I have gotten tired of chicken over the years. Uninspired baked chicken. Uninteresting chicken breasts prepared in a "oh, well, we might as well have chicken" kind of way. Boring chicken.
However, the barbecue has given chicken a new excitement. I already did chicken in a previous post, so I will simply relate what I did different this time.
I was looking at my Barbecue! Bible and saw a way of preparing the chicken. In essence it was a matter of cutting out the backbone and the breastbone to be able to lay out the chicken flat on the grill. The technique was a bit more fancy than what I did. I just cut as much away as I could on either side of each bone using kitchen shears, and then finished the cuts with my cleaver.
The halves flattened out quite nicely. No real loss of meat, and the cut-off could be used for stock.
I used my olive oil to prep the birds. I rubbed them down with Zesty Seasoned Salt (from the Dollar Tree), pepper and salt mixed in equal portions.
The charcoal I started in the chimney using my alcohol igniter. Got a good bed going. Laid out the birds (nice and flat.) Inserted the thermometer and sat back to read The Barbecue! Bible.
I paid closer attention to my fire over the course of the next two and a half hours. I have been loosing heat toward the end of my cooking time, and wanted to see what I was doing wrong. Early on I add briquettes as I tend the fire, adding soaked wood chips when I do so. However, I noticed that I was misjudging the state of the fire toward the end of the cooking time.
The coals had a good ash, and were glowing red deep inside the pile. The box seemed hot, so I didn't add any fuel toward the end. My temperature (inside the meat) was running steady at 160 degrees, when my target was 165 degrees. I finally added some more fuel and eventually got to target temperature.
What I figure I am doing wrong is allowing the charcoal to burn away enough fuel that it just does not have enough energy to pump out that last bit of heat. The ash was growing heavy, and even though the fire box seemed hot, it was not hot enough.
So, I plan to add fuel with every check, about every thirty minutes or so. Make sure that fresh fuel is entering the cycle, to keep that heat on. Even toward the end of the cooking run, when it seems like a waste of fuel.
I finally reached temperature after about two hours and twenty minutes of cooking. My last chicken run was not quite as tender as I wanted it to be, so I closed down the vents and most of the chimney vent to hold in the heat and slow the burning of the fuel. It just seemed like a good idea.
Moist, tender, and full of flavor! We had the chicken with Bush's baked beans, and it was delicious! I see Bush has some new beans to offer to complement the grilling experience. I have to give that a try.
Beer of the day; A&W Root Beer!