November 4, 2012

Herb and Brine Braised Chicken on the Grill.

I like beer and I like chicken. I like to drink beer whilst I grill chicken. When they say, "Stuff a can in it;" I say, "I will keep it in my hand, thank you for the suggestion." Now how does one grill a chicken whilst keeping his (my) hand full, of beer?

 I thought turkey, I thought butter, I thought herbs. A lot of people these days (and those days) are brining their turkeys for Turkeyday. So, I took out sugar and water in the brine and added canola oil and white wine. The oil helps conduct the heat and break down the mussel, as does the alcohol and sugar in the wine.

1 bottle of white table wine 
Canola Oil
1 3/4 sticks of butter 
3 or 4 sprigs of rosemary 
3 or 4 sprigs of thyme 
3 or 4 sprigs of sage
Kosher Salt 
Tin foil
Hardwood chips (for smoking)
1, one gallon ziplock bag.
An old 2-3" deep cooking pan that you don't care about. (10"x10") 

Cook: 2-3 hr
Prep: 10 min 
Fridge:8-12 hr.  

Cut the 3/4 of butter in to three pieces lengthwise and put two on the inside of the chicken. Now insert the herbs with one strip of butter on top. Now we brine! 

To brine the chicken, place the bird in the ziplock bag and fill it to about half way on the chicken with canola oil. Pour in the wine until it covers the chicken and put 1/2 of a cup of salt on the top of all of it. Mix it around, put it in a bowl and place it in the fridge over night. 

Take the chicken out of the fridge and place it in your pan. Pour in as much of the liquid from the bag as is comfortable to transport. Boldly sprinkle kosher salt and cracked pepper over the top.  Cover with tinfoil. 

To roast on the grill you need to take out the cooking griddle and place it aside. We will be be using the top rack exclusively. 

Usually I would grill with hardwood but down here a cubic foot of wood is $6 and it would cost about $12 for heat. In its place we can use wood chips. Get some tinfoil, about 1 foot, fold it. Place the chips in the center and fold in the sides to make a pocket.Set it aside. Get your charcoal going, about a quarter of what you are going to use.

Once the fire goes out on the charcoal, put the wood chips on the outside of the pile.  Place the pan on the top rack and close the lid on the grill. 

Every 15-20 min open the lid, remove the tinfoil and brush the drippings on the chicken. If you think that the grill is getting to hot, open the lid let some of the heat dissipate and the coal to burn off a bit. The problem is that this will heat the charcoal even more, being exposed to that oxygen and all. If you can, try to prop the lid open so all that smoke stays near the chicken and not in the air. 

After a while the drippings will boil out of the pan, use your stick of butter and rub it over the skin to keep the outside moist. After a 1 1/2 hours check the temp in the thigh, continue to do so every other time you braise bird. If you have kept the grill around 300 degrees, you should be outside for about 3 hours. 

Unless you put a rack inside your pan, the back meat and wings will be unusable. The wings are going to be really salty and the back meat may be shredded. If you use a rack the pan will be more difficult to transport from kitchen to grill safely. 

In retrospect I would have put two chickens on the grill or four Cornish game hens. (Pictures forthcoming)

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