Tag Archives: grill

Spatchcock BBQ Chicken

SPATCHCOCK! No, that’s not a dirty word or an insult or anything along those lines, this isn’t that type of blog.  Spatchcock is simply the term used to describe a chicken, turkey, or any other type of whole bird that has been split along the spine (removing the spine) to allow it to open up and lie flat.

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I love whole chickens. Whole chickens give you the ability to prepare both white and dark meat at the same time while the bone and skin give the meat a huge boost in flavour.

The idea behind spatchcocking a chicken is it allows you to cook the chicken fully on the bone as you would with a whole chicken but much faster. The body cavity (where we usually jam stuffing) insulates the bird during cooking.  This insulation slows down the cooking process and also makes the bird cook unevenly.  Spatchcocking removes this cavity.   Birds are weirdly shaped with big pieces of meat intertwined with much smaller pieces.  This process helps the breast and dark meat sections to cook at relatively the same pace.

To start, you are going to need a whole chicken, a very sharp knife or kitchen scissors and a cutting board.  Safety tip; use sharp knives!  People are afraid of sharp knives as they think they are going to lop off a finger or an entire appendage.  If you are careful, a sharp knife is actually safer than a dull knife.  Dull knives force you to push harder than needed, which increases the chance of the knife slipping and cutting you.  If your cutting board has a tendency to slide around while cutting with it try putting a slightly damp kitchen towel underneath it.  This should stop the sliding.

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Place the bird so the spine is resting on your cutting board.  Either with your knife or your scissors cut up either side of the spine and remove. **Please note that the chicken in the picture above is actually the wrong way up.  Please do not attempt to cut it in this manner unless you are using scissors.**

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Note: in the above picture the spine is still attached on the left side.

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Now that the spine is gone take both hands and push down firmly on both breasts at the same time.  You will probably feel and hear some snapping as this will break some of the rib bones and allow the chicken to lay as flat as possible.

Season the chicken liberally on both sides with your favourite BBQ Seasoning.  I like to do this the day before I cook the bird or at least a few hours ahead.  This allows the spice blend to really penetrate the meat.

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To cook, preheat one side of your BBQ to medium heat but leave the other side off. If using charcoal, have one side of the grill with a bed of coals that have fully lit and are fully grey, then wait 10 minutes, no charcoal at all on the other side.  Cook skin side up for 10 minutes with the lid closed.  Flip and then cook for another 10 minutes skin side down with the lid closed.  Now, place the chicken on the cold side of the BBQ and cook for another approximately 20 minutes with the lid closed or until the breast meat is at 165 degrees.

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Enjoy!

Spatchcock BBQ Chicken

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 1 Hour
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken
  • BBQ Spice
  • Kitchen Scissors or a sharp knife

Directions

  • Use kitchen scissors or knife to remove the spine by cutting up either side.
  • Place both hands on the breasts and push down flattening the bird.
  • Season liberally on both sides with BBQ Spice
  • Place in a ziplock bag and allow to sit for up to 24 hours
  • Preheat one side of your grill to medium heat and leave the other side off
  • Place the chicken skin side up directly over the heat and cook for 5-10 minutes with the lid closed.
  • Turn chicken over and cook skin side down for another 5-10 minutes with the lid closed.
  • Move chicken to the indirect side of grill and cook for another approximately 20 minutes with the lid closed or until the chicken is 165 degrees in the breast meat.
  • Cut chicken into individual pieces (breast, thigh, drum, wing) and serve.

 

 

Roasted Potato Caesar Salad

Yup, you read that right… Caesar Salad made with roasted potatoes.

2 words to describe it… Awe Some.

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Everything you love about Caesar Salad, combined with everything you love about roasted potatoes.  Here’s another great thing about this recipe; it’s super quick to make and ridiculously easy.

This is another one of our BBQ Sides that I get a lot of requests for.  Give it a shot!

Here is what you are going to need for this recipe:

  • 3 lbs. mini potatoes cut in half
  • 8 slices of bacon
  • 3 green onions (green part only)
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (yes, I used the crappy stuff in the shaker, so what!)
  • Your favourite Caesar Salad Dressing (as much as you like)
  • olive oil (enough to coat the potatoes)
  • salt (to taste)
  • pepper (to taste)

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I start by preheating my grill (or oven) to 425 degrees.

Cut the potatoes in half and throw on a baking sheet.

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Drizzle with enough oil to coat the potatoes but it shouldn’t be swimming in oil.  Season potatoes liberally with salt and pepper.

Toss in the BBQ and shut the lid (or in the oven) for about 30.  Every 10 minutes you will want to shake the tray and flip the potatoes over.  We want them all to be nice and golden brown on both sides and soft in the middle.  Use a fork to test the doneness, or even better do what I do; EAT ONE!  When you like them, they are done.

