BBQ101 – Perfect, juicy smoked chicken breast filets (with bacon!)

Tastes great with some grilled corn salsa, coleslaw and homemade bourbon-pickled jalapenos!

Tastes great with some grilled corn salsa, coleslaw and homemade bourbon-pickled jalapenos!

The last year I have had a personal focus on eating healthier and working out. Does that have to mean less BBQ? No, of course not. It means more BBQ. And one of the most protein-rich, low-fat foods you can put on your smoker is the chicken breast. However, due to the low fat content and the temperature levels you have to cook them to, they can easily end up being dry and bland. Some months ago I saw a (stupid) comment from someone about how you “had to” employ sous vide techniques to make a good chicken breast. Of course you don’t, as we all know EVERYTHING tastes better smoked or grilled (don’t get me started on the whole sous vide first and then smoke it debacle, it doesn’t even come close to real BBQ, and you know it). So I have experimented for a while, and believe now that I have found a very good (perfect?) way to make chicken breast! We will combine low and slow BBQ with the method known as the reverse sear, and some glazing in the end to achieve perfection while cooking outdoors. Let’s go!

 

What you will need for 6 filets:

  • 6 large chicken breast filets
  • 6 strips of quality dry smoked bacon
  • Some BBQ sauce for glazing (I like to use this one, but you can buy a good one too of course)

Serving suggestions:

  • I like to serve with some good coleslaw, maybe some grilled corn salsa (recipe to come later…) and some good homemade bourbon-pickled jalapenos. Some bratwurst is never a bad idea either!

Preparations (15 min):

  • Set up your grill or smoker for indirect cooking and try to stabilize grate temp at Chicken filets on the Primo Oval XL. Yum!around 100C/212F
  • I like to rinse the filets under cold water and then pat them dry with kitchen towel. You can brine them too if you like that, but I don’t find it necessary using the method we will use
  • Season the filets. I use salt and pepper only for this, but you can use your favorite rub for more spiciness too if you like.
  • Once rinsed and dry, roll/fold the filets lengthwise into a ball that is uniform as possible. This together with low temperature smoking will aid in even cooking throughout, plus it looks cool. Wrap a strip of bacon (or two, cross-wise if you’re feeling like partying) around the filet, and use a small wood skewer to hold it all in place.
  • Chicken is now ready to go!

How to cook it (120-150 min):

  • Place your chicken balls safely on the cold side of your grill smoker. Throw some (cherry/apple) wood chips on if you like, I don’t find it necessary on my lovely Primo Oval XL, I get enough smokiness just from the lump charcoal I use. Either way go easy on the smoke, poultry is easily oversmoked.
  • Stick a thermometer probe in the largest one and keep an eye on the temperature throughout cooking. On around 100C/212F grate temp it usually takes a bout 90 minutes to get to the desires temp, which should be about 65C/149F (not safe for eating, but we are not done yet!)
  • Once the chicken has reached 65C/149F, take them off the grill, and get the temp up a bit. Heat up a grate over the coal side of the grill, because we will do some searing next
  • When the grate is nice and hot, get the chicken balls nicely seared on all sides. ThisChicken safe temp reached and resting commencing should bring them up to around 70C/158F.
  • Once searing is done move them over to the cold side of the grill again, and brush them with the BBQ sauce selected earlier. I normally have a grate temp of around 150C/300F at this point, try and keep it at that or lower, or the sugar in your BBQ sauce will burn and create bad flavors
  • Let the filets glaze for 5-10 minutes. At this point I check each one with my ThermaPen, to see if I have reached the safe temp for chicken (USDA says 165F/74C, and I agree)
  • Winner winner. Chicken dinner.Once they reach the correct temp, take them off the grill and let them rest 5-10 minutes. Serve it up and enjoy the juiciest, most delicious smoky chicken filets you have ever eaten. Perfection!
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BBQ Grunnkurs – Perfekte, saftige kyllingfileter med nydelig røyksmak (og bacon!)

Tastes great with some grilled corn salsa, coleslaw and homemade bourbon-pickled jalapenos!

