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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Alabama Barbecue Chicken

In honor of my pal, Stephen's (The Obsessive Chef) birthday today, my post is dedicated to him :)  And boy will he be so proud...

I brined!

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
Printable Recipe 
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!


One Year Ago:  Italian Baked Pork Chops


Cranberry Morning said...

That looks and sounds delicious! A couple times I've brined the Thanksgiving turkey in salt, water, and Southern Comfort. It made an amazing turkey dinner!

And I still can't get over your fire spinning!!! (and that was the perfect music for it too) :-)

StephenC said...

My birthday chicken was the best Chris ever ate? Thank you for the honor.

Design Wine and Dine said...

This looks awesome!!! My husband does the "indirect" ALL THE time! It works for sure! And the brine - perfect!

Andrea the Kitchen Witch said...

You brined!! Hooray!! The chicken looks GREAT! Love the color on it and the sauce sounds really good too. Different and delicious :) Good for you for doing the indirect cooking method, I can't ever get it to work for me.

Happy Birthday Stephen!

Katrina (Betty Ray) said...

Happy Birthday Stephen. What an awesome birthday meal. Yay for best chicken ever!!! I'll have to try this.

And Jenn, it's never too late for the menu. I took the "Easter" off of mine and just made it a party menu. :)

Mary said...

This sounds wonderful and I imagine it really delivers at the table. I loved your tutorial today. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

Pam said...

I bet you just made Stephen's day! The chicken looks fantastic and the sauce is SCREAMING my name.

Big Dude said...

Looks really good Jenn - I may have a jar of Big Bob's white sauce in the fridge but have never tried this dish.

Jane @ Going Jane said...

Wow! That sounds fabulous!

Michael Toa said...

Looks delicious Jenn. I brined my turkey for Christmas last year and I think brining really made a difference. The turkey was so moist.
I'll be brining some chickens soon as well (a challenge by Stephen) and I cannot wait.

Katie said...

I've always been intimidated by brining...maybe I should finally give it a shot!

Yenta Mary said...

Given your talents at the grill and in the kitchen, if Chris said that this was so fantabulously wonderful, then that IS indeed a great compliment!!!

Debbi Does Dinner Healthy said...

I have not brined meat before but have been wanting to. This sauce sounds awesome too!

Chris said...

I have that same America's Test Kitchen "book" (bookizine?), it's excellent. The best chicken I have ever had in my life (or at least top 3) was when Chris Lilly made this chicken for us last May in a BBQ class here in Knoxville. I love mayo based sauce for chicken, it's amazing.

Great cook, Jenn, the chicken looks perfect.

Apeppe said...
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