Spatchcocked Chicken with Gremolata

Yeah, it sounds mighty fancy, but it’s just butterflied chicken with a lemon herb marinade. Flattening the bird evens out the cooking so the white meat doesn’t dry out by the time the dark meat is done. The gremolata and the baste add a ton of flavor and keep everything juicy.

Spatchcocked Chicken with Gremolata

1 3-5 pound roasting chicken
2 tablespoons fresh flat-leafed parsley
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
2 cloves garlic
Juice of 1 lemon (about 4 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Baste

Juice of 1 lemon (about 4 tablespoons)
4 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

Prepare the gremolata by putting the salt and garlic in a food processor and pulsing until the garlic is minced. Add the remaining ingredients, except the chicken, and give them a whirl until they are well-combined.

Clean and rinse the bird, then pat it dry. Place the bird in front of you, breast side down. Spatchcock the bird by cutting up through the backbone with either a pair of kitchen shears or a sharp chef’s knife. Some recipes recommend cutting out the backbone entirely, but I think that just cutting though it once is enough.

Spread the bird open like a book and flip it over. Press down on the center of the bird until it lies pretty flat. If it won’t flatten, flip the bird back over and use a knife to nick the keel bone right between the breasts and try again.

Put the chicken in a Ziploc bag and coat with the gremolata. Squeeze the air out of the bag and seal. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, overnight is best.

Set your grill up for a direct cook over medium-high (400°F) heat. I like using a raised grid on the Big Green Egg to help even out the cooking temperatures.

Prepare the baste by melting the butter and adding the salt and lemon. I really like the Lodge Cast-Iron Melting Pot for this.

Put the chicken on the grill skin side up and close the lid. Cook for about 15 minutes, then baste. Cook for another 15 minutes, then flip and baste. Flip again so the skin side is up and baste. Continue to cook, basting every 10 minutes or so,  until the thighs hit 180°F internal – about an hour total cook time.

Remove the chicken to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes. Cut into quarters and serve.

Carnivore BBQ Sauce – Hot Chipotle Prawns

I’ve been hearing great things about Carnivore BBQ sauces on the Big Green Egg Forum for some time now, and finally decided to give them a try.

Being allergic to wheat gluten, I first sent them as email asking if their product was gluten-free. I was pleasantly surprised that instead of the usual corporate response, I got a nice email from the owner himself,  asking for more information on gluten allergies and what products might contain gluten. We exchanged a few emails, and while his sauces aren’t certified gluten-free, we couldn’t identify any ingredients that would be an issue.

I ordered up a bottle of each of their 3 sauces – Robust, Sweet, and Hot Chipotle. Of course, the day the sauces arrived I wanted to taste all 3 of them, but after my dear wife (kindly and with much love in her heart) pointed out that I already had 6 bottles of other barbecue sauce in the fridge I decided that maybe it would be best to start with the Hot Chipotle.

Initial tasting –  plenty of heat right up front. Hot, but transitory and balanced with some sweetness, so it’s not overwhelming.  Some smokiness, but it doesn’t scream CHIPOTLE, which is nice. Has a very rich base with plenty of herbs that doesn’t get lost in the heat. Wow, there’s a lot going on in there. This is a very, very nice hot barbecue sauce. I can’t wait to try out the others.

Now, what food to pair it with for grilling? We’d just picked up some nice-sized prawns, so I decided to make some skewers and use the Carnivore sauce both as part of the marinade and drizzled over the finished product.


Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds large (21/25 count) prawns or shrimp, shelled and deveined
1/2 cup Carnivore Hot Chipotle BBQ sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
Juice of 1 lime (about 2 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
6-8 bamboo skewers

Directions


Place skewers in water to soak.

Set your grill up for a direct cook over high heat (about 450°F).

Combine barbecue sauce, olive oil, lime juice, and salt in a lidded container. Add shrimp and toss to coat. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour.

Skewer the shrimp – run one skewer through the head end and then another through the tail.

Grill 2-3 minutes per side, or until shrimp turn pink. Don’t over cook.

Serve with more barbecue sauce on the side.

This recipe turned out really well. The sweetness of the shrimp paired nicely with the heat of the sauce. I plan on using the Carnivore Hot Chipotle instead of the usual hot sauce in my next batch of  buffalo wings.

Chicken & Veggies

I like this setup for a quick summer meal. The chicken juices drip onto the veggies (making them extra tasty), and the pan full of veggies protects the chicken from direct heat so it stays juicy.

Honey Mustard Chipotle Chicken
4-6 bone-in,skin-on chicken breasts
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1 chipotle chile in adobo, chopped fine
1 teaspoon lime juice

Combine the honey, mustard, salt, chile, and lime juice in a large container with a lid.  Mix well. Place the chicken in the container, seal, and turn until well-coated. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight, turning the pieces occasionally.

Mixed Veggies
1 large zuccini, sliced
1 small yellow squash, sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 medium tomato, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh ground back pepper to taste

Combine all of the ingredients in a disposable foil pan. Mix well.

The Cook

Set up your grill  for a direct cook over medium (350°F) heat.

Set the pan full of veggies on the grill. Place a small wire rack or grill grate on top of the pan. Lay the chicken breasts skin side up on the grate above the veggies.

Close the lid and cook for 30 minutes. Lift the grate with the chicken on it off the of the pan and give the veggies a stir. Add more oil if they are starting to stick. Put the grate back on the pan and flip the chicken. Close the lid and cook until the breasts reach 160F internal (about another 30 minutes).

T-bones

We got a quarter of a cow from my brother-in-law recently, and there was a pack of t-bones in the bundle that looked so nice that they headed straight for the grill.

This was a straight-on, no-frills, hot-and-fast grilling. I set the Big Green Egg up for a roaring 700°+F cook. While the grill was heating up, I seasoned the steaks with just a little kosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper.

When the charcoal looked like a pool of lava, I tossed these bad boys on for 90 seconds of undisturbed searing. Then I flipped them and let them go another 90 seconds on other other side. I flipped them again and checked the internal temperature. I was looking for a nice medium-rare – 135°F with a hint of red and the center. It only took me another 30 seconds a side to get there.

I put the steaks on a warm plate and covered them gently with another one, and let them rest for about 10 minutes before serving.

Nice crispy char on the outside and tender medium-rare goodness on the inside. Perfect.

Big Green Egg Makeover

My Big Green Egg was looking a little sad – we had bought a custom-built table a couple of years ago to give us more room. Unfortunately, the weather had given it quite a beating. So when my felt gaskets finally failed me, I decided it was worth it to pull her out of commission for a couple of weekends and both refinish the table and install new Nomex gaskets.

Thanks to the excellent advice I got on the Big Green Egg Forum and the videos from Fred’s Music & BBQ Supply the removal and installation went surprisingly well.

To get the Egg out of the table I needed to lighten it up. I removed the firebox and spacer ring and cleaned the Egg out. I removed the dome by zip-tying the metal bands together and loosening the top bolt just until I could lift the dome straight off.

I recruited a friend and used a gadget called (appropriately enough) a Potlifter to lift the Egg out of the table. It just clips around the sides and the harder you lift the tighter it grips.

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