Smaker fortreffelig med grillet maissalsa, coleslaw, hjemmelagde bourbon-pickled jalapenos og en iskald IPA

Det siste året har jeg hatt en personlig fokus på å spise sunnere og trene masse. Betyr det mindre BBQ? Nei, selvsagt ikke, det betyr mer BBQ. En av de mest proteinrike, magre tingene du kan slenge på grillen er kyllingfilet. Men, pga det lave fettinnholdet og den forholdsvis høye kjernetemperaturen vi må tilberede filetene til for å unngå sykdommer, ender kyllingfileter ofte opp som tørre, smakløse greier. For noen måneder siden så jeg en (idiotisk) kommentar om at man “måtte” bruke sous vide teknikker for å få til ett godt kyllingbryst. Det må man selvsagt ikke, og som vi alle vet smaker ALT bedre når det er røykt og grillet (og ikke nevn disse sous vide først og så røyking teknikkene, det er ikke engang i nærheten av ekte BBQ, og det vet dere!). Så, nå har jeg eksperimentert noen måneder og mener å ha funnet en metode for å lage veldig god (kanskje til og med perfekt) kyllingfilet på grillen. I denne oppskriften kombinerer vi “low and slow” BBQ (varmrøyking) med teknikken kjent som “reverse sear” (dvs at vi brunner kjøttet til slutt istedetfor først), før vi avslutter med å glasere filetene.

Hva trenger du for 6 fileter:

  • 6 store kylling brystfileter
  • 6 remser med tynn, røykt kvalitetsbacon
  • BBQ saus for glasering. Jeg liker å lage og bruke denne, men du kan kjøpe en også selvsagt.

Serveringsforslag:

  • Jeg liker å servere disse med litt god coleslaw, litt grillet maissalsa (oppskrift kommer senere), og noen gode hjemmelagde bourbon-pickled jalapenos. Litt bratwurst er aldri en dårlig idé heller!

Forberedelser (15 min):

  • Sett opp grillen eller røykeren din for indirekte grilling og prøv å stabilisere en temperatur (målt på risten) på ca. 100 grader celsius.
  • Jeg liker å skylle filetene i kaldt vann og så tørke dem med kjøkkenpapir. Du kan legge dem i saltlake noen timer også, men jeg synes ikke det er nødvendig med den metoden vi skal bruke for tilberedning her.
  • Krydre filetene. Jeg bruker kun salt og pepper på disse, men du kan bruke din favoritt-rub også for litt mer krydret smak.
  • Når filetene er klare, rull eller brett dem på langs og form dem til en ball som er så uniform/rund som mulig. Dette sammen med den lave temperaturen i røykefasen vil hjelpe oss til å dem jevnest mulig ferdig, og dermed få ett ekstremt saftig sluttresultat. Legg en stripe bacon rundt “kyllingballen” (eller to striper på kryss om du er i festhumør), og bruk en cocktailpinne til å holde alt sammen.
  • Kyllingen er nå klar til å tilberedes, og bør legges i kjølen om ikke alt er klart til røyking enda.

Hvordan du griller dette (120-150 min):

  • Sett kyllingballene pent på en ren rist på den kalde siden av grillen/røykeren din. Hiv inn litt eple- eller kirsebær-flis om du ønsker det, på min nye Primo Oval XL har jeg ikke behov for dette, fordi jeg får nok røyksmak fra selve grillkullet. På en vanlig kulrgrill er litt flis å anbefale. Vær uansett forsiktig med mengden røykflis, det er lett å overrøyke fjærkre, og det smaker ikke noe særlig godt..
  • Putt en termometer-sensor i den største kyllingballen, og hold ett øye med temperaturen mens du røyker filetene. Med en temperatur på 100C på grillristen, pleier det å ta cirka 90 minutter å komme til ønsket temperatur, som er rundt 65C (ikke trygg temperatur for konsumering, men husk, vi er ikke ferdige enda!)
  • Når filetene har nådd 65C, ta dem av grillen, og få temperaturen opp litt i grillkammeret. Varm en rist på kullsiden av grillen, for nå skal vi brune filetene litt.
  • Når risten er passe varm, bruner du kyllingballene pent på alle sider. Dette bringer vanligvis temperaturen i filetene opp til rundt 70C.
  • Chicken safe temp reached and resting commencingNår bruningen er ferdig, flytter du filetene til den kalde siden av grillen igjen, som nå bør holde rundt 150C. Pensle dem med ett strøk BBQ saus eller to. Pass på at du ikke går over 160C her, for da kan du svi sukkeret i BBQ sausen, noe som lager dårlig smak.
  • La filetene glaseres for 5-10 minutter. På dette tidspunktet pleier jeg å sjekke hver av filetene med ett termometer (jeg bruker ThermaPen), for å se om de har nådd sikker temperatur for å spises, som bør være minimum 70 grader. Jeg pleier å gå ett par grader over, for sikkerhets skyld.
  • Winner winner. Chicken dinner.Når filetene har nådd korrekt temperatur, ta dem av grillen og la dem hvile 5-10 minutter. Server og nyt den søte, røykfylte smaken av den saftigste, deiligste kyllingfileten du noengang har spist!

