Monday, August 11, 2008

Chicken and Beef-

We were a bit short on groceries when we got home from Texas, so my wife went shopping. Among other things she brought home two chickens and a small beef roast. She also bought a small bag of charcoal.

I got the coals started using my chimney and little alcohol pan. The charcoal was Safeway brand, and I found it strong in petroleum odor when starting. I let the coals get going well, and while they were getting started I prepared the chicken and beef.

The beef received my usual olive oil rubdown, and a coating of the spice blend I have been using most often. That is salt, zesty seasoned salt, and black pepper.

I removed the backbone and breastbone from the chickens, similar to a spatchcock but actually splitting the birds. I prepared them with oil, and then a coating of Rudy's Poultry Seasoning. A little thing I picked up in Texas.

I kept the bit of fat that sits just inside the birds and used that to oil my grill. It worked well, and I tossed them on the grate to cook with everything else. They made great doggy treats.

The beef roast I placed nearest the fire, with the fatty side closest to the port. The chicken halves I laid out on the grill, and set the thermometer probe into the breast of one of the birds furthest from the fire. I set my temperature marker for 170 degrees.

After they had been cooking about a half hour I checked the fire. It was burning down a bit, so I added a load of charcoal. I was concerned that the petroleum might taint the meat, but had experienced success in just dropping the fresh charcoal right on the fire with the Kingsford brand. I did the same this time, and noticed no off flavors. This proved to be adequate fuel for this burn.

The charcoal had some hickory in it, and I added soaked hickory chips periodically to improve the smoke. It was good smoke, though I find I am more partial to mesquite. I still need to try oak and some fruit woods. These tend to be less available and more costly, so my budget restricts the experiments at this time.

Two and a half hours later I had a nice piece of beef and two cooked chickens. Once again, quite tender and flavorful. The beef had been a bit lean, and had I some bacon it would have been good to apply some to provide a bit more fat for the cooking. Even so, it turned out quite nicely.

We served it with a green salad, some Bush's baked beans, and I had a Bodington's Pub Ale to wash it all down. A very satisfying meal.

The following day I chopped up equal portions of beef and chicken, and put them into the green salad. I topped it with a California dressing. It was very good, lacking perhaps only a sprinkling of grated cheese. Something sharp and tangy. Still, it was a very nice lunch.

While in Texas I bought some Lodge dutch oven gloves from Bass Pro Shop, to use with the barbecue. These are well suited to the task, replacing the leather work gloves I had been using. One can handle some very hot items with these gloves, and they are long enough to provide good protection to the forearm.

Bit by bit I am adding tools and techniques to my barbecue experience. I long to explore spices, herbs and sauces in greater depth. So many ways to prepare food with live fire! This is truly a barbecue adventure!

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