Fire up your food

Mix up your menu with the sim­ply art of smok­ing your meat

Isis Town and Country - - Life -

FIRE is a won­drous chem­i­cal re­ac­tion that has shaped Homo Sapi­ens into what we are to­day.

It gave us the abil­ity to eat things that would nor­mally be ined­i­ble.

Take the potato for in­stance; this starchy tu­ber of the hem­lock fam­ily will make you quite ill if in­gested raw, not to men­tion path­o­genic bird meats that will down right kill you with sal­mo­nella.

Of course we’re for­get­ting the best part of what fire does to our food; it makes it taste awe­some.

Marsh­mal­lows toasted over an open camp fire, char­grilled steaks on a Sun­day arvo. Oh, and there’s caramel; milk and sugar blended to­gether and cooked un­til thick and golden and sticky.

I love fire, low and slow with aro­matic hard­woods added for flavour and aroma, and you will too when you sam­ple The Culi­nary Barbarian’s, smoked and black­ened bar­be­cue chicken with slow roasted sweet pota­toes.

Find this and more great recipes at www.culi­nary­bar­bar­ian.com. Smoked and black­ened bar­be­cue chicken with slow roast sweet pota­toes

In­gre­di­ents:

1 whole chicken, about 2.5kg 1.5kg sweet potato 1 cup vine­gar 6 pack of beer (5 to drink and 1 sac­ri­fi­cial)

Brine:

¼ cup salt ¼ cup brown sugar 1 tbs whole black pep­per­corns 2 tsp bruised ju­niper berries 2 tsp whole cloves 1 onion, cut into 8 3 gar­lic cloves crushed Wa­ter to cover

Dry Rub:

¼ cup sweet pa­prika 1 tbs salt 2 tbs of coarsely ground black pep­per ¼ cup brown sugar 2 tsp gar­lic pow­der 2 tsp onion pow­der 1 tbs mustard pow­der 1 tbs chilli pow­der ½ tsp nut­meg 1 tbs all­spice 1 tbs cumin

Spe­cial Items:

Probe ther­mome­ter Gas or char­coal bar­be­cue with fuel Smok­ing box (if us­ing gas) Light flavoured wood chips or chunks like fruit­woods (ap­ple, cherry, plum) other hard­woods (mesquite) or even sug­ar­cane. The size of the wood­chips or chunks de­pends on the type of smoker you are us­ing or if you’re us­ing a smok­ing box (metal box or dis­pos­able alu­minium tray to be placed over di­rect heat that causes the wood to char and then smoul­der and smoke. In this in­stance I used my new char­coal smoker so I re­quired large chunks about 5cmx5cmx5cm roughly. Th­ese need to be soaked in liq­uid to max­imise the smok­i­ness. Wa­ter will do but I like to soak mine in a com­bi­na­tion of beer and vine­gar. Plus, it gives me an ex­cuse to buy beer. Oh… buy beer.

Method:

On a plas­tic cut­ting board, place the chicken breast side down and with kitchen shears, cut the chicken up the spine from neck to tail. Stretch and flat­ten the chicken and with the shears, care­fully re­move the spine while keep­ing most of the meat in­tact. With a sharp bon­ing knife, re­move the breast car­ti­lage, the pelvic bone and the ribs. Turn the but­ter­flied chicken over and clip the wing tips with the kitchen shears. Make the brine by com­bin­ing all of the brin­ing dry in­gre­di­ents, gar­lic and onions in a seal­able plas­tic con­tainer, large enough to fit the chicken. Add a lit­tle boil­ing wa­ter and stir un­til the salt and sugar are dis­solved then top with cold wa­ter. Sub­merge the chicken, seal and re­frig­er­ate overnight. The next day, pre­heat the smoker/ bar­be­cue. The heat we want for the chicken is be­tween 120-130C. This is quite hot for most bar­be­cue smok­ing but we’re af­ter firm moist chicken, not fall­ing apart. Soak the wood chips/chunks. Make the dry rub by com­bin­ing all of the spice rub in­gre­di­ents and mix­ing un­til well com­bined. Re­move the chicken from the brine and pat dry with pa­per towel. En­sure the chicken is dry all over, es­pe­cially the skin. Ap­ply the rub lib­er­ally all over the chicken un­til com­pletely cov­ered. When the bar­be­cue hits temp, pop the chicken and the whole sweet pota­toes in. If us­ing a gas grill bar­be­cue, off­set the chicken away from di­rect heat and place the soaked wood chips in their smoker box over the heat. If us­ing char­coal, place your wood chunks di­rectly on to the coals. Close the lid. In about 15 min­utes you should see white, aro­matic smoke. When the smoke dies down it’s time to add more chips. Be or­gan­ised and add th­ese quickly; ev­ery time you lift that lid you’re adding 10-15 min­utes to the cook­ing time. Cook for 2 ½ hours and turn. Re­turn the lid and cook for a fur­ther 30 min­utes. The chicken will be black­ened all over from the smoke cur­ing the spice rub and the pota­toes will also be black­ened and slightly shriv­elled. Rest the chicken for 20 min­utes. Peel the skin from the pota­toes white still hot by hold­ing with a tea towel and us­ing tongs. When slic­ing the chicken you should hear a crackle when slic­ing through the skin and the breast meat and legs will be suc­cu­lent and moist. You should see pink rings where the smoke has pen­e­trated the flesh. Serve with the sweet pota­toes, pan drip­ping gravy and your favourite slaw.

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