Monday, October 26, 2009

Beer Butt Chicken

Beer Butt Chicken is known by many different names, like "Beer In The Rear Chicken", "Chicken On A Throne" or just "Beer Can Chicken".  Wash a can of beer with soap and warm water, open the can and pour yourself half of the beer. Drink it and enjoy. Leave the other half of the beer in the can. Insert the beer can into the cavity of the chicken to create a vertical roasting stand. The chicken gets barbecued while steamed from the inside to keep the meat moist.

Apply your favourite rub on the chicken and place the bird sitting on the can in to your grill or smoker. 

Smoke it with cherry or apple wood for about 2 hours. First about one hour in 120C (250F).  I usually add some wood after an hour, turn the bird around and add few more charcoals to raise the temperature to about 150C (300F) so the skin turns nice and crisp.  I also like to baste the chicken with BBQ basting sauce when turning it for extra flavour and moistness.

If you don't have wood available, don't worry. Beer Butt Chicken can be done as well only with charcoal. It tastes really nice like this as well, but obviously if you love smoked flavour, go with the wood.

Use a thermometer to monitor the temps of your bird. The chicken is ready when it reaches about 77C (170F) in the thigh or 72C (160F) in the breast. I usually cook mine to about 80C as I like it well done.

You will not need a water pan in your grill or smoker, as the beer keeps the bird moist enough from inside and you want a nice and crisp skin anyway, so the dryer heat works just perfectly.

Serve it for example with chips and a side salad.  I also made a tasty Mango-Habanero BBQ sauce which went really well with the chicken.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Armadillo Eggs

Armadillo Eggs is an interesting BBQ dish.  They look and taste really nice.  It's basically cheese stuffed jalapeños rolled inside an egg shaped meatball.  Traditionally pork sausage meat is used, but I tried it out with ground beef, as that's what I found in my fridge

Cut the stem end of the jalapeños, take out the seeds with a small knife and stuff them with cheddar cheese.

I seasoned my meat with chopped onions and garlic, black pepper, salt, ground cumin, cayenne pepper and a good dash of Worcestershire sauce.  Make a round patty of the meat, place your stuffed jalapeño in the middle and wrap the meat patty all around it.  Roll the meatball in your hands in to egg shape.

You could grill them in indirect heat or even make them in the oven, but I love the smoked flavour so I smoked them for nearly 2 hours with cherry and apple tree in my Weber kettle. I sprinkled my basic rub on the eggs just before putting them in to the grill for adding a nice and tasty crust.

After about two hours, these eggs look ready to me. I had coated half of the eggs with my home made BBQ sauce about 15 minutes before I took them out of the grill.  The coating makes a bit more interesting crust on the eggs, but to be honest the ones without the coating were just about as nice.

Ready! Looks and tastes very nice.  However, I can see why people use pork instead of beef - they were not as juicy as I wished.  I'll definitely use minced pork or sausage meat next time I'm making these.

If you are serving these for a bigger group of people, you could play a funny game - Armadillo Eggs lottery.  Fill one of the eggs with a Habanero chili instead of a jalapeño.  Give the "winner" a special price to cool down his burning mounth. :)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Homemade Sweet BBQ Sauce

Making your own BBQ sauce is simple and doesn't take long. There are thousands of recipes available, but here is what I made last night and it's absolutely delicious.

You need the following ingredients:

  • 4 dl heinz ketchup
  • 0,5 dl apple cider vinegar
  • 4 tblsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tblsp brown sugar or honey
  • 2 tblsp molasses
  • 2 tblsp mustard
  • 2 tblsp basic BBQ rub
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • juice of 1 lime
  • good splash of tabasco
  • good splash of strong black coffee

Mixed them all in a saucepan and heat it up in low heat until it starts to bubble gently.  Let it simmer for 5-10 minutes while mixing occasionally.  If the sauce gets too thick, just add a bit of water or coffee.

I used the rub for chicken, which has plenty of paprika powder in it.  If you don't have any ready made rub available, just add a teaspoon or two of each ingredient. My rub had already plenty of extremely hot chili powder, so I didn't need to add anything to spice up the sauce.  You could add your favourite hot sauce or chili powder for extra kick in the sauce.

Just finished the batch I made last night on these pulled pork sandwiches.  I recommend to double or triple the amounts for a decent amount of sauce, but see how you like it first. I adore it!

Many people like to add liquid smoke to the sauce.  I would add it only if the food you're serving isn't already smoked, for example grilled or fried dishes. You can store the sauce in a glass jar or an empty beer bottle like I did.  It should last few weeks in the fridge.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Barbecue Chicken

Barbecuing a whole chicken is really easy, fun and it's incredibly tasty. Buy the best possible chicken you can get.  I bought today this 1.8kg (4lbs) Bio Chicken. It's absolutely worth the extra money and it has a proper amount of meat for feeding at least 2 hungry people.

