Tuesday, June 3, 2008

It's Grilling Season

Expert and I are pretty much novices when it comes to grilling. We bought our first grill last year shortly after we bought our house. We did not have a lot of money so we got the second most cheap one we could find. (The cheaper one did not have a warming rack so we decided to splurge and get the $35 grill that had the warming rack). We were very excited to start grilling but really had no idea what we were doing. We bought some grilling cookbooks and started figuring out some of the tricks to making good food on the grill. My apologies to anyone who came over last summer and was fed food from our grill. I promise it will be better if you come back. We have learned at lot. In fact, the other day we made the best tasting, juiciest chicken ever!
Here is what we have learned about grilling bone-in, skin-on chicken. (We use a charcoal grill so if you have a gas one, you are on your own.)
First, heat up a big pile of charcoal until they are red hot and all white. Then spread them out to the sides of the grill, what they call a double banked fire.
Place the chicken, skin side down in the middle of the grill. This will allow the chicken to cook with indirect heat. This is good for two reasons. One being that it prevents flare ups from the fat hitting the coals and second, it traps the juices in the chicken better.
Let the chicken cook there in the middle for 20 minutes and then flip them and move them over to the coals. Here is a picture after they have been flipped and moved over to direct heat.
The packet in the middle is corn. I'll get to that in a minute.
Once the chicken is cooking over direct heat you leave them there until they are done, about 10-20 minutes. The chicken is done when a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast reaches 160.
One important thing to remember is not to keep flipping the chicken! (Expert has a hard time with this one.) I only flipped my chicken once. That is all it needs! Keep flipping it and it will stick to the grill, take longer to cook and not be as juicy.
Once the chicken was done, I moved it up to the warming rack and spread some BBQ sauce on. I closed the lid and let it cook for a few more minutes then flipped the chicken over and coated the other side with sauce and then let it cook for a few more minutes.It pretty much just cooks itself.
But doesn't it end up looking so yummy?You are just going to have to trust me when I say this was the juiciest chicken ever!

Barbecue Sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup ketchup
5 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Tabasco

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, chili powder and cayenne and cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds.
Stir in the remaining ingredients and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened, about 20-25 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
This makes about 1 1/2 cups but can easily be doubled or tripled. You can also make it ahead of time and store in the fridge for about a week or the freezer for 2 months. So you can make a big batch all at once and freeze it into small portions and pull them out as needed.

Grilling Corn on the Cob
There are a few different ways we grill corn. This time we did the foil packet way, which is simple.
Lay the corn out on a large piece of foil. Season however you like. Mexican seasoning, salt and pepper, garlic, lemon, whatever strikes your fancy. Then put some cut up butter pieces on top of the corn and cover with another piece of foil. Seal the foil up real good and place on the grill. Over direct heat, the corn should take about 10 minutes to cook.

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