Davak's Smoked and Pulled Chicken

September 25th, 2008

I am not a chicken fan… unless it is smoked. I hate chicken salad. But make it with smoked chicken, and I’m in heaven. Chicken sandwich–I’ll eat only if I am pretending to be healthy. A pulled smoked chicken sandwich will always make me happy.

By it’s very nature, chicken is just not very favorable. In other recipes I often brine it to improve the taste. However, smoking chicken just makes it magical.

Davak’s Pulled, Smoked Chicken

1 Chicken with skin (at least halved, but pieces will do)

Marinade:

2 cloves garlic
1.5 tablespoons of Brown Sugar
1 tablespoon of oregano
1½ tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
Several sprigs of Rosemary
10 grinds of salt
10 grinds of black pepper
¾ to 1 cup of Olive Oil

Smoking materials:

Charcoal
Wood
1 can of pineapple juice
1 beer

This is typically a two day process.

Prepare and wash chicken. Halving the chicken speeds up smoking time and increases surface area for the marinade. Pieces of chicken can be used as well but will cook faster.

Prepare marinade in food processor or whisk wet ingredients into dry ones. The resulting mixture will be thick and sticky. Place marinade in plastic bags with chicken parts and ensure that chicken is well covered. Let sit for 4-6 hours in refrigerator. Every hour squeeze bag around and reposition.

One hour prior to initiation of smoking, start soaking wood chips/chunks of various sizes in water. 30 minutes prior to smoking, light charcoal in chimney starter. 15 minutes prior to smoking, start heating beer and pineapple juice to almost boiling. 5 minutes before smoking take chicken out of refrigerator and bury thermometer probe in the thickest area of meat without touching bone.

Initate smoking by doing the following in rapid sequence: Put white, lit charcoal in smoker. Cover fire with well drained, but soaked wood chips and chunks. Fill liquid reservoir in smoker with warmed beer/pineapple juice mixture. Place chicken in smoker, connect temperature probe, and securely close the smoker.

Smoke at least two hours and my goal smoking time is three hours. Pull off once internal temperature is 165 degrees F. If chicken is having a hard time reaching goal temperature, finish in oven at 300 degrees F. While in oven, keep wrapped tightly in aluminum foil to prevent drying. Once goal temperature is reached, take out and let rest until cool enough to pull apart.

Serve warm.

To add additional flavor, pull the chicken but leave the majority of the bones and skin. Allow to rest overnight in the refrigerator before finishing the pulling the next day by removing everything except the meat. We frequently will smoke several chicken at a time and freeze any extra meat.

Serving suggestions include sandwiches, chicken salad, chicken pesto pasta, or as a pizza topping.

Davak's Salsa Fresca

September 25th, 2008

If you liked my BBQ sauce, I bet you’ll love my salsa. The lime juice and cilantro power it with freshness.

Davak’s Salsa Fresca

6-8 Roma Tomatoes (cored, seeded)
1 8oz can tomato sauce
1/4 cup of sweet onion
1 clove of garlic (diced)
1 bunch cilantro (no stems, leaves only)
1 jalapeno (seeded and diced)
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2-3 tablespoons of lime juice
Cumin, Chile Powder, Salt, Pepper

Quick method:

The quick method is to throw all the prepared ingredients (minus lime juice and spices) into a food processor and blend. Based on personal taste, add lime juice and finish it with a generous amount of the spices. The flavor is wonderful. My only knock is that the salsa will be green from the cilantro and without much texture. Let rest for at least one hour and re-season before serving.

Slower method:

Wash and remove stems from cilantro. Chop cilantro finely. Chop onion finely. Sauté or rest onion in ice water to remove bitterness. Mix the prepared ingredients and flavor it with lime juice and spices as described above. Let rest for at least one hour and re-season before serving.

This method yields a much prettier red salsa with chunks of tomato and bits of onion and jalapeno. The bitterness of the onion is much more apparent when not blended; thus the need for the sauté or ice water step. The cilantro’s green littering of the salsa is visually very appealing.

Enjoy!

Davak's BBQ Sauce

September 14th, 2008

Yesterday, with all the chicken I smoked and the ribs that were falling off the bone, I needed a friendly homemade BBQ sauce to compliment everything. I have been working on BBQ sauces for a couple of years now, but this one was easily the best one. Like all good recipes, pieces of it were stolen from many places with my own twists added.

Davak’s BBQ Sauce

1/4 cup of sweet onion
1 cup ketchup
1 cup molasses
2 1/2 tablespoon of Brown Sugar
1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
8 oz of tomato sauce

I use a food processor and start by liquifying the onions. I then add everything else and blend and blend. Certainly, combining and mixing the ingredients manually is possible. This will store well in the refrigerator for a while at this point.

One hour before serving the meats, put the bbq sauce in a sauce pot and slowly simmer. Serve warm.