Sunday, January 22, 2006

Whiskey Chicken

While on a business trip to Miami, Florida I made a pit stop at Bass Pro Outdoor World in Fort Lauderdale. If you like to hunt, fish, raft, grill or think your side got cheated in the Civil War, this store is for you. While inside I bought a gift for my grilling hombre; a bottle of Whiskey Flavored Barbecue Sauce. While I hadn't tasted the sauce yet, there was a lengthy and hilarious story on the back of the bottle involving a bunch of lazy drunk trailblazers who were too sauced to make it to the west coast and thus decided to settle in some valley and make whiskey products.

Upon my return I couldn't wait to test drive our new sauce and made grilling one of my top objectives. Because the sauce was the headliner for this grilling session we opted to go with chicken as it responds well to marinading and takes on the flavor more than other meats. To fully develop the grilling theme of alcohol soaked meat we selected beer brats as our second course. Nat would get the party started with our famous bacon wrapped Jalapeno Poppers.

Saturday morning I made a trip to Whole Foods to pick up the meat. The packaging assured me that the chicken I selected was paid a full salary with health, vision and a 401k before he was executed. I put the chicken breasts in the marinade at 10 AM on Saturday morning. By grilling time the chicken had approximately 30 total hours of soaking in the sauce. We placed the chicken and the beer brats on the grill at the same time. The brats were placed in an aluminum foil basin with onions and two 12 oz. bottles of Bass Ale over direct heat. Nat placed the chicken over indirect heat, rotating consistently to prevent the sauce from solidifying. Sauce was reapplied sporadically to keep the chicken moist and from over searing the outside.

We accompanied the food with a medley of delicious imported beer. The lovely Rachel and myself enjoyed Boddington's Pub Ale while Nat and Cassie had a nice combo of Bass Ale and Stella Artois. I, like a complete jackass, left the hot dog buns at my apartment and Cassie made the trek to the supermarket to save the day. Big ups to Cassie. With our beloved Patriots now on vacation we bitterly devoured our food while cursing the flag-happy referees of the NFL who ended our season.

Labels: , ,

Posted by Matt Collins. 0 comments

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Wildcard Weekend

Heading into NFL wildcard weekend we were required by law to break out the trusty Weber 18.5 and get our grill on. As luck would have it, my legendary grandma, who perfected the art of clogging my arteries when I was in college, sent me a large care package from Omaha Steaks. It being a saturday and having no real responsibilities, Nat and I decided to devote the bulk of the afternoon to perfecting our feast.

After some careful deliberation prior to gameday, Nat and I agreed that we needed to incorporate smoking back into our routine. The last time we had successfully tracked down wood chips for smoking was August, during prime time grilling season. Since then our pitiful search attempts have yielded nothing. But today we made wood chips our holy grail.

The morning of gameday we drew up our battle plan and took an inventory. Nat would secure ribs, jalepenos to make our classic bacon wrapped poppers, and charcoal. After speaking with some woman at the Watertown Target who spoke Spanglish, I was informed that they did sell woodchips. My mission was to get the woodchips, disposable plates and deliver the care package of Sirloin.

As the day unraveled with were met with numerous unforseen challenges. Upon my arrival at Target I immediately noticed that there was not a single mesquite chip to be found. While securing the plates, Nat called me from the field to report that Star Market was completely out of charcoal and jalapenos. I grabbed some charcoal and headed to his house to do some damage control and begin preparations for the grilling.

When I arrived we discussed the wood chip predicament. We had an abundance of time before we had to being the actual slow cooking process for the ribs so Nat suggested we try another store. Home Depot informed him that they had mesquite chips for sale at reasonable prices. Admittedly, I was reluctant to make the trek. Every Masshole with a drivers license was on the road on this day and going to Home Depot involved driving through Brighton. Driving through Brighton on Saturday afternoon is the equivalent of driving my '96 Nissan through the Korean DMZ. Nat would hear none of it. We made the trek and secured the woodchips in record time.

With all equipment secured (with the exception of the Jalapenos) we proceeded to slow cook the ribs. With the slow cook process we could not utilize the Match Lite charcoal that had become a comfortable crutch for our deep freeze grilling. The temperature for the afternoon was hovering around 27 degrees which made the slow cook process particularly challenging. We cooked the ribs with indirect heat for approximately two and a half hours replacing coals periodically. We applied a handful of the soaked mesquite chips directly to the coals about every 45 minutes for sustained smoke saturation. Once the ribs were complete, we cooked the sirloin steaks over direct heat keeping a very close eye not to char the outside. Cassie was placed in charge of putting the stuffed bake potatoes in the oven.

The last of the steaks were being pulled from the fire as the first guests were arriving. The ribs were incredible and the smoking definitely paid off. The highlight of the feast, to our surprise, were the stuffed baked potatoes from Omaha. Our 8 man tag team finished off every last bit of food we had prepared and the Patriots delivered an incredible thrashing to the Jaguars.

Labels: , , ,

Posted by Matt Collins. 2 comments