(Note to self: prior to cooking experiments, make sure at least one camera in the house is charged)
I told Brian I was going to barbecue for Mother’s Day and he suggested whole chicken with a Greek yogurt/lemon marinade. He suggested deboning the chicken which was interesting, although very simple after watching the instructional Jacques Pepin video.
Note: this dish required no substitution for a change.
Note 2: actually, it did. I substituted an ancient Japanese paring knife we got at a dime store in Tokyo once for a new chicken-deboning-knife I failed to buy last Friday as planned because I had to work on my lunch break. The paring knife worked well, it looks roughly like a deboning knife anyhow, and being of rather soft steel it sharpens up easily.
Instructions: Buy ingredients: 1 organic chicken, enough Greek yogurt (or regular plain yogurt). A lemon. Garlic. Make marinade according to the recipe, more or less, with all the other spices. The paprika, for example, works really nicely. I also added some herbs from the garden.
Bone chicken according to the video. heads up: if you watch the video while cooking, figure out a way to pause and unpause it without getting raw chicken on your keyboard. You will feel the urge to talk in a Hannibal Lector voice while deboning the chicken, and CSI jokes will go through your head, and you will wonder if this is what the turkeys Boeing shoots at its planes from cannons to test the windshields end up looking like. This will pass.
Your chicken is boned in no time! That wasn’t so bad! Less than a minute, according to Jacques Pepin, maybe a little longer for people like me. Maybe quite a bit longer, in fact, although it’s not as bad as I imagined, because I wisely locked the cats (AKA my four best friends, when I’m deboning chicken) out of the kitchen.
Marinate the chicken overnight. I covered it in the marinade sauce, folded it up like a shirt, and packed it into a tupperware container and refrigerated it.
Do something useful with the carcass. I failed to do this, and felt bad about it afterwards.
I could have given it to the cats to fight over in the yard but what would the neighbors say?
They would say, What are you, an extra from the Hunger Games?
Grill your chicken the following day. I started at 9.30 in the morning, lighting the coals etc. because there was a lot of stuff to grill: various vegetables, mushrooms, pineapple (slices with vanilla sugar sprinkled over them), sausages because this is Austria, and the chicken, and I wanted to be done in time.
Everything was done in time. Around 11.30, in fact, everything was warming in the oven waiting for the guests (my wife’s parents).
Here is how the chicken went: I grill stuff in aluminum grilling uh tray things. Put the chicken spread out, like an unfolded shirt a chicken skeleton had just shed because it was covered in yogurt marinade, in the largest, round aluminum tray. It sizzled away. Skin-side down for starters. No idea if this was a good idea or if it matters. Turned it after a while when the first side looked a little brown. In all, it cooked for over an hour.
I stood there most of the time and watched it cook, because I was afraid a cat would steal it if I went into the house. When you stare at a flat chicken long enough, it begins to look like a Rorshach blot, and you find yourself saying, in Sigmund Freud’s voice, “So, Mr. Living, tell me what you see in this chicken?”
And you give him the answer, in your own voice, telling him something you think will make you sound sane.
It takes the leg meat longer to cook than the rest, so I ended up removing the legs and letting them cook longer. The chicken was getting fairly dark. Like, black in places. But that always happens when I barbecue. I folded up the chicken and put it in the oven in the kitchen to stay warm. Then I went back out to guard the drumsticks. Of course they were engulfed in flames when I got back out, because all the marinade and oil/fat that had collected beneath the chicken in the tray was suddenly exposed to air when I removed the chicken and ignited as soon as I turned my back.
The flames were about 3′ high. I managed to rescue the drumsticks somewhat.
Carved up the chicken and it looked fine. It was much-praised by the guests. Two people remarked how moist the chicken was. The marinade did taste good. Vegetables (marinated just with olive oil or teriyaki sauce) were good. I was too tired by then to enjoy it much, and I thought the chicken was actually a little bit dry, but maybe I’m just paranoid about dry chicken. It would be great if I could find a way to cook chicken sufficiently without burning the outside.
Will take pictures next time, Scout’s honor.
Are you remembering to use indirect heat when you grill chicken? Like, one side of the grill with no coals? The trick, I am told, is to quickly sear chicken over the hot coals, then move to the other side of the grill, cover, and let cook for 35-45 minutes. I have burned a lot of chicken in my time, so I finally went and watched some grilling videos on YouTube to see what I was doing wrong, and that’s it.
I have to admit to saving a lot of chicken carcasses with the intent to make stock, only to end up throwing them away because I didn’t get around to it. I do make stock once in a while, but my saved-carcass-to-stock-made ratio isn’t very good. I blame Julia Child.
Pictures! I did not really grok how much food blogging relies on photography, even though it should be plain to see.
nah i just piled a bunch of coals on, fired them up and threw on the chicken. i covered it for a while, but cooked uncovered most of the time so i could keep an eye on things. hopefully will be able to take pictures next time (weekend after next at the latest – going to dublin this coming weekend).
you know you can make “Greek” yogurt by straining regular yogurt w a coffee filter? you know these brown paper things people used to use on normal coffee machines?