Smoky aubergine purée

Roasted aubergine. Not quite done yet.Aubergine puréee is an easy side dish to make on the grill. It goes particularly well with lamb, but also works nicely as a side for steak or venison. Here’s how I normally do it.

Time: 60-90 minutes
Skill Level: Easy

What you will need:
4 large aubergines
2 whole garlic
1/2 cup of good olive oil
1 lemon
Salt/pepper

How to do it:

Get your grill ready for indirect cooking at about 175-200C (350-400F)First, prep the aubergines by stabbing them repeteadly with a fork all over. This can be fun, imagine you’re stabbing someone you really don’t like! Or don’t. Once the grill is ready, chuck the aubergines and the whole garlic on the coldest side of the grill, and roast them for about 45-60 minutes. When the aubergines are done they will feel noticeably softer than they were. Get everything off the grill. Peel the aubergines and chop them roughly, put them in a blender. Squeeze the now soft garlic “meat” out of the whole garlic. Mix it all up in a blender, while slowly adding the olive oil. Add juice from the lemon and salt and pepper to taste. Serve!

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Lamb Chops grilled with Hickory and Rosemary smoke

Grilling and smoking lamb chops with rosemary and hickory smoke

Grilling and smoking lamb chops with rosemary and hickory smoke

There’s not much that can top some fresh young lamb for the grill. In this recipe we’ll pair it with some hickory and rosemary smoke, raw spring onions finely chopped and a delicious mint oil to go with your preferred side. Let’s roll!

What you need (to serve 4):

  • 2 racks of young lamb (3 if they’re small, and small is good here)
  • A fistful of fresh rosemary
  • A fistful of hickory wood chips
  • 6-8 spring onions
  • A cup of good olive oil of the extra virgin variety
  • A fistful of fresh mint
  • A Thermapen or similar instant-read thermometer is very useful for this one

How to make the mint oil (can be made a few days ahead, and should at least be made the night before for max flavor):

  • Finely chop the fresh mint
  • Combine with a pinch of good sea salt and about a cup of quality olive oil in a mortar, and crush away
  • Pour into a jar and leave it in the fridge overnight or for a couple days to let the oil take the flavor

How to grill the lamb:

  • Get your firestarter going, fill it up to the top with coals. For this you want the 50/50 setup so you can sear the chops on one side of the grill, and then move them over to the other side for finishing
  • Once your grill is nice and hot, might be a good time to dump some yams on there for a side dish, my recipe for ember-roasted yams is great with the mint oil.
  • Slice a nice little diamond pattern in the fatty parts of the rack, making sure not to Lil' lamb chops - all ready to go go goslice into the meat. This is to help the fat render, and to help with the crispiness of the skin. Important!
  • Cut your lamb racks into “chops” in the order of two bones on each. Doing one boned chops is possible, but you’re going to need your grill to get REALLY hot to pull that off – so let’s go with two. It’s a handy compromise
  • Season the chops with salt & pepper
  • Once your yams (if youre doing those) are done and out of the way, get the grill real hot (you want the grate to be so hot it whitens for this one), and chuck in the rosemary and hickory chips right on the coals.
  • The smoke will start fairly instantly, so get your chops on there (I usually do fatty side down first), and put the lid on for about a minute. Repeat for all sides so you get a good sear all round.
  • When you’re done searing, move the chops to the “cold side” of the grill, and take their temp. Continue to do so until they’re all done (I usually go with 56C/132F, nice and pink in the middle, tastes great!)
  • Give the chops a five minute rest while you finely chop some spring onion
  • Serve on warm plates, with abovementioned yams sprinkled with mint oil and spring onion
  • Enjoy!