Charcoal Barbecue Chicken

CharcoalBarbecueChicken

Spring catapulted me into summer fairly quickly. Frankly, way too fast since winning the Edible Communities, Reader's Choice, Eddy's Award for Best Healthful Recipe for my Gluten Intelligence article for Edible East End. Time seems to spiral out of control, when in fact, it is me playing a game of twister to just catch-up.

I tend to take on more than I can chew, what can I say? There has been plenty of: nibbling, spiralizing, sipping homemade concoctions, rooftop and herb garden tending, spending time with family, and mingling with friends who know a thing or two about barbecuing over a coal fired grill.

chives

For a Summer Solstice Potluck I purchased a Char-Griller Super Pro to kick-off warm weather grilling, just in time for the 4th of July. I was so excited about my new toy that I put the grill together myself —in the middle of a 90° sunny day— with a little bit of coaching from my husband Chris along the way. He gave me a "B" for trying my best; skimming over the user manual is not recommended for first-timers like me who learned the hard way what a cotter pin, hex nut and ratchet is used for. Besides a few flubs and bumps the grill was intact and ready-to-grill. 

Charcoal grilling is an art. I observed, tasted and was taught by my friend Steve Schwab who is an avid grill master. His wife Andra who is my childhood friend, stated how he "mans" the grill at home. I thought this was a perfect opportunity to learn the proper way of barbecuing. 

I think the technique of grilling is 75% the key to a phenomenal juicy and flavorful meat; a good marinade, carefully sourced meat and select natural wood chips, drives it home. This may sound trite, or like I'm overly sensationalizing, but I had an "aha" moment of mind and tastebuds saying, "whatever was made, do it again".

This is the best BBQ I have ever had.  

Are you grilling your chicken to a black pulp? If so, stop! Embrace a slow cooked indirect flame that will keep you barbecuing all year round.

Charcoal Barbecue Chicken

Ingredients

Note: You can freeze the back bones and necks for chicken stock. 

Marinade

  • 1/2 cup agave
  • 3/4 cup of olive oil
  • 4 limes; squeezed
  • 4 sprigs of thyme
  • 1/4 cup; cilantro chopped
  • 1 teaspoon; dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon; worcestershire
  • 1 teaspoon; ground ginger
  • 1/4 cup; chopped chives
  • 2 tablespoons of sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon; spanish paprika
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper

    Note: Here is a nifty herb and food pairing guide by Personal Creations

    For the Grill
  • 8 pounds of charcoal
  • 3 cups of apple wood

    Note: apple wood imparts a mild fruity flavor that is not overly strong
     
  • Bucket of water
  • Crumpled balls of paper
  • Kindling twigs
  • Matches

Directions

  1. Cut up the whole chicken in parts and place in a shallow dish.
  2. Place all marinade ingredients into a blender or food processor and purée until smooth.
  3. Pour over chicken and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour. The lime will begin to tenderize the chicken.
  4. Place crumpled balls of paper on bottom of the grill rack. Then place the kindling twigs on top.
  5. Arrange the charcoal around the edges of the kindling and paper. Light the paper and kindling to allow the edges of the charcoal to burn.
  6. Meanwhile, soak the wood chips in a bucket of water for 30 minutes. By that time the charcoal should be a grey ash color.

    Note: optimal temperature for grilling is 275° - 300°. My grill has a temperature gauge.
     
  7. Push all charcoal to one end of the grill and leave space where charcoal is to work the flame.
  8. Then place the chicken on oiled/sprayed flavor bars on the opposite side and skin side up; breast meat should be the furthest from the flame towards the back.
  9.  After 30 minutes, place 2 handfuls of wood chips. (do this every 20 minutes).  
  10. Close the lid and be sure to check frequently. Do not turn the meat and cook until golden brown.
  11. Chicken can take 1 - 1.5 hours to cook; if you have a temperature gauge it should reach 165°.

Gluten Intelligence has risen to the top as a finalist for the 2015 Eddy Awards

FINALIST FOR THE 2015 EDDY AWARDS IN THE HEALTHFUL RECIPE CATEGORY

My gluten intelligence has been on the rise since the Low Summer 2014 issue of Edible East End. I have been nominated as a finalist for the 2015 Eddy Awards in the healthful recipe category. As a proud contributor to Edible East End's What's in Season Column, I have written: Spring Whole Milk RicottaGluten Intelligence (finalist for the 2015 Eddy Awards), Crabbing at Midnight, The Second Harvest and Long Island LatkesThe EDDYs recognize editorial excellence among 80 or so publishers of Edible Communities covering the local food landscape nationwide. A superstar panel of 57 judges; chefs, authors, editors, bloggers, farmers, gardeners, activists and other esteemed professionals in the food world, selected finalists, and now it's up to you to pick Reader's Choice winners. 

WHAT THE JUDGES SAY

Laura takes us right into her kitchen during her quest to find the perfect marriage of food science and delectable dessert. The beautiful photographs almost make her trials seem effortless. In the end, she triumphed in her journey to make a visually appealing and equally delicious dessert. You'll hardly remember she had to leave anything out!

— Lindsay Malone

You be the judge! Vote for me and for each category daily through March 15th.

 

Valentine's Day Chocolate Pudding with Raspberry Whipped Cream

I love chocolate pudding. As a child, I enjoyed eating the creamy stuff with a tiny spoon that would otherwise be used for stirring espresso. Now, overcome by nostalgia, I tend to do the same, savoring each swirl and slurp. But when my bowl is empty, I go back for more. This past year, I have made a few versions of this creamy dessert. For Cinco de Mayo a spicy semi sweet chocolate made with cayenne and cinnamon and topped with a vanilla whipped cream, a mild version with a layer of butternut squash pudding for a Latkefest potluck, and for Valentine's Day, a bittersweet chocolate pudding layered with a raspberry whipped cream.

Raspberries and chocolate are a perfect combination. This dessert is splendid for that special someone or for a larger crowd. Either way, this sweet treat will knock your valentines boxers off and have your family and friends begging for more. 

Bittersweet Chocolate Pudding

Ingredients

  • 8 large egg yolks
  • 6 tablespoons of tapioca starch
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cup heavy cream
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla
  • 24 ounces of semi bittersweet chocolate

Directions

  1. Place egg yolks and tapioca flour in a bowl and whisk until creamy.
  2. Combine the sugar, cream, milk, salt, and vanilla in a saucepan set over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, then remove it from the heat.
  3. Add the egg mixture slowly into the milk mixture and whisk. You are tempering the eggs from scrambling.  
  4. Once mixture thickens add the bittersweet chocolate and whisk until incorporated.

Set-aside pudding in refrigerator to cool for assembly. 

Raspberry Whipped Cream

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of raspberries
  • 3 cups of heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Direction

  1. Place 1 cup of raspberries in the bowl of a food processor; process until smooth. Press raspberries through a strainer and discard seeds.
  2. Add the heavy cream, raspberry puree, powdered sugar and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk together until soft peaks form.
  3. Gently fold in to the whipped cream the remainder of the raspberries

 

Assembly

ValentinesDayDessert2_lluciano.jpg

Once the chocolate pudding is cooled, whisk again to loosen up the mixture. Place one layer of chocolate pudding in a large trifle bowl. Then top with the raspberry whipped cream. Repeat both steps again. Top with fresh raspberries, chopped chocolate or nuts. Refrigerate for a few hours before serving.

Serves 12

Note: You can half the recipe for a smaller crowd or for individual servings in parfait glasses.