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Not “The Best” Marinade for Chicken

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Chicken quarters on the Egg

A few days ago, a member on the Big Green Egg forum shared a link to a blog for  “The Best Grilled Chicken Marinade”. I thought it sounded ok, but the title was off putting. Something about bloggers claiming “the best” anything just turns me off. Makes me not want to even try it.

A day or two later, I find myself needing a marinade for some chicken quarters and I stumbled on that same site again. Was it fortuitous? Was it destiny? Or was it just dumb luck?

I made a few changes. Didn’t have white onion, so subbed red onion. Italian parsley for parsley as I had that on hand. Garlic? I almost always double what a recipe called for. Same with cayenne pepper. After mixing it up, I tasted it and decided it wasn’t quite there for me so I added in 2 tsp of Louisiana hot sauce (I went light knowing that Duke would probably be eating some chicken). Mixed it all up, reserved about a cup or so and dumped the rest on some chicken quarters and let it go just short of 24 hours in the fridge.

Ingredients

  • 12oz Mexican beer (I used Tecate, but any popular ones like Dos Equis or Modelo Especial would work)
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 tsp hot sauce
  • 4 Tbsp chopped red onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • ½ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper

The next day, I got the Egg ready for a raised direct cook at 450F. Notice I said raised? I wouldn’t try this at the normal grate level of a Kamado cooker or direct on any other grill. You want to cook this either above the gasket of your Kamado grill or indirectly on a gas or charcoal grill. All that fat will cause flare ups and flare ups are bad. I threw in a bit of peach wood cuz why not? I had it on hand and fruit wood goes good with poultry.

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My setup for this cook. I used an Adjustable Rig from the Ceramic Grill Store and had my grate on the top level.

This cook took around 40-45 minutes, checking on it every 10-15 minutes, flipping and moving the chicken as needed. Poultry is generally safe to pull at 160F as it will continue to rise, but I like to take dark meat a little higher. 170-175 generally. Allows more fat to render out and the skin to get crispy.

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Getting there

The last 5-10 minutes, take the reserved marinade and brush it on the chicken, but watch out…it will cause your fire to start flaring up. If you aren’t using a Kamado grill, now might be a good time to take that chicken and move it to direct heat to get the skin to crisp up, but keep a close eye on it as it will burn fast.

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Done

I think the chicken came out pretty good. Had a good flavor to it, just a tad bit of heat, barely noticeable, but still tasty. Had a very interesting orange almost peachy color to it. Not sure what that was, but I know cherry wood can make poultry appear reddish, so I’m guessing it was from the peach wood.  Duke ate it up, but that’s not saying much. He’s hit or miss lately on whether he wants to eat meat on any given night. The wife and I both liked it. Was it the best? No. Was it the greatest? No. Was it good? Yeah, and I’d probably make it again. Probably tweak it a little more, so yeah…there you go. A pretty good marinade for chicken that won’t disappoint you that has potential to be really good if you doctor it up to meet your tastes.

Two pet peeves about the original post:

  1. I hate it when recipes say beer. Just beer. What kind of beer? An ale or a lager? Dark or light beer? Hoppy like an IPA? There are so many kinds of beer out there and each could add its own flavor. I went with a Mexican beer because I figured a light beer would work best with chicken. It was left in my fridge by somebody and I was willing to sacrifice it over one of my homebrews. Plus it wouldn’t be too hoppy. I think I’d like to try it again with a Hefeweizen or a Wit beer to see how that might work.
  2. “The Best” Who decided it was the best? Was there a panel of judges and if so, what are there qualifications? What was the judging criteria? Has it won any awards at any BBQ competitions? Look, I understand they are trying to…actually I don’t understand what they are trying to do. It might be good, it might be great, I just hate it when bloggers (or anybody) calls something “the best”

 

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Settling in to a new Home

Moving.

