Apple Roasted Honey Drumsticks

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After the less than stellar outcome with the Butterflied Turkey I wanted to do something easy with this cook. So I figured I would go back to a basic, drumsticks. I recently bought a new grill cookbook, Myron Mixon’s Everyday Barbeque and was dying to try the brine recipe in it.

Lessons Learned:

  1. These could have been fine smoke roasted in the 325-350 range. They didn’t need to have the slow and low treatment that a roast would need.
  2. A continuous supply of Apple chips was the perfect amount of smoke.

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Brine: I used Myron Mixon’s apple juice brine, and brined the drumsticks overnight.

Brine Recipe: (enough for 2 1 gallon freezer bags)
  • 6 cups apple juice
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 1.5 cups kosher salt

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Drumsticks fresh out of the brine and being toweled off…

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My favorite part, applying the rub…

Rub Recipe:
  • 1 cp. light brown sugar (packed)
  • 2 tbsp. chili powder
  • 2 tbsp. mustard powder
  • 2 tbsp. onion powder
  • 2 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsp. Kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp. black pepper

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Drumsticks all rubbed up and resting. My kids, who don’t like anything with spice or flavor, actually requested some “blank” drumsticks. No rub, just smoke and sauce!

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For this cook I went for a slow and low setup with about 3 hours of fuel. I have a continuous ring of Apple chips on top of the coals. This should get me a nice steady stream of smoke but not too much to overpower the meat with a sooty taste.

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For the sauce I went with a straight 2:1 mixture of Sweet Baby Ray’s and Raw Honey. Heated and mixed together. I mixed this about 2 hours before using.

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This is what the Chicken looked at the 2 hour mark. You can see that the ring of coals and chips have burned through half of the fuel. The grill was in the solid 225-250 range. A bit lower than necessary for chicken. But since this was going to be a long smoke I had plenty of time and fuel.

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I went ahead and added some sauce on the drumsticks. And left them on for about 30 minutes more. I ended up not having to go the entire 3 hours at all. Temps on the drumsticks at saucing were at 160.

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Close up after applying sauce:

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I pulled the chicken off, gave another coating of sauce, and covered with foil and let sit for 30 minutes. These were so good, and fall off the bone soft! A couple didn’t even make it to the photo shoot. Sacrificed to Cook’s Privilege! The apple wood left a mild taste, more subtle than cherry. It was a great compliment to the brine!

Apple brined Cherry Roasted Butterflied Turkey

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The outcome of this recipe was a bit of a let down. I think I dropped the ball in execution of the final roast/smoke. It tasted good and was very flavorful, but I wanted a butterflied bird with deep crisp mahogany skin and juicy flavorful meat. As you can see from the pic above not all of the bird came out perfect. Now the meat was juicy, but I think the air was too humid, and in my rush to get the bird onto the grill, I sacrificed some crispness in the skin. Much to my dismay, my family pulled the skin off and left it in the plate. = FAIL!

Lessons learned:

  1. Brine for full 24 hours, not just 18
  2. Only 1 water pan in the grill area, not 2
  3. Let bird air dry in refrigerator for 24 hours

Let’s get on with the play by play.

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This cook is sponsored by my favorite beer of all time! Sam Adams Octoberfest!

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I took this 13 lb turkey out of my freezer to thaw in my refrigerator on Tuesday. The bird wasn’t ready to work with until Saturday.

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Ingredients for the Apple Brine
2 quarts apple juice
1 pound brown sugar (light or dark)
1 cup Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt*
3 quarts cold water
3 oranges, quartered
4 ounces fresh ginger, unpeeled and thinly sliced
15 whole cloves
6 bay leaves
6 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

* Substitute 3/4 cup Morton Kosher Salt or 1/2 cup table salt for Diamond Crystal.

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Pouring in the apple juice…

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Squeezing lemons, crushing garlic, slicing fresh ginger root, and stirring in all up….

