I know summer is almost here because I’ve already had to fill the grill with gas. Or should I say, Manservant had to fill the grill with gas. Yes, the first nice days of Spring found me grabbing the first chance I had and heading to the grill. Hopefully, by now warmer days have found you and your grill is starting to see some action too.
Grilled and Lightly Smoked, Peruvian Chicken and a Chile Spice Rub
So after my last post with Green Sauce you are probably wondering what came first – the green sauce or the chicken. Or is that the chicken before the egg? Well, you know what I’m thinking, right? Yes, that green sauce rocks. It isn’t too creamy and rich and but has loads of flavor and can be put on just about anything. I believe it was designed especially for this chicken but the fun thing is that it works with so many other foods.
Guess what? The chicken rocks, too! Peruvian chicken seems to be the rage right now, or maybe it has been the rage and I’m just finding out. Well, I’m always looking for a good simple chicken recipe and one that requires the grill and no oven is so much the better. Yes, I have got the perfect chicken. Loaded with flavor, it is easily dribbled with green sauce or simply on it own. It is easy to prepare and could take the place of that roasted chicken from your store’s rotisserie. Yes, you could make this into chicken salad or enchiladas or shred it for use in tacos, though my favorite way is with the green sauce. But with or without, this is one flavorful chicken that is loaded with some heat, some spice and some smoke.
Peruvian Grilled Chicken
Yield: 4-6 servings
1 whole chicken
2 T white vinegar
2 T soy (This gives color and salt and no taste of soy.)
1 T olive oil
1 T lime juice
1 T chopped garlic
2 T spice mixture (below)
Hickory or Mesquite Chips for smoking
It starts with a whole chicken. Now if you are like me, you will have a pair of kitchen shears. If you aren’t like me, you need to get some. Trust me on this. They are one of my favorite tools in the kitchen. Once you get used to having them around, you will wonder why you had never owned them before. Now wash that bird and throw away the insides. Unless you want to keep the insides. Sometimes I do, but then I never end up using them! Dry the bird well. Now turn it over so the backbone is up. Take your shears and starting at either end, cut alongside the backbone to remove it. Now cut up the other side of the backbone. You should now have a backboneless chicken in front of you, which means your chicken can be laid flat. Yes, you have a butterflied chicken, but not a butterfly. And they work really well on the grill. Tuck the wings of the chicken around to the back and now you have a very open chicken. Press it down a bit if you want it flatter. Run skewers from the bottom to the top if you want extra stability.
Smear the rub all over the chicken. Under the skin. Over the skin. Let it sit as long as you can to soak up all that spice. But no worries. The rub imparts a lot of spice so a long marinading period is not necessary, though it will give it more flavor. When you are ready to cook this bird, preheat both sides of your grill to high. While it is preheating, prepare a foil packet of smoke chips. I used hickory, but if I had had mesquite I would have used those. Take a double thickness of foil and put a large handful of chips on one side. Now fold the other side over and fold up all the edges twice to make a foil packet. Take a fork and poke some holes in the top. Of course, you could skip this step and not smoke this bird, but you are missing out on adding a bit of richness and flavor. Once you start grilling this way you will want to add a touch of smoke to everything!
Once the grill is preheated, turn one side off. Leave the other side on high. Oil the grill grates on both sides and please make sure they are clean. Put your foil packet of chips on the side that will remain hot. Put the bird, meat side down and sideways on the grill with the dark meat towards the hot part of the grill. Keep the lid down. Let cook for about 35 minutes or until the white meat reaches 110 degrees. (Yes, the meat thermometer is also one of my favorite kitchen tools. It prevents a dried up bird or an overcooked piece of meat.) Now flip the bird over so the skin side is down and place it on the hot side of the grill, keeping the white meat to the cool side of the grill. Cook 10 to 15 minutes more and use your thermometer to check for doneness or until the bird reaches about 145 degrees. Don’t let it burn!
Remove from grill when temperature is reached. Cover with foil and let rest about 10 minutes. Serve with green sauce or not.
Chile Spice Rub
1 1/2 t ground cumin
1 t salt
1/4 t cayenne
1 T mild Mexican red chile
1/4 t ground coriander
1/4 t turmeric
1/2 t oregano
1/4 t onion powder
1/4 t ground black pepper
Zest of 1/2 of a lime
Mix together. Great for beef and fish, too.
Great Foods for May: