Saturday, March 18, 2006

BARBECUE!!!!!

After all that warm weather we had the past week allowed me to clear off my deck and set up the barbecue. Yep yesterday I had the first barbecue of the year. I baked a whole chicken, and although it was not rubber like this....



.....But it did have that warm, brown colour. So in light of yeaterday's event, I thought I'd impart a little culinary expertise. I am no chef, but I do consider myself a good cook. With this place being the Savageland, what better place to learn how to cook meat...

Fist off if you plan to bake or barbecue a chicken, this is one of the easiest, cheapest, and quickest things you can cook. Some of you may be thinking "fast! easy?!" Well allow me to explain. If you shop for groceries planning the next few days meals like I do, grabbing a small whole chicken is great. They are usually very cheap compared to the boneless breast meat, so you are getting a big bang for the buck. So when you get this home, plan to bake the chicken the next day. After you've put away your groceries, put the chicken in one of those monster zip lock bags, along with whatever marinade you want, and this can be as simple as a little salt, sugar, and pepper (I also recommend that whatever you put in also add a tablespoon or two of vegetable oil. This acts like the butter you normally use to baste a chicken and turns the thing a nice brown colour). Throwing all this in a bag takes no time at all, it's practical for even the most time stretched worker. One suggestion, if you use the double lined zip lock bags, they will be harder to clean and reuse. Plastic lasts a 1000 years, re-use it.

Now all you have to do is throw the bag (put the bag in a bowl just in case the bag leaks) in the fridge and forget about it. Next day when you get home from work just turn on the oven on to 350, and when it gets hot chuck that chicken in for an hour or an hour and a half, depending on how big the chicken is. It does take a long time to cook, but the great thing about baking is that you can do something else while it is cooking. So the actual work required is very minimal. It just depends on whether you have an hour to kill before dinner is ready.

If you can barbecue the chicken, you get the best results by cooking it with indirect heat. This means you put the coals on one side, or only turn on one side of the gas grill, and put the chicken on the other. With the barbecue lid closed, the heat will cook the chicken, and it will not burn because it's not sitting on the fire.

For best results, make sure that when you take out the chicken, cover it with aluminum foil and let it rest for about 15 minutes. You see whenever you cook meat and remove it, there is still enough heat permeating the meat to cook it, and it will keep cooking for some time. So if you immediately start cutting into it, the juices and all that flavour will leak out. It's much better to let it sit, and cool down so that all those juices cool down. When you cut it, the flavour will be retained in the meat because the juices are no longer liquified. This is why you don't want to cook meat until it is completely cooked, you want it to be just a little bit rare, because it will finish cooking during the resting process, and you will end up keeping some of that flavour without draining it away by overcooking it.

Here is the marinade that I used. It's basically the recipe for those chinese barbecue chickens you see hanging in store windows. It's very easy.

2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of sugar, and 1 tablespoon of canola oil (if you are cooking a small chicken, only use half this amount of marinate), 1 or 2 chopped garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon of chopped ginger, some pepper.

Enjoy the feast...

2 comments:

Rob A. said...

Man, sounds good! I assume you take the chicken out of the bag before you cook it? Otherwise the chicken may end up with a strange flavour....

Doc Savageland said...

No it seals in the freshness...