I have been so hesitant to try brining again, as the first time I did it, the pork I brined turned out to be more like a salt lick then an actually edible piece of meat. Ok, ok...I believe the problem was because I did not rinse the meat, but still... I was not in a hurry to try it again.
I put all those fears aside yesterday and brined a whole chicken. Do I think it made a difference? I don't know. Next time, if I think about it before hand, I should keep half the chicken out of the brine and than cook it the same as the chicken in the brine...that truly will be the only way to tell. BUT, because I know three bloggers that swear by it...and I trust these three bloggers with all their food advices...I'm going to say that it at least did not hurt the chicken. For those of you not familiar with this process, brining is similar to marinating. Brining using a lot of salt. The salt basically works its way into the meat and cells to help keep the meat from dehydrating.
I will say that the brining helped with this chicken, but I also think that the flavors of the spice mix and sauce mix help that out too. And let's not forget my patience at the grill. I took advice from Chris at Nibble Me This who talks about indirect cooking all of the time. I finally put that method to use too. I started off with all three burners on and then turned the fire off directly under the chicken after about 8 minutes. I had to adjust that heat from time to time throughout the grilling process, but the key is to keep the temperature in the grill at 350-375. Whatever the reason....whatever the process...this chicken was fantastic. Spicy and moist and incredibly delicious.
I think Chris even claimed - "it was the best chicken I have ever made" :) I'll take that compliment!!
Alabama Barbecue Chicken
Adapted from America's Test Kitchen Best-Ever Recipes
For the sauce -
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon prepared horseradish
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
For the chicken -
1 whole chicken (2-4 lbs), rinsed and giblets removed
1/2 gallon water
1/3 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup hickory wood chips, soaked in water for 30 minutes, drained and sealed in a foil packet with slits cut out of the top
vegetable oil for the grill grates
For the sauce - mix all ingredients in a small bowl until well combined and smooth. Refrigerate in an airtight container for at least 1 hour, or up to 2 days. Reserve half of the sauce for dipping - the rest of the sauce will be used to brush over the chicken after it has cooked.
For the chicken - in a very large bag set inside a large pot, add the water, salt, sugar, garlic powder, and 1 teaspoon black pepper. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Place the whole chicken in the bag and seal. Allow to brine for at least 2 hours. Remove from the brine and rinse thoroughly. Pat chicken dry. Remove the back bone and cut the chicken into halves or quarters. In a small bowl, mix together the remaining pepper and cayenne together. Season the chicken and place on a platter in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
Place the wood chip packet directly on the primary burner. Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat the grill until hot and the wood chips begin smoking, about 15 minutes. Turn all burners to medium-low. (Adjust the burners as needed to maintain temperature around 350 degrees F.)
Use a grill brush to scrape the grates clean. Lightly dip a wad of paper towels in oil. Holding the wad with tongs, wipe the cooking grates in the center of the grill. Place the chicken skin side down in center of the grill, cover, and grill for 10 minutes. Turn off the middle burner and grill another 10-15 minutes longer. Turn the middle burner back on and flip the chicken over. Grill for 10 minutes. Turn the middle burner off again and grill another 10-15 minutes or until the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 160-165 degrees F.
Transfer the chicken to a cutting board or platter and brush with 2 tablespoons of the sauce. Tent with foil and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Remove the foil tent and brush with another 2 tablespoons of the sauce. Serve and additional sauce and enjoy!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY STEPHEN!!
One Year Ago: Italian Baked Pork Chops