In years past, chicken has not been my friend. I've had many meals at restaraunts and bbqs that lingered in my memory for a long time. Chicken with the texture of shoe leather, undercooked chicken and god forbid boneless, skinless chicken breasts yuck.
Luckily, between my time working at a butcher shop and my passion for cooking tasty meats, chicken is now a regular part of my weekly menu. So I figured I would share with you gentleman a few tips to keep in mind when bbq'ing chicken.
#1- Indirect heat is your friend. If you have a weber (or 4 like I do). I always cook chicken using the ring of fire method. Start a chimney full of coals and when they are hot, dump them in. To that add another half chimney on top. When they get going, make a circle of coals on the perimeter of your grill and put a drip pan in the middle. Fill it with your liquid of choice (apple cider vinegar is mine).
#2- Sear those suckers. If you're doing the ring of fire, sear the chicken on the hot coals to crisp up the skin before moving them to the middle over the drip pan.
#3- Fruit wood is also your friend. Apple is nice, but cherry is better. No need to soak it. If you're doing indirect heat, just throw a handful or two of dry chips on the fire and shut the lid.
#4- Don't forget about the leg quarters. If I've learned anything over the years, its that chicken leg quarters are cheap, delicious and can feed 50 people for under $20. Plus if you take 5 minutes and a pair of kitchen shears, you've got drumsticks and thighs.
#5 - Set it and forget it. Once you sear the chicken pieces, put them in the middle of the grill, close the lid and walk away. your drummies and thighs will be done cooking in 35-40 minutes and if you're doing whole butterflied chickens, 1 hour 45 minutes to 2 hours.
With all that in mind, here's a new rub I've been using on chicken. Its awesome and you don't even need to use any wood with it for a smokey flavor. The chipotles take care of that. I'm sure this would be excellent on chops too. You can double, triple or quadruple this recipe. Any amount you make, it is awesome. When you taste it (if you do), it does have some kick, but keep in mind this will mellow out when you grill it.
Power's pollos hermanos (bonus points if you get the reference here) rub
2 tsp. oregano
1 tbsp. + 1 tsp. granulated garlic
1 tbsp. +1 tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. turbinado sugar
1 tsp. cloves
3 dried chipotle peppers (look in the mexican isle at your grocery store), seeds and stems removed.
Blend all ingredients together in a spice/coffee grinder until a fine powder is formed. The powder will look tan colored, but will turn a dark red/brown when rubbed onto chicken. I usually add 1 tbsp of rub for each 1 lb. of chicken I am making, but use your best judgement. I also marinate my chicken in this mixture for a few hours before cooking, but it can be applied directly to the meat before grilling as well. If anyone tries this rub, please let me know what you think.