Nobody likes to do it. Sure, the prospect of a new place is fun. But the actual moving…not so much. Packing, turning off utilities and setting up new ones, getting all the bills updated with new addresses. The actual physical act of moving (while a new roof was getting installed on the same day !!). And then unpacking. Throw in a 17 month old boy, a sick wife and a MIL on moving day and well I’ll let you imagine…

But now we’ve been in the new place for two weeks and things are starting to get back to normal.

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We’ve landed on the tee box on the 18th hole of a golf course somewhere or other
I knew when we first saw the house, that we’d start cooking more outside once again. Mr.s G really did not like the backyard at the last place and I don’t blame her. But she’s enjoying being outside here, and so has Duke.

We had to break in the house with some burgers

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There’s something special about lighting up a grill at your new place for the first time…
Done

 

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Served on our finest China of course
And some simple drumsticks

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Nothing fancy here
And fish is always healthy

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Rainbow trout, I believe
And can’t go wrong with pizza

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My preferred setup on the Egg for the dough we like
And what Texan doesn’t like brisket

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I’ll let you wonder how it turned out. I might have had one too many and then forgot to take pictures. LOL
Last night I tried a new marinade for shrimp. It was pretty darn tasty, but I think I need to tweak it a bit. When I get it down just right, I’ll be sharing it here I think.

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Pretty good shrimp, but they need some work
And after Duke went to bed, I smoked some meatballs that will be for dinner tomorrow night.

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Meatball’s view of the backyard
I tasted one when they came off and I can already tell you that they will also need work. Not enough seasoning in them at all. Another item to work on.

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Meatballs finishing up
So that’s what’s been keeping us busy lately. We’ve got a ton of work to do. Landscaping, expanding the patio possibly. Tons of little projects here and there that went neglected with the last owner. I’m gonna have to do something to get the Egg off the porch since its so small and still keep it covered so I can grill/smoke in the elements. All the joys of home ownership. At least Mrs. G was smart enough to convince me to get the inside of the house painted before we moved in…

And I couldn’t leave without the obligatory pic of the kiddo.

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Monkeying around at the aquarium

Alabama White Wings

Geez…it’s been a long time. I s’pose I could give you a dozen reasons why I haven’t done a blog post in a while, but I’m not that kinda guy, this isn’t that type of blog and you probably don’t care. So I’ll just give you one…

Meet Duke
Meet Duke

I’m sure you don’t want to see a ton of baby pics. Nobody does unless they are family or close friends, but let me say he’s already made a pilgrimage to Lockhart. And while he didn’t get to try the brisket (come on, he only had two teeth at the time), I know he’s looking forward to it.

Duke's first trip to Black's BBQ in Lockhart, Texas
Duke’s first trip to Black’s BBQ in Lockhart, Texas

OK. On to the real reason you are here. BBQ. You know my obsession with wings. My fifth food group. Love just about any type of wing out there. I’ll try any kind and I’m always searching for new recipes. So why did it never occur to me to add Alabama white sauce? No clue, but when Mrs. G showed me the recipe in her latest Southern Living, I knew it was on.

Now, I’m no expert on Alabama sauce. Never been there. Never eaten it out at a BBQ joint. I’ve made it once, but I have no idea how authentic that, or this recipe, was, but I was willing to try it. For you guys. ‘Cause that’s the kinda guy I am.

As I mentioned, this recipe came from Southern Living. June 2015 issue, page 118. I did make one change to the recipe. It called for Creole Mustard. I didn’t have any, so I used Gulden’s Spicy Brown Mustard. Didn’t feel like going to the store and I figured it was close enough. Oh, and I didn’t oil my wings and toss with salt and pepper. I skipped the oil and used John Henry’s Texas Chicken Tickler rub, although any good bbq or chicken rub would work.