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The turkey going for a dip… I only brined it for 18 hours,  I should have done a full 24. But with me losing a day not pulling the turkey out of my deep freezer earlier I didn’t want to be pulling this off my grill at 11 Sunday evening, so I cut it short by 6 hours.

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18 hours later, I’ve rinsed the bird and patted it dry with paper towels. Just going after the last few stubborn feathers with the first pair of pliers I found laying around.

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Instead of the usual slow and low, I set my grill for a slow and high configuration. Looking to get a solid 300 –350 degree ranges for 2.5 to 3.0 hours. The 2 bricks allow for more coals on the side, and the added benefit of radiating the heat toward the rest of the grill.

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In addition to the drip pan under the turkey, I grabbed a spare pan to provide additional moisture to the side. Hindsight, this secondary pan probably made it too moist. Also, I don’t think I used enough wood chunks. Although the bird had a smoke ring, it was very light.

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The butterflied turkey splayed out, rubbed with a couple of tablespoons of a generic poultry blend I had purchased. <- Again mistake, I should have mixed my own blend and not taken the lazy way out. Do you see a pattern yet with these mistakes? I rushed my own barbeque and wasn’t satisfied with the results. Shocker!

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Butterflied turkey barely fitting in the remaining space on the grill…

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Here you can see the second water pan. For some reason I was really afraid of the temperatures getting away from me. With the secondary pan it probably turned the inside of the grill into a sauna instead of a moist environment.

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3 hours later…

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Bird pulled off the grill and sitting in a tray on its way to the kitchen.

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Another shot of the bird close up…

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Event though I wasn’t too fond of it, this is what we did to that bird in one night! The rest were leftovers I took to work the entire week.

“Slab o Meat” aka Beef Round Top London Broil

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I’ve been itchin’ to cook something this whole week. I originally was going to make some pulled pork. However, I never got to the butcher shop so I went shopping in my deep freezer.

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I found a “slab o meat” that my wife bought on sale at the supermarket. I guess the technical name is Round Top London Broil. All that I learned after researching this cut of meat is; it is lean, tough, and usually not worth the few dollars it costs. So I figured I’d throw this on the grill slow and low, and see what happens.

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I used my standard rub:

Classic BBQ Spice Rub:
  • 4 tbsp Kosher Salt
    2 tbsp brown sugar
    2 tbsp garlic powder
    2 tbsp paprika
    1 tbsp celery seed
    1 tbsp ground cumin
    1 tbsp black pepper

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Liberally season with the rub…

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While the meat is resting after being rubbed, I set up my grill the in the “Ring of Fire” formation. Two single rows of briquettes in a circle, with a single row on top. This configuration should give me 250 degrees for at least six hours. I placed small Mesquite chips around the ring so there would be light smoke continuously throughout the cook.

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Putting on the slabs…

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1 Hour in, a solid 250 degrees…

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5 hours later, and the temp is just starting to dip a bit from 250…

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This is what the meat looked like when I opened the grill. I took a “Chef’s Privilege” piece from the piece on the right. Man was it good!

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I wrapped the 2 in foil and left them on for one more hour. In hindsight I probably should have moved the whole wrapping back an hour. But whatever, it’s “Slabbo meat!”, as my six year old calls it.

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Finally pulled off the grill… I let them rest in the foil a bit before unwrapping. About 15 minutes.

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Unwrapping the meat… I swear every fly in NE Philadelphia started slamming into my screen door once I unwrapped these bad boys! They filled my kitchen with the smell of beef and mesquite.

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Slicing her up on my favorite cutting board…

Lessons learned: If my wife buys “Slabbo” meat again, I may try an overnight marinade and maybe spray it throughout the cook session. But overall, not too bad.

Hong Kong Chicken

I picked this recipe from Weber’s Charcoal Grilling: The Art of Cooking with Live Fire last week, because I wanted something on the grill, but didn’t feel like going out to the store to pick anything up. So I defrosted some chicken legs the night before and set to preparing this. This is a relatively quick recipe to prepare for. Total time from unwrapping thawed legs to plate was about 5.5 hours. The majority of that time (4 hours) was the brine time for the chicken legs.