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Meanwhile, cut up the bacon into small strips. Place in a pan and cook until nice and crispy. Once the bacon is cooked, remove from the pan and set on paper towel to drain.

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Slice the green onions into small rounds.

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Throw all ingredients in a foil tray if going to a party for easy clean up, or in a nice big bowl and mix to combine.  I didn’t put an amount on the dressing.  If you like a lot of dressing use a lot.  If you like a little, take it easy with the dressing.

And voila you are done and ready to sit down with your friends and eat!  Pretty easy right?!

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Enjoy!

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MD

Chicken Burger

So I wanted a Chicken Burger for lunch today.  When I get this craving the last thing I do is hop in the car and head to the Golden Arches or go to the freezer.  I reach right for my trusty boneless skinless chicken breast.  It tastes better, is quicker than the frozen kind and you get WAY more meat in your sandwich, trust me.

The big difference between cooking the breast for burger destiny as opposed to just on our plate with some sides is in the prep.

I want my chicken to be burgerish.  Now in its original state it’s not, and would require more cooking over a lower temperature than we cook most burgers.  It’s lunch, I’m looking for something quick that I can throw over high heat to get it done as fast as I can.

So I pounded the snot out of it.

I used the flat side of a meat mallet to flatten the whole chicken breast to about a 1/2 inch.  This does 2 things.  It will make it cook substantially quicker since it is thinner and it will also make sure it all cooks evenly.  Plus, more surface area gives us more space for seasoning and char.

If you don’t own a mallet, no biggie, use a pot, frying pan or even a wine bottle.

 Notice I put the chicken in a ziploc bag before I started beating it into submission.  This helps protect the meat from tearing as I hit it.  Another trick is to take your time.  You don’t have to get it perfectly flat in 3 hits.  This probably took a good minute of pounding.

Now I just brushed on a little olive oil on each side and seasoned with Lowry’s Seasoned Salt and ground black pepper on both sides.

Off to a preheated grill set to Maximum (High).

Follow the same principals here as in any other meat on the grill recipe.  Try to only flip it once and once it’s on there leave it alone until it is ready to flip.

Because we pounded it out so thin it will only take about 3-4 minutes a side.

Flip halfway through cooking and continue to cook on the other side.

When I flipped it this is when I took the opportunity to grab a nice seasame seed bun and throw it on the grill to toast up as well.  Be careful, we are cooking on high, we don’t want that bun to burn.  Use your top rack if you find it getting too toasted too quickly.

 Once the bun is toasted and the chicken is cooked, it’s off to the kitchen.

Time to build our burger.  Sliced tomato, iceburg lettuce, Mayo and some pepper is all I did here.  I cut up the chicken into pieces that would fit on the bun.  Plus it looks massive when you pile the chicken up like that 😉

And voila, it’s lunch time.  Total time from start to finish, 15 minutes.

Enjoy!

MD

Steak Dinner

So last night I let the choice of meal fall to my wife and she decided in her wisdom that it was a good night for steak.  Who could disagree?  I also left the choice of side dishes up to her as well, besides one.

The menu?  Marinaded Steaks with Roasted Mini-Potatoes and Sauteed Mushrooms.  The item she didn’t pick that I added in was the Steamed Broccoli.

THE PREP WORK

STEAK

Because we were planning to marinade the steak we went with top sirloin.  I’m not going to get too much into what steaks to pick for what in this particular blog but I will cover it at some point.  For now here’s an easy tip.  Read the label on the meat or ask your butcher if you go to a meat shop.  The labels usually use terms like “marinading” “grilling” etc.  This is a good indicator if you need to do anything to them ahead of time.

I made a simple marinade of Worcestershire Sauce, Soy Sauce, Maple Syrup, Garlic, Salt, Pepper, Olive Oil, Dijon Mustard and Orange Juice.  Because these are marinading steaks we want to make sure we use something with a bit of acid to help tenderize the meat, hence the Orange Juice.

 

 I put the steaks and the marinade in a big ziploc and marinaded for about 6 hours.

POTATOES

Everyone in my house loves those little roasted potatoes.  I have made these things at least a hundred times and they are very versatile as far as what flavours you can add.

Pre-heat your BBQ to full blast.

I started by washing and then cutting the little guys in half.  This is for one simple reason. More surface area.  The more surface area you have the more chance you have to get that nice golden brown crisp on the outside of each bite. Once they are cut, toss them in a big bowl.

For the seasoning I start by pouring in a good glug of Olive Oil.  This will help the seasoning coat the potatoes and help to crisp them up as they cook.  Next I add in Thyme and Garlic Chives from my garden, dried rosemary and salt and pepper.

 Mix it up really well to make sure the seasoning is well distributed and pour out on a large piece of foil.  I use the heavy duty foil to make sure that I don’t get any holes in the foil.

