All day today I was thinking about what I was going to be cooking for dinner. On top of that, I kept my eyes gazing towards the sky to watch the weather ever-so-closely. I was determined not to get rained out again by mother nature. I had a relatively busy day today, and I knew that cooking, and more importantly, a delicious dinner, was in my future.
I made a whole chicken. The 5th whole chicken I’ve ever made. I used my rotisserie for this chicken, and it turned out better than ever. As an added bonus, it was also the best job I’ve done at portioning the meat after it was cooked, which I was quite pleased with. So you may be asking “What did you do that was so special?” Well, I would love to tell you what I did that was so special!
First off, I bought an organic whole chicken when it was on sale a few weeks ago. Obviously I froze it before today, since I do not enjoy the thought of feeding my family a food-borne illness. When prep time was upon me, I did something I always do when I am cooking poultry: I get all my stuff in line and in order prior to touching the bird. Salmonella is tricky because it will join up with anything in its’ path. This often requires multiple hand-washings, but I get around that by using powder-free medical style latex gloves. They keep the bacteria off my hands requiring less washings, and they are disposable so I don’t have to worry about contaminating everything around me.
What was I talking about? I need to scroll up for a second. Oh yes, getting everything in line.
There’s the majority of my mise en place. A simple French phrase that basically means “Everything in order.” So in the bowl I have some butter (more on that later), my various seasonings around that, and then my salt in the small ramekin. I did that so I could grab whatever salt I needed and not worry about contaminating my entire stash of salt. I eye-balled it and whatever was left-over from the ramekin I threw out, because let’s face it: salt is cheap. I shouldn’t have to mention this, but I strictly use Kosher salt for these types of applications. Oh, wait… I just mentioned it, didn’t I? Anyway, I basically made a seasoned butter to put under the skin of the chicken, thus seasoning the actual meat itself. This is a great move to do because it really helps the skin get a nice texture, and butter tastes awesome! I used black pepper, smoked paprika (probably one of my favorite spices ever), garlic powder, onion powder and dried oregano (not pictured). For my own weird reasons, I did not put the paprika or salt into the butter at all. I seasoned the outside of the meat with those two. The paprika was used in this way to give the chicken a better appearance, and I like the salt on the outside of the skin, giving it time to penetrate down.
Since I was cooking the bird on the spit, I decided I was going to smoke it, too. So I had to get my chips ready for use:
Looking at that picture reminds me that I also cut up half on an onion, and half of a lemon and stuffed them into the open cavity of the chicken. I also put the left-over butter into cavity as well. 30 minutes of indirect grilling/smoking rendered me a chicken that looked like this:
As you can tell, there is little difference here from the above picture. That’s because there was no direct heat to color the skin. You will also notice the two aluminum pans under the chicken. These are there to catch all of the “stuff.” “What stuff?” you might be asking. Stuff like run-off juices, fat, melted butter, and the occasional errant onion, as seen in the picture above. At this point I made the decision to turn on the rotisserie burner on the grill and get it moving along since my wife would be home relatively shortly, and I needed dinner to be ready before then. So I put the spurs to it. And after another 30 minutes, I took the chicken’s temperature and determined that it was time for it to come off of the heat and take a break. I had it resting for about 15 minutes before I went to carve it.
It tasted every bit as good as it looked. The smoke flavor didn’t penetrate like I was hoping, but the smaller bits at the tips of the breasts tasted nice and smokey. And there was a slight tinge of citrus from the lemon steaming on the inside of the chicken. It was moist and delicious and I was very happy with it.
After dinner, I carved the remaining pieces off and put them in the fridge for lunch tomorrow. And a great lunch it shall be! But that’s it for now. I am happy that I was able to stay on topic and provide you with some decent pictures of my procedures. Until next time!Stay positive, love your life, and play with your food 🙂