Make the chicken rub and apply it generously all over the bird.  I usually put the rub on at least 2 hours before I cook it to get more intense flavors.

You can use a regular Weber kettle grill for making the BBQ chicken.  I'm using only about two fist fulls of charcoal as I don't want the temperatures to go too high.  About 120 Celsius (250 F) is just perfect cooking temperature for the chicken.  In the end you might want to raise the temperature a bit for a nice and crispy skin.

After about one hour I baste the chicken with Stubb's BBQ baste.  This sauce gives really fantastic flavor and aromas to the chicken. After basting the bird, my garden smelled so delicious that I was drooling all over myself.

When the internal temperature of the thigh gets about 78-80 Celsius (175 F) the chicken is ready.  I'm serving it today with some fries, a little side salad and home made BBQ sauce.

Simple and absolutely delicious!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Texas Style Chili con Carne with BBQ Beans

Chili con Carne, or just chili for short, is one of my favorite dishes.  There's many ways of doing it, but today I wanted to have some smoky flavor in it, so I'll be adding some of my cherry wood smoked BBQ beans in it which I smoked earlier this week.

Most important thing is to use fresh vegetables. I got some really nice looking fresh onions, bell peppers, garlic, habanero chili and jalapenos.

I chop the chilies quite small, garlic and onions half fine and half coarse. I used the whole habanero and three hot jalapenos as we want some heat in the chili. Isn't that what chili is all about, eh?

I want to use this chili for filling tacos and tortillas, so I use 2 pounds of ground beef.  I'm browning the meat with some of the chopped habaneros and garlic. I add also soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, ground black pepper, cayenne pepper, salt and plenty of cumin.

Sweat the onions and rest of the garlic and chilies in the big pot until onion gets nice golden color.

Combine them all together.  Add lots of paprika powder, a couple of bay leaves and a  good splash of coffee. Then add 4 cans of tomatoes.

A couple of hours later I chopped up the bell peppers.  I add them later so that they don't get too mushy. Nice to have some crunch in the chili as well. This would be perfect as it is now, but this time I add the smoked sweet and spicy beans I made yesterday.  They have a lovely cherry wood smoke flavor, some bacon, apple mash and molasses in them already.  This adds the needed sweetness to the chili.

Gazillions of ways to eat it and serve it, but I'm having a little taster now on a tortilla with a little bit salsa (tomatoes, onion, jalapeno and lime juice).

Very nice tasting chili. Rich and full flavor.  I often make the chili without beans, but these smoky beans made it surprisingly nice.

Smoked chicken wings, drumsticks and BBQ beans

This week we've been having sunny and warm days, so great time for a little BBQ again.

I made my basic rub for the chicken wings and drumsticks.

Ignite the Weber briquettes. I much prefer lump charcoal, but the Weber briquettes do give such an even and long lasting heat, that they work really well with my lil' smoker.

The chicken goes in and now I have two hours to wait.

Let's make some sweet and spicy BBQ beans and smoke them for a couple of hours.

Two hours later the chicken looks nice and ready.  I ran the smoker at usual smoker temperatures the first hour, but at higher temps (about 300 F) the second hour, which crisped the skin to perfection.

Very nice, enjoying the chicken with some Stubb's BBQ sauce.

The smoked beans were absolutely lovely too.  They are a perfect side dish, nice extra filling for tacos or tortillas etc. I'll be using some of them in my Texas style Chili con Carne as well.

Stay Tuned!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Pulled pork sandwich

It was a warm and sunny day yesterday, so good time for a little BBQ.  I had a craving for nice BBQ sandwiches, that would be Pulled Pork sandwiches and rib sandwiches.

First we need to BBQ the meat.  Few ribs and a pork butt (pork shoulder).

I also smoked some beans.  Fried a packet of bacon, one large onion and one green paprika.  Added to that to three cans of Heinz baked beans, good amount of cayenne pepper and hot chili powder, half a jar of apple mash, good splash of molasses, BBQ sauce and some Worcestershire sauce.  Bake it in the smoker for about 2 hours.

Ribs were ready in about 4-5 hours and the butt in about 9 hours.  Pulled the pork in to small nice pieces.

Baked some fresh buns in the oven and fill them with pulled pork, hot beans and BBQ sauce. Absolutely delicious.

Today I made some soft tacos as well.  Fill the warmed up tortillas with pulled pork, hot beans, grated cheddar and Salsa Mexicano.  Heavenly tasty!