If You’ve Got ‘Em, Smoke ‘Em (The Chicken Chronicles, Chapter [N])

Some of you may recall I have a roast chicken obsession.  Been a while since we’ve talked about my problem here, but now’s the time.

Yesterday I mashed together a couple of recipes to come up with this:

That would be Peruvian/beer can chicken, smoked on Weber grill.

The Peruvian stuff is here.  Doubled the marinade for the two chickens.  Spooned it all over under the skin; rubbed the left-overs on the outside.

Took two beer cans, drank half the contents of each,* and  proceeded as directed here: putting the half-empty cans in the cavity, and setting both chickens upright, using the legs to make a tripod. (Forgot this bit: I let the chickens rest (not vertically) for about three hours coming up to room temperature from the fridge before shoving the beer can up their butts and getting ready to sit them on the fire.)

Then: about a chimney full of good charcoal (lump hardwood), a few more chunks once I dumped the chimney out.  When the coals were red with just a grey rim, I tossed on two handfuls of soaked wood chips; made sure the whole smokey mass was to one side of the grill; placed the cooking grated and set the chickens on the cool side of the Weber with their backs to the coals.

Next, I covered the Weber, with the air holes in the lid almost completely open, and let ’em go.  I checked them first at about 15 minutes, and again ten minutes later, when I shut the air vent down a little — maybe to two-thirds open — in a probably feckless gesture at getting a little more smoke.  About ten minutes after that, they were done — in the state you see in the photo above.

I also made the cilantro-feta green sauce from the first link, which I can’t recommend too highly; it’s kind of like a creamy chimichurri.  The other minor note: it’s worth picking up the Peruvian chile pastes.  I tried doing this with substitutes and it just doesn’t come out with the same pop.

In any event, when we got the chicken to the table it was, by general consensus, simply the best chicken we’d ever had.  The Peruvian flavor was present, but not overwhelming; ditto the smoke.  The thigh meat was perfect and yet the breast was not overdone.  It was as moist as any bird I’ve ever had — I’m guessing the combination of the vertical cooking position and the moisture from the beer does some kind of magic.

In the midst of the holy hell that is daily life, I have to say it was a pure pleasure to try something new (to me) and have it come out just right, better than imagined.

(We were cooking for very good friends, and the rest of the meal was not shabby either.  I’ll save the salmon bacon post for later.)

Anyway, the thread is open, but I’d like to know if any of y’all want to share any of your similar experiences:  something you cooked or ate that gave you inordinate pleasure.

Over to you, jackals-with-bibs.

*Of the two, the Snaggle Tooth Bandana IPA was really nice.

 

 



I’d Like Two Supreme Leader Combos, A Glorious Leader With Cheese And A Side Of Kimche, And Supersize the Soju!

The intelligence estimate of what Kim Jong Un is and is not willing to negotiate has leaked! NBC has the details:

A new U.S. intelligence assessment has concluded that North Korea does not intend to give up its nuclear weapons any time soon, three U.S. officials told NBC News — a finding that conflicts with recent statements by President Donald Trump that Pyongyang intends to do so in the future.

President Trump is continuing to pursue a nuclear summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un even though the CIA analysis, which is consistent with other expert opinion, casts doubt on the viability of Trump’s stated goal for the negotiations, the elimination of North Korea’s nuclear weapons stockpile.

“Everybody knows they are not going to denuclearize,” said one intelligence official who read the report, which was circulated earlier this month, days before Trump canceled the originally scheduled summit.

In an odd twist, a list of potential concessions by North Korea in the CIA analysis included the possibility that Kim Jong Un may consider offering to open a Western hamburger franchise in Pyongyang as a show of goodwill, according to three national security officials.

Does The Trump Doctrine of “I will be treated fairly or else” play a role in all this? Yes it does!

It suggests Kim is interested in a peaceful gesture to an American president whose love of fast-food burgers is well known — and who, during the 2016 campaign, had said he wanted to talk nukes over a burger with the North Korean leader.

And I’ll also need an Eternal President of the DPRK happy meal too!

Open thread.



A Late Snack: Caramel Swirl Cake

I made a caramel swirl layer cake with salted caramel ganache for Mother’s Day brunch last week.

I adapted the white layer cake recipe from Epicurious, which you can find at this link. Or use your own preferred white cake recipe. The adaptation was swirling salted caramel ganache into the cake batter before putting it into the oven.

Salted Caramel Ganache

8 ounces of caramels (If you have a recipe for caramels you like and want to do the work, then make them. If there is a for purchase caramels that you like, then save yourself some time and effort and buy them.)

8 ounces of heavy whipping cream

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Kosher salt to taste

Place 8 ounces of caramels in a mixing bowl. Scald the cream and vanilla extract and pour it over the caramels. Because caramels don’t melt like chocolate does, place the mixing bowl over a pot of boiling water as a double boiler. Let the scalded cream sit on the caramels in the double bowler till the caramels are soft enough to whisk the hot cream into, then whisk them together to make the ganache. Add kosher salt to taste, or if you like your caramel unsalted, leave it out. I won’t call the food police. Swirl the caramel ganache into the cake batter after it has been poured into the cake pans and then bake per the recipe’s instruction. They should look something like this:

Once the cakes are done and cool, make another batch of caramel ganache and set it aside until it comes to room temperature. Then whip another 8 ounces of heavy whipping cream till you get stiff peaked whipped cream. Fold the room temperature caramel ganache into the whipped cream to make caramel mousse.

