BBQ Chicken

Every grill is different. Our Char-Broil “The Big Easy” gas model is large and, except for that one time I forgot to close the tank valve after cooking, easy to use. (That wasn’t the gear’s fault, of course, but our Coleman tanks don’t require manual opening or closing. What scant gas remained in the Char-Broil leaked safely into the backyard, neighborhood, atmosphere…)

The main differences between grilling and BBQ are time and temperature; then there’s technique. To grill is to apply heat, typically outside; BBQ is low-and-slow: low temperature, long time. As for technique, BBQ is rangier: there’s smoking, basting, rolling on a spit. You can do all that grilling, too (at higher temp’s in less time), so enough. Let’s eat…

We started with a couple chicken breasts—a scant 1.2 lbs worth, total; what could be simpler. We marinated them overnight in:

  • 4 tsp BBQ sauce; we used Primal Kitchen Organic Sugar-Free, but Lea & Perrins would do fine
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise (more on this below)
  • 2 tbsp Herbs de Provence. It’s a poultry seasoning, like the easier-to-find McCormick’s.
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp Sriracha mayonnaise (yes, more mayo)
  • 2 pinches each salt and pepper

We grease the BBQ plates with butter (not oil) and fire it up. The point about BBQ, again, is to maintain the lowest temperature you can for the longest time to get the cook you want. I find it’s easier done with charcoal than gas gear, but we live in the suburbs and cook out too frequently to cleanup/dispose safely and efficiently after charcoal fires. So we use gas, which is also much faster. (We’ll write about cooking on a fire pit with wood and charcoal soon.)

We BBQ’d these breasts on the lowest possible temperature for 23 minutes, then flipped them. Seventeen minutes later, I turned up the heat for a final scorch and voilà. That’s 43 minutes total: a slow, decent outdoor cook for these two small pieces of meat. Best chicken I’ve ever made, maybe ever had.

People wonder about the mayonnaise. We’re not using it as a condiment here—or in cooking out generally—and no mayo flavor comes across in the taste of the meat as per the ingredients and instructions above. Think of mayo in terms of time and temperature: It’s a chemical that’s already solved the oil-and-water problem, used as a surface emollient between the meat and the heat plate. You don’t have to add oil or butter (or not as much) to get a nice sear and cook. And it cooks off. Just don’t use too much mayo when quick-grilling.

We enjoyed the dressed chicken-breast sandwich shown at top with a nice double IPA from Stone Brewing called “///Fear.Movie.Lions”. The stylized nomenclature is derived from the clever what3words global pinpoint-addressing system. The beer is brewed in Richmond, Virginia (also, apparently, in Escondido, California), at 8.5% ABV. It has a nice hay color and nose with a bit of citrus (orange? pineapple?), certain hoppiness; a big, tropical taste with some bitterness; and there’s a dryness and a dirtiness to it.

Great beer, great chicken.

 

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