Monday, August 31, 2009

Roadside Chicken

Why did the chicken cross the road?
Because he heard about "roadside chicken".

I mean who hasn't? I've been hearing people rave about "roadside chicken" in BBQ forums for years but I never tried it. I feel like I'm the last person to get in on an inside joke.

There are basically two versions.
The Virtual Weber Bulletin Board version posted 4 years ago and has some 400+ comments and the Rick Bayless version. I tried the VWBB version this weekend and it was fantastic. Here it is as originally posted.Here are the quick things I did and my impressions:
  • Substituted cider vinegar for white vinegar and added 1 teaspoon of dried oregano.
  • Doubled the recipe for 1 spatchcocked chicken instead of doing individual pieces of chicken.
  • Cooked the bird skin side down directly over a 350f fire for 5 minutes and then flipped it switched to indirect heat (plate setter on the Egg) at the same temp. It took about another hour and 20 minutes to reach 175f internal temp in the thigh (or 160f internal in the breast)
  • Only splashed with the mix about every 20 minutes instead of every 5 as noted since (1) I am using the Big Green Egg, which minimizes moisture loss and (2) cooking a whole bird instead of pieces.
The results:
The yardbird restingPlated with mexican rice and corn on the cob with chili lime butterI cut a breast in half so you can see how juicy it isWe will definitely make this again. It's as good as any of the smoked, roasted or grilled chickens we have done and that is high praise. It had a tongue ratcheting flavor profile.

But it just reinforced in my mind that the ingredients are only one part of the recipe. When it comes to BBQ or really any type of cooking, your ingredients might be perfect but if your technique is lacking, the results will be marginal.

I think that is why so many bbq folks are so open and sharing with their recipes. They know that just having an ingredient list does NOT make one a pit master. The flavor comes from the ingredients but the texture, juiciness, and crispiness of the skin comes from mastery of your cooking*. That only comes with practice, practice, and a little bit more practice.

That's why I keep practicing. I haven't mastered it yet. But I do think I'm pretty damn good:)

*I guess this make's Plankton's obsession with stealing the secret recipe for the Krusty Krab's Crabby Patty a moot point if he doesn't have Sponge Bob's cooking expertise, right?

Roadside Chicken