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


  1. I couldn't agree more with your comments regarding open ingredient lists, and why we all keep practicing. We might never reach mastery, but the what a wonderful journey along the way...

    Thanks for sharing the roadside chicken experience. I've been looking for a good whole chicken recipe to try; now I have one.

  2. Never read this blog when you're hungry. I'm just saying. It's the buttcrack of dawn here and all I want is to fire up the grill.

  3. You made that?
    As in cooked it, took above pictures and was able to enjoy eating them?

    Good Gawd I need to grow up some day and learn to cook. They look amazing but that recipe gives me hives. I kinda cook from my 4 ingrediants or less, 4 minute prep time cookbook.......

  4. I keep reading about this too, and spatchcocked chicken...gotta try this, and yours looks damn damn good Mr!

  5. Nice looking chicken - we're sure are on the same wavelength.

    I love roadside chicken, but usually just do thighs. Will have to try it spatchcocked.

  6. P.S. Try 24-48 hours in the marinade. It seems like too long, but the results are very tasty.

  7. Why did the chicken cross the road? To show a possum it could be done!
    Chicken is a great food for starting outdoor cooks... To marinade, or inject, to lower and lengthen cooking times, to close it up to retain moisture, and to crisp the skin was excellent, accurate information! Good for you for sharing!

  8. I guess I'm a roadside chicken virgin and I don't my grillmate is experienced enough to pull it off :(.

    wasn't there an episode where someone else was doing spongebobs job and just couldn't make the crabby patties right?

  9. Looks fantastic Chris! I have an award for you!

  10. This one has me drooling... but you knew that! GREG

  11. My wife cringes if I grill chicken and it isn't Roadside. I have some chicken defrosting for another go; we have this about once a week. It is indeed that good.

    I agree with Dave's suggestion to marinate for a long time. I have found the chicken really takes to it.

    By far, the best barbecue chicken I have had.

  12. Uhmmm... I had roadside chicken last night. Remember you made it? I came back for something new...I am still waiting. GREG

  13. Where are these roadsides that one normally gets the chicken from? Because I need to take a trip because that chicken looks damn tasty.

    Clearly the chicken crossed to get the recipe and make it his own.

  14. I decided to make this tonight for a last minute Labor Day BBQ with a few friends. It's 2pm. They arrive at 6pm. I hope I can pull it together.... GREG

  15. I am STARVED right now and this is making me salivate! Must try!!

  16. I made this recently and it was sooooo gooood!


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