I have an old and slightly crummy barbecue, that I converted into a smoker yesterday.
It’s rare that I use the barbie these days. For the most part, I’m only cooking for two, and it’s pointless blowing a bag of coals for a couple of steaks. With a little care and attention, though, I could be doling out big planks of hot-smoked salmon and Texan barbecue with aplomb.
It takes more time to fix up an old barbie than you might think, so by the time I’d finished installing the thermometer and doing general cleanup, I realised that I didn’t have time to get anything smoking. But by then I had a real hankering for some grilled flesh. To me, my griddle pan. We’s gonna cook up some chicken.
I’d spotted an article on Boing Boing about You Tube chef Sista Girl, and her sweary, unconventional approach. She’s great, you should check her out. I was especially taken with her way with marinading chicken, which she does while the pieces are still frozen. It shouldn’t work, but somehow it does, and it’s a great shortcut if you forget to take the chook out of the freezer the night before you need it. Check it out…
(very NSFW: did I mention the swears? )
Inspired, I snagged some boneless chicken thighs from the icebox, and added some flavours: a spicy South African braai mix that’s easily copied at home (chili powder, paprika, cumin, coriander and garlic powder should see you right) along with dark soy, balsamic vinegar and honey. Mix in a ziplok bag, I allowed them to defrost while distorting myself in a completely self-indulgent manner in the garden.
Ok, let’s cook. I heated the grill and did the sides while it was coming up to speed. I tried out a new rice mix from Gallo as a bit of an experiment. It’s a mix of risotto rice, spelt and pearl barley. Cooked in boiling water for 20 minutes gives a sticky but toothsome result. I used energy wisely and steamed a couple of corn cobs over the rice.
By the time the rice and veg were done, the grill was ready to go. On went the defrosted, marinaded chicken, five minutes a side or until there are sexy grill lines on each side. While I was at it, the cooked corn went onto the griddle to get some char and flavour. Serving was a snap: a pile of rice, chicken on top, corn on the side.
Good summer eating. Accompany with a cold beer and some sweet soul music.