Saturday, July 7, 2012

Cherry Chipotle Chicken Lollipops

I had two of the best tacos I have ever had at 10:30 this morning.

I stopped by the Savory and Sweet food truck and got the smoked chipotle pork taco and fried avocado taco, both with cilantro lime slaw and chipotle cream.  I took my tray over to the nearby babbling water feature in the park under the cool shade trees.  The saxaphone player who is at the market every weekend wailed out a tune as I got into my pair of tacos.

Get there early, as with all food trucks, things sell out - first come first serve.

I was expecting the pork tacos to be great because Joshua R had already told me about them and he was right.  But I was unprepared for the crispy, delicious fried avocado taco.  It re-defined what a taco is to me.  The avocado pieces are light and crispy on the outside yet tender and velvety on the inside. The slaw and chipotle cream finished it off flawlessly.  

If you are in the Knoxville area, you need to hunt the Savory and Sweet food truck down and try them out.  You can find them at the Bearden Beer Market on Friday evenings and at the Market Square Farmers' Market on Wednesday and Saturday. 

About 5 hours later, I was hungry again and was in the mood for something "food truck-ish".  I thought about DivaQ's chicken lollipops.  Normally she does them with chicken wing drummettes but in her recent BBQ Pitmasters appearance, she used drum sticks instead.  I went with that and did a cherry chipotle flavor profile. 

Cherry Chipotle Chicken Lollipops
Idea inspired by Danielle Dimovski aka DivaQ

  • 8 chicken leg "drumsticks"
  • 8 Tbsp unsalted butter
For the rub*
  • 1 Tbsp Spanish paprika
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 3/4 tsp dried ground chipotle chile
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp mustard powder
For the sauce
  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce*
  • 1/4 cup cherry preserves* 
  • 1 ea chipotle, seeded*
  1. Preheat a smoker or grill set up for indirect heat to 300f (medium).  I added two cherry Mojobricks for wood smoke
  2. Sauce - Mix the BBQ sauce, preserves and chipotle in a blender until liquified.  
  3. Rub - Mix the rub ingredients together and mix well.
  4. Lollipops - For each drumstick, use poultry shears to snip off the ankle.  Push down around the bone, forcing the meat down round the bottom.  Use the shears to snip off any ligaments that you can see.  Cover the exposed bone with foil.
  5. Cook the Chicken - Place the butter in a shallow pan in the smoker/grill.  Place the lollipops in the pan and cook until they reach an internal temperature of 165f.  Glaze with the sauce and cook until they chicken reaches an internal temperature of 175f.  This took about 90 minutes but I wasn't paying strict attention. 
  • Rub - This was decent, not bad at all, but I would amp it up a bit next time.  Maybe a use turbinado sugar instead of brown, or use a blend of the two.  Then add some subtle notes like maybe corriander or cumin.  
  • BBQ Sauce - use your favorite traditional BBQ sauce recipe or commercial BBQ sauce.  
  • Cherry - I tried using fresh cherries & 1 tsp of brown sugar today but it looks like the cherry season ran its course.  The "fresh" cherries didn't look great and the  flavor was muted.  The rest of the year, I just use cherry preserves.
  • Chipotle - Medium heat (to me) as written.  Use half of one for mild.  Use a whole one, unseeded for hot. 
Why do this?  It gets the whole leg cooked evenly and gives you a handle.

Don't forget to cover the bones with foil or they'll get dark.

I used stoneware but you can use foil pans.

The cherries I bought today were already past their prime.  Looks like cherry season is over for this year.

Glazed and finishing up.

Do you have food trucks in your area?  If so, what is your favorite one?  What's your favorite food truck dish?