November 2019


Our Cooked Spatcock Chicken with Fresh Curry

Our Cooked Spatchcock Chicken with Fresh Curry

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Spatchcock Chicken– One of the questions I field the most is how do you keep chicken moist when you grill?

Today’s feature is intended to answer that question with both method of preparation to allow the chicken to cook evenly and method of wood firing to get exceptional wood flavoring yet be able to walk away from the grill.  I’ll be offering my version of spatchcock chicken with a curry flavor cooked two-zone set up on a gas grill.  Once you try this method of cooking, you’ll want to grill chicken this way all the time, even during the coldest months of the year.  And it will come out perfectly moist and cooked evenly every time.

Go pick up your ideal whole chicken, preferably fresh, and let’s learn the simplest method of cooking and flavoring whole chicken.

Flatten to Even Cooking

The chicken needs to be flatten, so some knife skills will be required

#spatchcockchicken

Spatchcocking, by definition, is the removal of the backbone in a chicken so you can flatten it for cooking.  This ensures an even cooking of dark and white meat in the bird, while also guaranteeing moisture is maintained.

To start, you’ll need a whole chicken with the organs and neck removed.  Turn the chicken so the breast is down on the cutting board.  Locate the backbone and cut along one side of the bone with kitchen shears.  Then cut along the other side until the entire backbone is removed.  Turn the chicken back around so the breast is facing up.

With the backbone removed, I prepare a sheet pan lined with foil for cooking.  I place the palm of my hand on the breastbone of the chicken and push downward to break the cartilage.  The chicken will now lie completely flat.  I remove the chicken from the cutting board and place on my prepared sheet pan breast side up.  Be sure to wash all cutting tools and boards at this stage to remove any contamination of the raw poultry.  Let’s get ready to make our curry sauce for the spatchcock chicken.

Tasting Notes: If fresh whole chicken is not available, you may substitute frozen whole chicken.  Just be sure it is completely defrosted and pat dried before starting this recipe.

 Curry Sauce & Wood Infusion

Fresh curry from our garden

#freshcurry

Although I’m referring to this as a Curry Chicken recipe, note this is not a recipe that cooks for hours like a traditional Indian Curry.  It is fast but highly flavorful.  It all starts with 1 stick of butter melted in a saucepan over medium heat.  To that I add about 2-3 tablespoons of curry powder.  Then 3 tablespoons of Dijon mustard and 3 tablespoons of honey.  Whisk until well combined ensuring the butter does not separate.  I then remove from the heat and grind fresh black pepper into the mix.  I also have fresh curry on hand that I will be topping my sauced chicken with for added fresh curry flavor.

Time to take our great sauce and begin coating our spatchcocked chicken.  Using a basting brush, add a liberal amount of sauce to the entire chicken, ensuring you get under the wings and legs.  Be sure all crevices are coated.  Then top with fresh curry leaves.  While I’m completing the sauce step, I’ve been preheating my grill to 300°F using burners on only one side of the grill.  On that hot side, I’ve added a smoker box that contains four wood chunks.  I’ve used a combination of hardwoods including cherry, maple and ash.  With the grill hot and the wood chunks smoking, it’s time to grill!

Tasting Notes: Fresh curry can be difficult to find so feel free to eliminate this step if it’s not available.  Remember, when two-zone cooking on a grill, the total number of burners will determine how many to turn on.  If the unit is only a three burner, just turn one burner on.  For a four-burner grill, turn on just two burners.

Ready in a Flash!

With our prepared spatchcock curry chicken readied, the sheet pan is added to the grill and the lid is closed.  I leave this to cook on its own for about an hour before returning to rotate the pan and coat on some additional sauce.  I also change out the wood chunks as you’ll find that they have completely charred, which means they no longer are giving off smoke flavor.  I only add 2 new wood chunks to finish the grilling.  Another 20-30 minutes and this should be cooked to 165°F internal temperature.   I then remove from the grill and begin carving.

Our finished curry chicken from the grill

#currychicken

I remove the leg quarters first, then the wings.  Then I slice the breast meat and serve everything on a platter.  You’ll find a small amount of meat will clings and become pulled chicken.  That’s it!  I like to serve mine with rice using the residual juices as flavor for the rice.  This is absolutely a full proof way to get moist flavorful chicken from the grill in a relatively short period of time.

What’s your favorite spatchcock chicken recipe?  Leave us a comment to opine and subscribe to get all our postings on tips, techniques and recipes.  Bringing innovation to wood fired cooking with recipes, techniques and the science behind the fire, smoke, and flavor. That’s SmokinLicious®.

 

SmokinLicious® Products:

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

For more reading related to

 More recipes to try:

-SALT-FREE DRY RUBBED CHICKEN DRUMSTICKS

-SMOKED POTATO CURRY SMOKINLICIOUS® STYLE!

