Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Urban grilling

A running theme here at the BBQ blog, and you'll have to take my word that it continued to be one during our one year hiatus, is the challenge of urban grilling. Public transportation, social diversity, an abundance of interesting career options and cultural events... In the eyes of the pit master, none of this means jack when it comes with the burden of not being able to grill. Shockingly, most one bedroom apartments in Boston do not come with a half acre of manicured lawn.

Going the entire summer with stove cooked meals is not an option. The resourceful urban griller knows this, and is capable of overcoming. Last night we fired up Smokey Joe, originally drafted to the team for Patriot's tailgating duties, in our back alley. Most people who aren't from the city consider an alleyway to be a narrow space filled with trash, muggers and working women. In our case, its a pleasant space with some convenient steps that serve as stairs and overhead lighting (which is unfortunately motion sensitive, so keep moving).

Dinner consisted of teriyaki marinated free range chicken breasts and grilled asparagus. Easy, fast and delicious, the key words every author knows and loves when marketing recipes to people who whine about not having time to do anything.

The Chicken:
Good free range meat (ideally local), trimmed to serving size. Hit it with some pepper, kosher salt and some hot pepper if you aren't a sissy. Submerge in store bought teriyaki sauce in a plastic bag and throw it in the freezer. The day you want to grill, put the chicken in the fridge before you go to work, and unless you have a super cold fridge, it should be ready to grill when you get home.

The Asparagus:
Toss your fresh asparagus, trimmed of course, with some olive oil and a dash of kosher salt. Squeeze on some lemon and you're done.

Wait for the coals to burn down to medium heat. If you're cooking on a small grill like the Smokey Joe, this is particularly important. The small surface area and close proximity between grate and coals leaves little margin for error, and nobody likes dry chicken. I found that the asparagus cooks at about the same rate as a trimmed chicken breast, so this meal is super easy.

Get your coals piled up on one side, and arrange everything around the middle of the grate so nothing is directly over the highest point of the coal pile. Flip after five minutes and cook another four and you should be in business. As always with chicken, if you overcook it you'll get a lot of excessive chewing and 'no really its good' from the people you're cooking for. So don't screw it up and cook it too long.

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Posted by Nat Tarbox.


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