Alabama White Sauce

  • 1/3 cup Mayo (We use Duke’s)
  • 3 Tbsp chopped fresh chives
  • 1 Tbsp prepared horseradish
  • 4 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp Creole mustard (or spicy brown)
  • 1 tsp coarsely ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1 finely grated garlic clove

Makes about 2/3 cup which will be plenty for about 3 lbs of wings

Whisk together all the ingredients a coupla hours ahead of time, or overnight if you have the time, and park it in the fridge until you are ready to use

I’m not going to get into how to grill wings again. I’ve done it plenty of times. In fact, I don’t even do them the same way twice anymore. Get your grill somewhere around 400-450F indirect, cook turning every so often until temp reaches 175-180F. Thirty, forty minutes or so. Or a coupla beers. I don’t know. I wasn’t paying attention. Just enjoying the evening You really can’t overdo wings like you can a chicken breast, and that higher temp gets you a crispy skin.

Grill chicken wings indirect
Grill chicken wings indirect

When the wings are done, place them in a large bowl and pour the sauce over and toss to coat.

Getting happy
Getting happy in the sauce

Once the wings are nice and coated, grab a roll of paper towels, or a real towel, dig in and enjoy.

Dinner is served
Dinner is served

I really wanted to have some tater tots on the side, but I remembered I didn’t have what you would call a healthy lunch, so I opted for a salad instead.

I thought the wings were pretty good. Interesting for sure. Creamy and tangy. And messy…like all wings should be. Mrs. G used the words “Unique” and “Different” and “Tangy”. Not my favorite wing ever, but not bad. I’d probably do them again. Maybe even try it with some half chickens or chicken pieces.

Like I said before, I have no idea if the sauce is authentic, so please don’t come cursing me and saying that this isn’t real Alabama sauce. And that no self respecting Alabaman (is that right?) would make it that way. I’m just a guy following a recipe.

I’m gonna try and start writing some more posts again. I’m not gonna promise one a week, or every other week. I don’t want to lie to you or myself. Hell, I might not make one a month. I’ve got other things that are demanding my attention, but when I get time and when I stumble on a good recipes worth sharing, I’ll try to get them up here for you. For now, I’ll leave you with one final parting shot…

Is there anything cuter than a sleeping baby on your lap? Goodnight.
Is there anything cuter than a sleeping baby on your lap? Goodnight.

Soy Vay Island Teriyaki Pork Tenderloin

Picked up some pork tenderloins the other day at Sams’s. 3 went in the freezer and one took a 24 hour bath in this stuff.

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First time trying it out, sounded interesting. For this cook, I decided to use the Mini since it’s been sitting dormant for a while. Went and ahead and hooked up the new Flame Boss 100 to see how it would work on the Mini and a direct cook. Set it for 400.

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Tenderloins sure do take up a lot of room on the Mini. Almost done.

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Took about 30 minutes or so to hit 145, I was shooting for 140. Don’t tell anybody.

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You  noticed the tooth picks sticking out of one end? I like to fold over the skinny end of a tenderloin and secure it in place. I find that if left alone, that skinny end will end up being way overdone. I’ve tried using butcher’s twine, but the skinny end tends to slip out when the tenderloin is flipped. Toothpicks just seem to work better for me.
As always with large proteins, I let it rest about 10 minutes before slicing.

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Look at all that juice!! We served it up on a bed of rice and drizzled on some of the reserved marinade. When using marinade that has touched raw meat, I boil it for 10 minutes and then let simmer until it reduced and thickened up a bit. I don’t know if that is technically “safe” and might not be restaurant approved, so do it at your own risk. I’ve never gotten sick, nor has anybody I’ve ever served, but I’m throwing out a little warning there for you to heed or not.

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I was actually a bit surprised. It came out really good. Not really like your average teriyaki at all. Not overly salty, but had a sweetness to it that was very interesting. Even though I overshot the temp I was gonna pull it at by 5 degrees, it was still plenty juicy and oh so tender.  The leftovers are gonna make some great sliders served up on some King’s Hawaiian rolls. 😀 I just wish I had made some kind of slaw and/or caramelized onions to go along with it.  Will definitely use this marinade again in the future.