Turn the cake out onto a round, then frost the top of the first layer with mousse. Place the second layer on top, then frost the top of that and the sides of the whole cake. Then place in the refrigerator. Make one last 1/2 batch of the caramel ganache – just 1/2 everything in the recipe – and let it cool to room temperature. Remove the cake from the refrigerator, and pour the ganache over the top and smoothing it out over the top and the sides with a spatula. Then sprinkle the top with kosher salt or whatever your preferred finishing salt is.

 

Then slice and enjoy!

Stay hungry!

Open thread.

 








Nailed It (Open Thread)

Tada!

It’s not perfect. I think I over-whipped the mascarpone cream frosting a teeny bit — it’s on the verge of grainy, to be honest. But it tastes good, and so far, it appears to be holding up in the fridge rather than collapsing into a puddle. It’s not at all runny.

I really wish I’d read the comments in the earlier thread where someone recommended picking up a cherry pitter/stoner before I returned from shopping. Man, that was a mess. Anyhoo, open thread!








Tuesday Morning Open Thread: Culinary Ed for Jingoists

Tonight is the Trump Occupancy’s first official state dinner, and somebody managed to persuade Lord Smallgloves that if he wanted a well-done steak with ketchup, he could eat his own meal early. (And you thought you hated *your* job.) Because the guest of honor is French, and/or because the only Democrat on the guest list is Louisiana Governor Bel Edwards, a Cajun-influenced side dish is included on the menu.

Possibly because the thought of sheep always gets bloviating wingnuts amorphously aroused, Erik Son of Erik, Founder of Red State Trike Farce Strike Force and Professional Christianist, decided to take public offense. Mockery ensued!


Read more



Friday Evening Open Thread

A question: What should I make for dinner? It’s been a long week, and I’m not up for cooking something elaborate this evening. But I can’t push the chore off on the mister because he’s been building a fence all day. Nor can I in good conscience order out since we’ve been doing way too much of that lately. I’m thinking something like baked ziti but am entertaining other ideas.

Other than that, I got nothing. Open thread!



Saturday Morning Open Thread: Experimental Tastes

A break from the ongoing fustercluck, from the Washington Post:

Approach Tunde Wey’s lunch counter/sociology experiment at the Roux Carre market in New Orleans, and — if you’re white — you’ll have a decision to make. And it’s not just whether you want to try his jollof rice or his fried plantains. Wey serves his Nigerian food with a lesson about racial wealth disparity: The median income among African American households in New Orleans is only $25,806, compared to $64,377 for white households. According to the Urban Institute, the national average wealth of white families is $919,000, while the average wealth of black families is $140,000. Wey will share some stats with his customers, and then he’ll tell them the price of their lunch.

If they’re a person of color, they pay $12. If they’re white, he’ll tell them they can either pay $12, or they can pay $30 — two and a half times the base price, which reflects the wealth disparity in New Orleans. He tells them the profits will be redistributed to people of color, but not as charity — just to any minority customers of his who want it, regardless of their income or circumstance.

“When I tell black folks what’s happening, 90 percent of them start laughing, like, ‘For real?’ They’re tickled,” he said. “White folks, there’s this blank — ” he paused and laughed, “— this blank look. They’re like, ‘Huh, okay.’”…

The lunch counter, Saartj, is named after Saartjie Baartman, a South African woman who was put on display in the early 1800s in Europe because of her large buttocks, and given the nickname “the Hottentot Venus.” When Wey devised the project in New Orleans, he wanted to study people’s reactions to it, so he enlisted a student from Tulane University to devise an exit interview that would help him understand why people decided to pay the amount that they chose. After the price reveal, the conversation would typically take one of several established paths. People of color, who were asked if they wanted their money back after the conclusion of the experiment on March 4, typically said no — many said it should go to someone who needed it more than them. Some black people tried to also pay the $30, saying that because they could afford it, they felt obligated to pay the higher price. (Wey would accept only $12 from people of color.) In the end, when Wey totals up the profits, he expects the customers who opted to receive money will get about $75 each. He says he is not keeping any profit for himself.

As for white customers: A handful of them immediately canceled the transaction and walked away. The remainder were faced with “this awkward moment where they have to make a choice” — and, importantly, they had to make that choice in front of Wey.

Initially, he expected that few white people would pay the $30.

“I thought, if given the chance to voluntarily give up privilege, folks would not because it is not in their interest,” he said. But he was wrong: So far, more than 80 percent of white customers have opted to pay the higher price, and Wey realized that he had been underestimating the power of social pressure…

Read the whole thing, if you want to know Wey’s targeted suggestion for “us[ing] food to address racial wealth disparity”.
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Apart from arguing about the worth of a restaurant meal, what’s on the agenda for the day?