-CORNISH GAME HEN MEETS

-SMOKE A TURKEY- LEARN HOW

Dr. Smoke- our Spachcock Chicken with Fresh Curry from our Garden is a yummy treat!

Dr. Smoke- our Spachcock Chicken with Fresh Curry from our Garden is a yummy treat!

Our Savory Corn Muffins on the cool down rack. Just waiting to be served!

Our Savory Corn Muffins on the cool down rack. Just waiting to be served!

ADDING A SMOKY INGREDIENT FOR A SAVORY CORN MUFFINS

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Ready for a savory take on the standard corn muffin recipe?  I’m adding a smoked chive to bring these muffins to a whole new level.

You may have seen someone bake cornbread in a cast iron skillet on the grill but that’s just cast iron cooking.  I’m taking fresh chives that have been smoked on the stovetop with hardwood chips from SmokinLicious® and adding them to a favorite buttermilk cornbread recipe for a sweet-savory combination.  You can read about our technique for smoking the chives in Dr. Smoke’s Tips and Technique blog.

We are pouring our batter into the muffin pan and topping it off with our smoked chives in preparation for bacon.

A Flavorful Batter

To make 12 muffins you’ll need the following:

  • 1-1/4 cups fat-free buttermilk
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup yellow cornmeal, medium ground
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoons baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 3 oz. grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 3 Tablespoons finely chopped smoked fresh chives, divided

Preheat the oven to 400° F.  Combine the buttermilk, olive oil, and egg in a small bowl.  Combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and ground red pepper in a medium size bowl, stirring well with a whisk.  Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour into that well the milk mixture, stirring just until moist.  Stir in ½ cup of the cheese and 2 Tablespoons of the smoked chives.  Spoon into 12 muffin cups that have been greased.  Sprinkle muffins with the remaining cheese and chives.  Now bake in the oven for about 13 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs.  Remove from the oven and the remove the muffins from the tin to a wire cooling rack.

Tasting Notes

Our finished muffins hot from the oven on our plate to be served with your favorite jam or butter.

There are so many variations you can add to this standard recipe while keeping the smoked chives.

  • Add fruit such as blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries and leave out the cheese and pepper.
  • Go meaty with bacon or pancetta but hold the sugar and think about adding a different cheese such as Gruyere or Swiss.
  • You can also change the flavor by swapping out almond flour or coconut flour for the all-purpose.

The Culinary Crew wants you to know …

… that smoked herbs, as noted in this “great comfort food” recipe can really add a flavor dimension that pleases many a palate.  Be adventurous this holiday season when it comes to your favorite recipes featuring herbs like chives, rosemary, thyme and sage by enhancing their flavor appeal with a touch of wood fired smoke.  You and your guest will be treated with awesome tastes!

SmokinLicious® products:

Wood Chips- Minuto®

Additional reading:

-EMBER FIRED EGGPLANT & FETA TARTS

-ROOTING FOR GLAZED SMOKED TURNIPS

-Crostini with Smoked Asparagus

Dr Smoke

Dr Smoke -You will love these corn muffins with a touch of smoky flavor!

 

Our photo of the turkey with herbs shows the golden brown from the cooking process. Follow our smoke a turkey instructions in this blog so you can produce great results on your next turkey cook.

Smoke a Turkey with our easy to do tips will result in awesome color and flavor. Give it a try!

HOW TO SMOKE A TURKEY

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There are so many ways to smoke a turkey with the main difference found in the amount of time for both preparation and cooking.  One of the favorite methods is hot smoking whether done on a traditional smoker, charcoal grill, or gas grill.

To smoke a turkey, you’ll need the following supplies:

  • Grill or Smoker plus fuel for the equipment (charcoal, propane)
  • Wood Chunks
  • Meat Thermometer
  • Dry Rub and/or Brine (about 1 cup of dry rub and 2 cups brine)
  • Whole Turkey preferably fresh and less than 18 lbs.
  • Aluminum Pan
  • Aluminum foil and towels or an insulated blanket

Preparations Before You Smoke

The cleaning of the bird is the same as when you do traditional roasting; removal of the giblets and neck, rinsing and drying the bird, and trimming any loose skin.  However, don’t truss or tie the legs as this can make it harder to cook the bird completely through when smoking.  You can use toothpicks to pin the wings in if they seem to be falling away from the bird.  If you elect to brine your turkey, be sure to start this process at least a day ahead of smoking.  Even brined birds will have more flavor if a dry rub is applied. So apply any combination of dry ingredients you prefer to the turkey, being sure to put some of the rubs under as well as on top of the skin.  Refrigerate the rubbed turkey overnight.

