Sunday, September 19, 2010

Chicken - 2 ways

Today’s photos: not so great. I was in a hurry. Today’s flavors: as good as it gets. My electronic thermometer was acting up and I had to guess when the smoked chicken was done. I came close. There was a little blood near the bones of the thigh and leg. Solution: 1 minute in the microwave.

What I did learn is that my supposition about “hot” smoking time was correct. It takes the same time as if you are oven-roasting. A valuable lesson learned.

What have you been smokin’? Most recently, chicken. Got a great deal on a 4.66 lb. free range bird at Sunflower. It was too big for my wok smoker bamboo basket. So I decided to smoke half and poach the other half. After a bit more thought I decided just to leave the backbone on the part I was going to poach.

You know, it’s really hard to get half a chicken in those little cigarette papers.

In a break from tradition, I spare you my imprecations about brining. No brine today. I’m just cookin’ with luv. (Don’t you freakin’ hate it when tv cooks tout the benefits of “cookin’ with luv”? A little salt and pepper does a better job.)

Having learned my lesson about wok-smoking (it’s a “hot smoke” technique and the cooking time mimics that of roasting in the oven), I am now much more confident about taking on new hunks o’ protein.

So, here goes: Chicken 2 ways

Wok-smoked chicken and poached chicken
1 4-5 lb. chicken, split lengthwise along one side of the backbone
olive oil
salt and pepper and chile powder to taste
12 black peppercorns
2 dried red Mexican chiles, left whole
2 tbsp fish sauce (nam pla)
¼ cup Chinese cooking wine (Xaotsing)
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp Chinese black vinegar

Soak 1 ½ cups wood chips in water for 30 minutes. Line your wok with 2 pieces of foil. Spray your bamboo basket with cooking spray.

For the half you will be smoking (the part without the backbone): sprinkle all over with salt, pepper and chili powder.

Place drained wood chips in the wok, cover and heat at 7 (of 10 on the stove dial) until smoking ensues. Place this chicken half into the steamer basket, cover and place the basket over the smoking wood chips. Replace the wok cover. Smoke the chicken for 45 minutes or so. Of course you should check it with a thermometer – 160 degrees in the thickest part of the breast and in the thigh area is your target.

For the poached chicken: put the ½ bird into a pot and cover with water. Drop in pepper corns and chiles. Add fish sauce, Chinese cooking wine, soy and vinegar. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook over very low heat for 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to stand for 10 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the poaching liquid, tent with foil, and allow to cool completely. Strip off all the meat (discarding the skin) and figure out what you want to use it for. (That part’s up to you.)


Jenn said...

Very nice! Did you prefer one over the other? It looks like they both turned out very well! And by the way, you gotta chop the chicken up before you roll in the paper :)

Andrea the Kitchen Witch said...

I agree with Jenn, finely mince that bird before you roll it :)

I love smoked chicken!!! Yours looks exceptional Stephen, nice dark smoked brown skin, mmm! Great idea to leave the back bone on the poached half, the poaching liquid will make an awesome soup :)

Never tried a bamboo smoker, I always use my backyard smoker. the stove top method would be a lot more convenient!

Create. Snap. Eat. said...

Smoked chicken?! The thought has never occurred to me. Hum...

Mary said...

You've made me curious. I'll have to do a side-by-side compare. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

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