My brain is still feeling a little sun-fried this Monday morning. A complete opposite from what those on the east coast are dealing with, we here in San Diego had a hot and sunny summery weekend. My sister in law got hours and hours of kid-free, uninterrupted, reading and sun time, which I’m sure she hasn’t had in a while. It was great having her here.
I took my first crack at meat smoking on Friday night with this easy-sounding Cooking Light recipe. I learned quite a bit about smoking with this endeavor. The hardest part was not knowing exactly how long it would take to bring the meat up to temperature. I thought the whole chicken would take about 4 hours, so I planned my vegetable side dish prep accordingly, but when that 4 hour mark rolled around, we still had 10 degrees to go. The other valuable lesson I learned was not to bend down in front of the smoker and open the door. Instead, you should stand to the side, open the door, let the smoke clear, then look inside. I inhaled a giant cloud of smoke the first time around, and my chest hurt for hours afterwards.
Bourbon Smoked Chicken recipe from Cooking Light
- 2 quarts water
- 9 tablespoons bourbon, divided
- 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons kosher salt
- 2 quarts ice water
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
- 3 bay leaves
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 small onion, quartered
- 1 small Fuji apple, cored and quartered
- 1 lemon, quartered
- 1 (4-pound) whole chicken
- 2 cups applewood chips
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Cooking spray
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
- 1. Combine 2 quarts water, 1/2 cup bourbon, sugar, and kosher salt in a large Dutch oven, and bring to a boil, stirring until salt and sugar dissolve. Add ice water and next 7 ingredients (through lemon), and cool to room temperature. Add chicken to brine; cover and refrigerate 18 hours, turning chicken occasionally.
- 2. Soak wood chips in water for 1 hour; drain.
- 3. Remove the chicken from brine; pat chicken dry with paper towels. Strain brine through a sieve; discard brine and reserve 2 apple quarters, 2 lemon quarters, 2 onion quarters, and garlic. Discard remaining solids. Sprinkle chicken cavity with pepper; add reserved solids to chicken cavity. Lift wing tips up and over back; tuck under chicken. Tie legs.
- 4. Remove the grill rack, and set aside. Prepare the grill for indirect grilling, heating one side to high and leaving one side with no heat. Pierce the bottom of a disposable aluminum foil pan several times with the tip of a knife. Place pan on heat element on heated side of grill; add 1 cup wood chips to pan. Place another disposable aluminum foil pan (do not pierce pan) on unheated side of grill. Pour 2 cups water in pan. Let chips stand for 15 minutes or until smoking; reduce heat to medium-low. Maintain temperature at 275°.
- 5. Coat the grill rack with cooking spray; place on grill. Place chicken, breast side up, on grill rack over foil pan on unheated side. Combine the remaining 1 tablespoon bourbon and butter; baste chicken with the bourbon mixture. Close lid, and cook for 2 hours at 275° or until thermometer inserted into meaty part of thigh registers 165°. Add remaining 1 cup wood chips halfway through cooking time. Place chicken on a platter; cover with foil. Let stand for 15 minutes. Discard the skin before serving.
*****we obviously used our smoker, not the grill, but the recipe listed is grill friendly
We had some friends over for a pool party on Saturday and The Hubs smoked a pork butt, which we turned into delicious, North Carolina style, (my fave) pulled pork sandwiches.
A little update on my “cook the pantry” project, My friend Adam dove into the pool on Saturday with his cell phone in his pocket. Instead of putting it in a bowl of rice, he accidentally grabbed the barley, so that is now off my list. Not sure if barley helps wet electronics, but it certainly helped me with my project! I also found a giant bottle of apple cider vinegar which was not on the original list. We’ve started spraying it on Gracie’s chest to battle a hot spot she has forming. My friend Heather swears by this as a cure for pretty much everything so we’ll see! No cooking so far!