Thursday, December 2, 2010

Cambodian Grilled Chicken & 12 Days of Grilling Christmas

I'll be honest with you.

I made this recipe tonight solely because it didn't require a trip to the grocery store and it had a short marinade time. But it was so good, in retrospect I'm going to say, "Yeah, I meant to do that."

This is another top notch recipe from Raichlen's newest book. I have cooked many recipes from it this year and have found that it works great if you are a beginning griller follow his recipes exactly. But it also works equally well if you are more advanced and want to change them around to your tastes and cooking methods. It's a very flexible book and it's not just because it is a paperback! That's why I'm adding it to my "12 Christmas Gifts for Grilling & BBQ".

And yes, I'm doing this on the Big Green Egg but you could do it on any grill or even -gasp- in the oven. (If you do it in the oven, just treat as a roasted chicken 350f for about 1 hour.)

Cambodian Grilled Chicken
adapted from Steven Raichlen's Planet Barbecue!

1 ea fryer chicken (3-4 lbs), butterflied aka spatchcocked

Wet Rub
5 cloves garlic, peeled
1 ea green onion
2 Tbsp turbinado sugar
1 Tbsp sea salt
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp fish sauce

2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
2 tsp sweet paprika

Dipping Sauce
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper flake
1/4 tsp sugar
1/2 cup lime juice

Spatchcock the chicken. This basically means cutting out the back bone and flattening the bird, but you can get the details by watching THIS VIDEO.

Then make 2 to 3 deep slashing cuts across the thigh and leg (see pictures). I've seen Steven Raichlen and Adam Perry Lang both do this and it makes for a nice presentation. I suspect it also might help with seasoning and cooking times in some circumstances but I don't know that for sure.

Next make your marinade for the bird by mixing the ingredients in a mini-food processer. You could also mix crush it all up in a mortar and pestle then add the fish and soy sauce instead. Rub the marinade all over the bird including the back. Make sure to get in deep into the thigh cuts under the legs, and everywhere. Just pretend you are rubbing suntan lotion on Michael Symon or Nigella Lawson and you'll get it right.

Marinate the bird for 1 to 4 hours. Marinate at room temperature for the last hour of marinating.

Raichlen gives you several options for cooking. I did the easy spatchcock method for the Big Green Egg which is simply cooking skin side up on a raised grid with the Egg at 350f for one hour. I used natural lump coal with no added wood chunks because Raichlen's book indicates that's the fuel of choice for Cambodian grills.

While the chicken is cooking, mix your basting glaze. Heat the oil over medium heat. Peel the garlic clove and give it a good whack with the side of a knife to crush it. Simmer the garlic in the oil for 1 minute. Remove the garlic to a small bowl.

Add the paprika to the pan and simmer for about 30 seconds. Pour into the bowl with the garlic and let sit.

When the chicken has been on for 45 minutes, brush on the glaze. This is going to give you a shocking amount of color but don't panic. You won't end up with an orange chicken.

At 55 minutes check the bird for temps. If it is at 170f in the thigh and 155f in the breast, flip it and let it cook for just 5 minutes skin side down. Temp check the bird again. It should now be 170-175 in the thigh and 160 in the breasts.

Pull the chicken from the grill and let rest for 10 minutes.

Prepare your dipping sauce by putting the dry seasonings in a bowl.

Microwave the lime juice for 20 seconds and then pour onto the dry seasonings. Give it a quick stir with a mini-whisk or fork.

Cut the chicken into pieces and serve with rice and the dipping sauce.

When I read over this recipe, I thought the flavors were good for chicken but didn't really think it had that POW signature flavor. You know, something like cilantro or sriracha (I did add the green onion and red pepper flakes). Boy was I wrong. This chicken brought a taste party to my mouth. The wet rub, glaze, and dipping sauce just made this chicken dance. This was exceptionally good.

12 Christmas Gifts for Grilling & BBQ (In progress)
  1. Craycort Cast Iron Grill Grate system - "upgrate" your BBQ'rs grill with this highly functional grill grate system.
  2. Planet Barbecue! - Available at Workman Publishing for $22.95. You can order through 12/17 and still get it delivered before Christmas in the Continental US.
  3. Cutting Boards - BBQ'rs can always use a new cutting board. Find out what they like because most people have a preference for a particular material. Some like wood, some marble or glass, there are new bamboo ones. My new favorite one is this one from Select Outdoor Kitchens. I bought it at the Eggtoberfest for $20 and have found I have used it more than my others for one reason. Sure it looks cool but what makes it my favorite is the thumb hole instead of a big hand grab. I'm always carrying food on a cutting board in and out the door and this lets me carry it one handed like an artist's palette. They are available for Christmas delivery through 12-15-10.