Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Delmarva Yardbird

This past weekend I smoked a chicken. Not just any chicken, mind you, but the mighty Perdue Oven Stuffer Roaster. I also tried out my Competition Blend Charcoal that arrived from Wicked Good Charcoal. I topped off my normal brand so I could make some comparative observations as it burned. This stuff is made from non-rainforest South American hardwood. It's hard to start, burns very hot, and has a mild, sweet smell to it. If you order enough of it, the price after shipping is about $1 per pound. That's not much more expensive than good lump charcoal in Salisbury, which is sometimes hard to find. I was very pleased, and look forward to trying this stuff on a much longer smoke like beef brisket, probably my next trial.

The 8.5 pound bird took about 9 hours to cook at 240 degrees. It was the tastiest, juiciest chicken that I have ever made. Here is the recipe:

The Rub:
2T Fresh Thyme
4T Fresh Rosemary
4T Fresh Sage
(Hint: Look for fresh Poultry Seasoning in the produce section)
1T Lemon Juice
1/4C Olive Oil

First, clean your chicken. Open the plastic bag, pull out the guts, rinse it out, pat it dry, and trim it of excess fat.

Chop up the herbs. Combine in a bowl with remaining ingredients. Rub all over chicken, and get under the skin where you can. I put the left over stems in the cavity of the chicken. Does it make a difference? I don't know.

Next, give the chicken a good coating of these dry ingredients: Salt, Pepper, and Old Bay (It's Delmarva, what did you expect?). Let the chicken marinate for at least an hour.

I cooked this using the indirect method. The bird sat on a wire rack above one of those disposable aluminum casserole pans. I added some beer and water in the drip pan for maximum flavor/juiciness. The BGE manual says that it isn't necessary, but I'm not sure if it would be any better without it. Given the mess it made, I can't figure out why anybody would use one of those non-disposable drip trays.

Before you place it on the grill, throw in a handful of mesquite chips. Not too much, though. You can overdo this wood and make your food taste bitter. I used three handfulls, and it was all gone 9 hours later. Your mileage may vary.

If you try this recipe, let me know how it turned out.

Bon Appetit!

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