Fold the foil in half lengthwise and crimp down to seal the package across the middle.  Then roll up the ends to totally seal the packet.

 

 

Toss them directly on the BBQ and shut the lid.  We will cook the packet for roughly 20 minutes, flipping the packet half way through.

MUSHROOMS

Now that the potatoes are on, lets get started on the mushrooms.

You can either buy and slice your mushrooms or buy them pre-cut.  I happened to be at Costco a few days ago and picked up a big pack of presliced Crimini Mushrooms (also referred to as Mini-Bellas as they are baby portobella mushrooms).

I want these guys to cook in butter to give them that nice flavour, but there is one problem.  Butter will burn very quickly over a very hot flame.  The solution is simple.  Put a splash of olive oil in with the pad of butter.  The oil insulates the butter and helps to prevent it from burning.  Plus the oil will help to brown up the mushrooms.  The best of both worlds!

 In the second picture you can actually see the butter being “protected” by the oil.

I simply waited till the butter and oil were nice and hot, tossed in the mushrooms with some salt and pepper and cooked until they were as soft and browned as I like.

 BACK TO THE STEAK

The steak is the very last thing I cook.  It takes the least amount of time believe it or not.  About half way through cooking the potatoes I threw the steaks on.  Remember, we have the grill as hot as we can get it here.  The goal is to get a nice crust on the outside of the steak with some nice grill marks but still have the inside done to our likeness.  I always shoot for medium-rare.  This is obviously personal preference.

Toss on your steaks and shut the lid immediately.  DON’T KEEP OPENING THE LID AND FUSSING WITH THE STEAK.  We don’t want to loose all that heat we built up while preheating and if we keep moving them around we won’t get the nice grill marks and crust we are aiming for.

Fancy trick.  If you want to get those nice cross-hatch grill marks you see on steaks in restaurants or on TV its actually quite simple.  After the steaks have been on for a couple minutes, turn them a quarter turn on the grill and shut the lid.  When you flip them at the half way point in the cooking this is what you should see.

Mine aren’t perfect here but you get the idea.

Flip the steaks at the half way point in the cooking and continue cooking on the other side with the lid shut.

Make sure you only flip your steaks once.

When they are done to your likeness, pull them off and let them rest.  (I promise I will do a blog post on steak selection and cooking to your desired liking).

DO NOT CUT INTO THEM RIGHT AWAY

I timed my steaks so that everything was done at the same time so when I pulled the steaks off, the potatoes came too.

And here is the full spread once everything had a chance to rest and we were ready to eat.

 

By the way, the broccoli I just steamed until tender but still a bit crisp.

MD

My Gear

One of the things I am asked about most is what type of bbqs and smokers I use when I make my food.

I have a variety of smokers, a propane and a charcoal grill and am always on the lookout for a new toy.

Here is a rundown on the current Smoker arsenal….

The always versatile Weber Smokey Mountain

And yes, I have both the small and large variety.

These are probably the best bang for your buck entry level charcoal smokers.  You can do anything from whole chickens, ribs, pulled pork, turkeys, desserts, whatever.  And yes, I have done all of those.  These bad boys will force you to learn the art of controlling air flow, charcoal and water pans.  I doubt there is a smokey mountain owner alive that doesnt know the distinct smell of a water pan run dry in one of these.

These guys run on charcoal.  Wood chunks are added to give  smoke flavour to the food.  Charcoal alone also has the ability to impart some flavour especially if you spend the extra couple bucks and get a good kind like Basque.

The Masterbuilt Extra Wide Propane Smoker

There are going to be those out there who will tell you that I am a sell out for using a propane smoker.  That it doesn’t make “true” bbq.  That this is for lazy people.

My response……so what?!  I really honestly could care less.  BBQ snobs be hatin’

This thing rocks.  To be honest, I probably use this 95% of the time I have to cook anything.  Why?  Its easy, its huge and it makes good food.

This thing is my #1 smoker now.  Yes, charcoal does feel more “real” when I use it and produces a slightly different product but notice I used the word different and not better.

Of course this is purely my opinion.

This can do anything and everything you can possibly think of including acting as a spare oven for Christmas or Thanksgiving by not adding wood, or moonlighting as a warming cabinet once everything is cooked.

This thing works on a standard propane tank and wood chunks or chips.  I prefer the wood chunks as it gives a longer and easier to control smoke than wood chips.  Wood chunks can be harder to find, especially in London Ontario but they are worth the effort.  I know Lowes carries hickory wood chunks.

I have been asked very recently what smoker I would recommend to backyard enthusiasts and I would go with the Masterbuilt every time.  I know of 2 people who have purchased these on my recommendations and both of them love it.  In fact a 3rd has purchased as well but I am still waiting on a verdict and a 4th person is in the near future.

Any questions, let me know!