Back Ribs that I'm working on. There is just about nothing I like better than to sit quietly and watch the smoke rise from the kettle and/or smoker -- knowing that in just a while I (and my honored guests) will be feasting on things most of the country can only dream about (and yeah, if you live in the BBQ-belt and get God Fearing Brisket from out-back of the local 7-11 you can just shut yo mouth :-) ).

The kids are quite the BBQ experts now, pointing out the smoke rings in the product and noting "that's not barbeque, that's grilling" at kid-inappropriate times. Heah. I've infected another generation.

Posted by dowdy at May 12, 2003 06:22 PM