Let’s move on to the cook!

Dry Ingredients Wet Ingredients

Seasoning Blend:

2 tsp. Kosher salt

1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper

Brine:
2 qts water
1/2 cp. Kosher salt
1/2 cp. sugar

Grill Sauce:
2 tbsp. Hoisin Sauce
2 tbsp. Cider Vinegar
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. Soy sauce
2 tsp. grape seed oil
1/4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper

This cook, is brought to you by Bacardi White

Step 1: Brine the chicken for 4 hours in the brine mixture and place in the fridge.

Step 2: Remove chicken from brine, rinse off, and pat dry with paper towels. Then liberally season with seasoning blend.

Step 3:

Set up a medium heat grill. I used 3/4 of a Weber chimney full of Kingsford coals. I filled one Weber basket with lit coals, and then poured the rest to cover half the charcoal grate. (see below)

Step 4: Place chicken directly over coals for a 5 minute char to get the drumsticks started. (2.5 minutes on one side, then 2.5 minutes on the other)

Step 6: Move to cool side of grill

Step 7: After 20 minutes

Step 8: After 40 minutes

Step 9: At 40 minutes, apply sauce to chicken and put the lid to cook for an additional 20 minutes

Step 10: Last 20 minutes

Step 11: Pull and let rest for 15 minutes. I made some sautéed vegetables and brown rice with a Moscow Mule. Excellent! Chicken had a bit of heat to it, a little too much for the kids, but me and the wife loved it!

Grilled Corn with Chimi-churri

I originally came across this recipe on Pinterest from the chubbyvegetarian blog. As soon as I saw it I had to give it try. I did and it came out wonderful and my family loved it!

Recipe and instructions:

Chimi Churri Sauce

  • 2 cups flat-leaf parsley (loosely packed)
  • 1 tsp. sherry vinegar
  • zest of one lime
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 jalapeno (seeds removed)
  • pinch of sea salt
  • cracked black pepper
  • pinch of cane sugar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

This cook was sponsored by: (You have to have some good music on as well!)

Step 1: Place all ingredients in food processor.

 

Step 2: Run food processor until everything is blended fine. Slowly add oil while food processor is running until the mixture is smooth.

 

Step 3: Shuck your corn and remove as much of the silk as possible. Sometimes running under cold water while pulling can help get rid of the most stubborn strands.

 

Step 4: Start a medium hot fire on your grill. 1 chimney’s worth of charcoal should be fine. After coals are ashed over, spread into a layer 1 coal thick. Place corn directly above the coals.

 

Step 5: Grill the corn directly over the hot coals for approx 5 – 10 minutes per side. When the kernels start to lightly brown it’s time to turn and rotate the corn. Make sure you don’t burn it.

 

Step 6: Once corn is nicely grilled all over, liberally brush on the Chimi Churri sauce. Goes perfect with a cold beer!

Crunchy Grilled Chicken Breasts

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Tell me these don’t look good, I dare you! Just kidding. Smile

It is possible to make crunchy and grilled chicken breast at the same time on the grill. This isn’t KFC styled crunchy but there’s a good bit of attitude in each bite of these. This cook is a variation of a recipe in  Bill and Cheryl Jamison’s Chicken on the Grill: 100 Surefire Ways to Grill Perfect Chicken Every Time

Today in NE Philly

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As you can see the sky was grey and drizzly, a dreary Sunday afternoon brewing up. Plus, the weather was under 60 degrees so you know what that means, Summer has officially left the building. Doesn’t mean I can’t grill though.

Today’s cast:

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Dry Ingredients Wet Ingredients (Basting blend)
  • 4 tbsp raw rice (ground to consistency of bread crumbs)
  • 2 tbsp paprika
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp brown sugar (always homemade!)
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 cup EVOO
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter melted
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh herbs (Basil, Oregano, Marjoram, etc)
  • 5 cloves crushed garlic

Grinding the Rice

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At first I tried my tried and true Cuisinart food processor. But after a minute or so of pulsing this is what the rice looked like. I was not looking forward to digging out my marble mortar and pestle. So I got down my Oster blender. Here’s a shot of it grinding away. Look at that rice fly!