Once you’re ready to smoke, remove the turkey from the refrigerator and rub a small amount of oil on the skin, especially the bottom portion that will be touching the grill grates.  This will keep the bird from sticking.  Don’t apply oil to the grates as that will not guarantee the bird won’t stick!  Always place a cold turkey on the grill or smoker as cold will attract more smoke vapor.  Plan about 30 minutes cooking time per pound.

Preparing the Grill or Smoker

Charcoal Grill/Smoker:

Charcoal base with Smokinlicious® wood chunks added

When using a traditional smoker, you can simply place the charcoal and wood chunks, as normally done, for a long smoking event.  Usually, you position unlit charcoal in the firebox. Then lite a chimney starter full of charcoal and pour that next to the unlit charcoal.  Then place a few wood chunks on the lite charcoal and some on the unlit areas so you will have wood flavor infusion during the entire cooking process.  Place a disposable pan under the turkey that contains a few cups of water or mix of water and broth/stock.  This will add moisture to the cooking environment and collect all the turkey drippings if you should want to make gravy.  The goal is to maintain a cooking temperature of 225-275°F, though you can go as high as 300°F if desired.

When using a kettle-style charcoal grill, set up the drip pan and the turkey to one side of the grill, placing the hot coals on the opposite side.  You can also set up some fire bricks in the charcoal area to retain more heat and stabilize the temperature.

Gas/Propane Grill:

Smoke coming from our wood chunks! Using a two zone cooking method

These grills need to be set up using an indirect method of cooking – heat on one side meaning burners on one side lite while the turkey and drip pan goes on the unlit side.  Wood chunks will be placed on the heat shields of the lit burners. These will smolder/burn giving off true wood flavor. Additionally, smoker wood chunks last a lot longer than using wood chips in a smoker box or foil pouch.  Still, maintain a temperature of 250-275°F which can be tricky.  You will have to see how many burners need to stay lit to do this technique. Then check the level of heat those burners need to be set to for that temperature.  Certainly, you can cook at a higher temperature if you like but you may need to replenish the wood chunks as they will likely combust faster.

Don’t Fuss

It’s important that you allow the turkey to cook on its own without fussing with the lid.  Each time you open the lid, you release smoke vapor as well as heat.  If you want the bird to cook in a reasonable amount of time, then leave the lid alone.

Never stuff a turkey that will be smoked as this causes the overall cooking time to extend and produce overcooked meat.  Heat flow is blocked by anything put in the cavity as well so try to avoid stuffing herbs, citrus slices, etc. in there.

Always use a quality digital thermometer.  You’re looking for the breast meat to register 160°F.  You can remove from the grill/smoker at that point.  Remember, if left sitting, the bird will continue to cook from all the radiant heat that has been trapped in the bones and meat.

Final Tips

If you need more than 18 lbs. of turkey, then consider smoking two smaller birds doing the same set up as above, just with two birds on the grill.

Feel free to mix some of your dry rubs with melted butter and a little oil and brush this mixture on the bird during the final hour of cooking.  It will produce a fabulous color to the bird and help crisp the skin.

Remember, turkeys labeled as basted or enhanced contain a salt solution so be sure you season lightly so you don’t end up with a salty outcome.

You do not need to foil or tent the turkey when smoking.  Let the air always circulate for the entire cooking process.

When cooking with charcoal, you will likely need less wood than with the gas/propane grill.

 

I hope I’ve inspired you to try smoke a turkey, so you can see just how unbelievably flavorful and easy this technique is.  Remember to leave a comment and subscribe to our channel.  Bringing you tips, techniques, recipes, and the science behind the fire and flavor – that’s®!

The Culinary Crew wants you to know…

that whether it’s smoking a turkey or any meat/protein food item, our recommendation to “Don’t Peek and Let the Smoker Apparatus Do Its Trick” is very important and can’t be stressed enough!  Be patient and keep the lid on!  You’ll be rewarded with incredible coloring and awesome flavor!  If you’re tempted to look, resist the urge by thinking of this in much the same light as many of us did when we saw that Christmas present under the tree days before Advent, all wrapped up nicely with a tag that beckons- ‘Don’t Open Until Christmas!’ Don’t ruin the joy by spoiling the element of surprise and satisfaction!

For step-by-step instructions visit our YouTube channel

For step-by-step instructions visit our YouTube channel

Smokinlicious products used in this Blog:

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

additional reading published in our blogs

Additional reading for subjects beyond Smoke a Turkey

Additional reading:

-GIVE ME THAT BEEF BRISKET!

-HOW TO TURN YOUR LP/GAS GRILL INTO A SMOKER

-SALT CHOICES: HOW MUCH AND WHAT KIND?

Dr Smoke

Dr. Smoke- “Smoking a turkey does not have to be limited to an actual smoker unit- remember your gas grill is an oven and can be cooked on it by adding wood chunks to give it extra flavor.”