Jun. 20th, 2004

This one uses chicken breasts in an overnight brine, and then a generous covering of the spice mix at grill time.

The spicy one was absolutely brilliant, IMO. Not to say that the mild version wasn't awesome, but the balance on the spicy one was perfect. Alas, many people are unable to eat spicy.

The Brine:

2 cups fresh squeezed orange juice (about 5 big oranges)
2 cups fresh squeezed lime juice (this was about 15 limes. It really varies, tho)
4 cups cold water
4 teaspoons dried thyme [a bunch of fresh thyme would've been superior here]
a dozen or so all-spice berries, crushed
A completely unnecessary quarter cup or so of sugar [the oj has plenty of sugar for this].
Garlic. However much you like. The more the merrier. =). Crushed.
1 cup kosher salt

Mix well, make sure the salt is dissolved. Put the chicken and put something heavy on the chicken to make sure it stays submerged.
I brined this one overnight--it went in about 10pm and came out of the brine around 5pm. I didn't flatten the chicken first because it was late, but ordinarily it's easier to pound the breasts flat before you brine. Either way, just make sure they're nice and evenly flat before they hit the grill, that's what really matters.

For the spice mix, I made two versions, one mild, one spicy. They're almost the same.

1 1/2 tsp onion powder (I got non-granulated stuff from Whole foods)
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder (also non-granulated)
2 tsp crushed red pepper Reduce to 1 or even 1/2 tsp for mild
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp cayenne pepper Reduce or Omit for mild
1/2 tsp course ground black pepper
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

Mix well and put in a shaker. Since I buy my spices in bulk at whole foods, I have a bunch of empty spice jars sitting around, with shaker tops. There's lots of choices.

Cover one side of the chicken with the spice mix. There's no salt in the mix, so there's very little concern about putting too much on--I heaped it on there and the color is actually very nice for presentation. Place that side down on the grill and repeat with the other side. Grill 3-4 minutes a side on a nice hot grill.
This is a 3 step process. First there is the dry rub, which should ideally be left overnight but somehow i keep only getting about 4 hours in.

The second is a long braise primarily in beer.

Finally there is the bbq sauce. Mark's recipe calls for a final sear on the grill, but I find the mess isn't worth it. Yes, there is a slight improvement of flavor with the grill, but it the stuff falls apart like nothing and you lose a bunch in the grill and it leaves a horrible awful mess. I gave up on that part.

This recipe is for 1 package of Costco Country Style Bonless Pork Shoulder Ribs. I bet that bone-in ribs would be about 5x tastier, and the bones are so big they would not be difficult to remove.

The Rub:
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
6 tbs kosher salt
2 tbs chili powder
2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp dry mustard

Mix all of the ingredients in a plastic bowl with a tight fitting lid so that you can give it a really good shake. If hte brown sugar doesn't want to delump, a fork or a potato masher will do the trick just fine.

Cut the pork down into pieces that are 1/3 to 1/2 the size that they come in the package. Mostly you want them to fit easily in the bowl. One at a time, drop a piece in the bowl and cover completely with the rub mix. Take your time with this, because a lot of the flavor will come from this. Make a single layer of pork in a disposable baking tray (easily acquired at costco, safeway, smart & final, etc). Why the disposables? Cause this is a pain in the ass to clean from a regular baking dish, and they have higher sides than a 9x14 casserole dish. 1 package will fill two trays pretty completely.

Cover with foil, refrigerate over night.

The braise:

2 pints stout beer -- heck, any dark beer will do.
5 tbs molasses
1 small head of garlic, peeled and crushed.
3 tbs worcestershire
1 tbs hot sauce (Tabasco is fine, but a hot sauce with character is better)

Mix the ingredients well. If you have trouble getting the molasses to dissolve, give it the microwae treatment. If you prepare the braise and refrigerate it along with the pork rub, it'll mix a little better, I think.

Pour the braise over the pork, and try to make sure that every piece is completely submerged. Be careful because the pork is pretty heavy for the disposable trays. It's good to put them on a baking tray of some sort.

Give them 2.5 hours in a 275 degree oven. When done, discard the braising liquid. Put the pork in a bowl and shred with a fork and a spoon.

Here is some recipe that vaguely approximates my bbq sauce.

2 cups ketchup,
1/4 cup cider vinegar,
3 tbs worcestershire,
1/4 cup molasses,
1 tbs chili powder,
2 tsp garlic powder,
1 tsp onion powder,
1/8 tsp (or more) cayenne pepper,
1 tsp hot sauce (such as tabasco; I have one I particularly like that's good on wings but i forget the
name of it offhand),
1/4 cup prepared mustard
a few drops of liquid smoke.
a generous pinch or two of kosher salt

Mix all ingredients in a saucepan. Simmer for awhile. Adjust until you like the taste.
merlinofchaos: (colonel merlin)
Jun. 20th, 2004 10:12 am
I had a fantastic time at [livejournal.com profile] senatorhatty and [livejournal.com profile] wildpaletz' party yesterday. Sure, I worked the party as much as I do my own, but because it wasn't my party, Chris & Susannah put a lot of effort into seeing to my needs, as it were, which made things go incredibly smoothly for me. Basically once I got past my case of the stupids...

The stupids. I thought my grill would fit in the back of the jeep. It did not, it was about 2 inches too high. After some fussing I finally realized that the top of the grill comes off with only a screwdriver (and that needed to pull two cotter pins, not for screws). Unfortunately, by the time I realized this I was feeling rushed because I was later than I planned to be by a good half hour, and I forgot to grab the propane tank which I had disconnected from the grill for safety reasons.

So my wonderful wife [livejournal.com profile] esmerel went back home to get the propane, oh and the grill tools I'd forgotten as well, while I got people started on the food I'd brought.

Once everything got set up, my job became simply to man the grill. Stuff got brought out to me. If I needed something, I just sent someone inside from the patio to get it or to tell the hosts I needed something. Chris got a feel for how long it was taking to cook food, and after the first wave or two food started coming out ahead of when I needed it, so I could keep the grill going at a pretty good capacity. (Though I was giving it 10-15 minutes between each wave of food to return to HOT temperature and clean the grates a bit).

We were serving the food outside, too, so I got to see almost everyone, because they'd have to come out to the patio to get food and many would stay and hang out. AT any given time there was between 6 and 12 people hanging out on the patio, having conversations, etc.

And [livejournal.com profile] gconnor was extremely helpful too--even managing to label the BBQ sauces so we'd quit having to tell everyone which was which. Very smart of him.

Also, the food (recipes posted last night) turned out to be some of the best examples of those two I've ever made. Both came out exactly perfect. It was bliss.

Though my food was so much not the only food available. Chris & Susannah had amassed a huge pile of appetizers, including a big big big pile of gravlox. I had a taste, and for gravlox it was really yummy, though I'm not so good on raw salmon unless it's sushi grade (which has a milder flavor) salmon. However, even with not being thrilled by that flavor it tasted quite good. There were also several kinds of cheese, crackers, fruit, something that looked sushi-like but with fruit, not fish. There were also marinated mushrooms, Aidell's sausages (which are some of the tastiest on the market, IMO). Skewers, which turned out really really good, I thought. And asparagus, which went primarily as fingerfood. And then the desserts...chocolate dipped strawberries, fruit & whipped cream with poundcake, brownies, another piece of cake which I think [livejournal.com profile] jendavis77 brought.

It was good. I had a great time. I really enjoyed being able to man the grill like that and not be running back and forth ferrying food. It was very relaxing.

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