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Ground rice anyone? As you can see it is ground to about the texture of bread crumbs. The blender really made short work of the rice. If I had left it on for much longer I probably would have had rice flour.

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The resultant rub:

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It’s Hammer Time! I hate pounding chicken breasts. One tip I’ve found is to use a freezer bag for the chicken breasts and whack them while inside. The freezer bag is a lot easier to get chicken in and out of then Saran Wrap.

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…and Rubbin’ son, is Racing!

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I’ve given each breast a liberal coating of the rub. They will go in the fridge for 3 –4 hours as I get some other things done today.

4 Hours later…

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I’ve got my trusted Half-Moon Griddle on my Weber One-Touch-Gold. I only lit a 3/4 full chimney. Knowing how fast breasts cooks I didn’t need a full chimney today. Plus I wasn’t going to cook anything else after this. Underneath the griddle is a weber basket full of coals. The rest of the chimney was spread out halfway across the charcoal grate.

3 minutes per side…

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I cooked each breast three minutes per side. As soon as I flipped, I brushed on the basting marinade on top of the sizzling meat. As soon as 6 minutes had passed I moved the breasts off to the cool side of the grill as I cooked the other breasts.

Basting Beauties…

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Here you can see my phone playing double duty as a timer for the breasts.  I can get a bit anal about these things sometimes. The basil baste is in the center of the photo.

A group shot…

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Last of the chicken breasts going on the griddle. You can see some of the herbs on some of the other pieces. One of these breasts never made if off the grill and into the house. He sacrificed himself by jumping straight into my mouth!

The heat is on…

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Once all the breasts had their 6 minutes of fun, they went back over the hot coals for 3 more minutes. I basted and flipped after about a minute each side. The smell of the baste on top of the sizzling meat chased the Autumn away.

The Money Shot…

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The chicken came out great. The ground rice in the rub was a nice surprise. It gave the breasts a bit of a bite as you bit into them. Almost like coarse sea salt but without the salty taste. Next time I make this rub I make increase the amount of ground rice a bit. But overall I’m very satisfied with this outing.

White Barbeque Sauce

I’ve been wanting to try my hand at “White Barbeque Sauce” ever since I first saw it in featured in Jamie Purviance’s cookbook Charcoal Grilling: the Art of Cooking with Live Fire. The recipe is pretty straight forward. And of course I’ve modified it a bit. Here are the players:

The Dry The Wet
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
  • Large Yellow Onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup Miracle Whip Dressing
  • 1/3 cup loosely packed, rough chop basil
  • 1/4 cup Apple Cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. hot sauce

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Step 1: Here I’ve minced the garlic & onion until they were basically a paste. I ended up straining this mixture as there seemed to be a lot of liquid left over. Since I was going to be sautéing this mixture I didn’t want it too wet.

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Step 2: In this shot, I’ve melted the butter and have begun to cook the onion mixture. It took about 4 minutes. I cooked it until it was just starting to turn opaque; stirring occasionally.

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Step 3: Next I added in the white wine and cooked until half of the liquid evaporated out of the mixture. This took about five minutes at a good rate of simmer.

Step 4:  Remove from heat and let the onion/garlic/white wine mixture cool for about 5 minutes. During that time you can assemble the remaining ingredients

Step 5: One the mixture has cooled whisk in the remaining ingredients. My sauce had the consistency of lumpy ranch dressing. But man, did it taste better than any ranch dressing I’ve ever had. You could probably use this as a dip for other things besides a sauce for grilled chicken.

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Step 6: Cover and refrigerator for about 1 hour before serving. If grilling chicken, brush on the White BBQ sauce onto the pieces about 10 – 15 minutes before they are due to be pulled from the grill. I’ve included a shot of what the chicken will look like after cooking with the sauce in the pic below.

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Try it and let me know how it comes out.