Grilled Mexican Chicken

GrilledChickenThis is a great recipe, simply because it works nicely for a picnic where you want a no-nonsense chicken dish that doesn’t get in the way, tastes great, and is very adaptable to lots of sides.

The key here is to butterfly a whole chicken which makes the grilling ever so much easier. It also speeds up the whole process of marinading too.

So consider it a Labor Day possibility if you are looking at the last of the grilling this season. If you are in the Southwest, well, it’s just another day to grill. We grill throughout the year.

INGREDIENTS:

  • For the rub:
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ancho chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • A big pinch of ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped or crushed through a garlic press
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus a little more for the onions
  • 1 large chicken, about 3 lbs, butterflied
  • 2 limes (quartered for serving with the chicken pieces)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Mix up all rub.
  2. Butterfly your chicken. (Take a good pair of kitchen scissors and cut up along side the backbone. Then go down the other side. Spread out the chicken flat. (Freeze the backbone to be added to other wingtips and backbones for making stock)
  3. Slip the chicken into a plastic bag.
  4. Pour the marinade in the bag and massage until the chicken is nicely covered.
  5. Slip into fridge for a good two hours minimum but up to a full twelve hours.
  6. Heat up the grill (charcoal or gas). Cook off direct flame until about 1/2 done, then place on the hot side and let it get really charred.

SERVES: 6

NOTES: You can make this a thoroughly Mexican meal with Southwestern salads and dressings, or have it with plain old potato salad. It goes with anything.

SOURCE: Rick Bayless’ Mexican Everyday

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Herbs de Provence

Herbes-de-Provence-e1323707487226As you know, dried herbs can be expensive. This is so even though the cost of most herbs (which are often nothing but weeds) are dirt cheap.

That’s why I always advocate growing your own, and certainly drying or freezing your own rather than buying them. This works for a ton of herbs but not all of course.

But if you want to talk expensive, then just need a blend. Then the price really gets high. And for no good reason, except that you are paying somebody to mix them in the correct proportions for you.

You can start with fresh herbs if you have them. You could then chop them up in the correct proportions and freeze them in some olive oil like I recommend for other herbs, see TIPS  and TRICKS on the side bar. Otherwise use dried herbs. Most of these are probably already in your kitchen.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 TBSP each: oregano, thyme, savory
  • 2 TBSP  lavender flowers (harder to find and not essential. Some people substitute fennel seed about 1 tbsp)
  • 1 TBSP each: sage, basil, rosemary

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Mix all together. You can use a small processor if you wish to really break them up, but I would do just a couple of pulses. Of course don’t do this if using fresh.
  2. Put in a container with a good lid and store in a dark place.

SERVES: about 3/4 of a cup

SOURCE: Food.com

NOTE: if you have fresh herbs but prefer to do the dry method, then place them in a single layer on a piece of paper towelling and microwave for a minute at a time until they appear nicely dried. I would transfer to another sheet of newspaper and lay them out over night to be sure. If they are the least bit still damp, they will rot in the bottle, so do make sure they are dry beforehand. (You could also do in a 200° oven for a few hours, check every 3-4 hours I would say).

EXTRA SPECIAL NOTE: If you make up this blend fresh and store in the freezer, you should understand that you should make a much bigger batch to start with (same proportions of course). When using fresh herbs you use 2-3 times as much as you would dried.

Rub for your Ribs

I’ve given you my signature Brandy’s Ribs which are succulent in the oven. But we do grill our ribs too and I found this great rub that we really loved.

This makes enough for frankly about 3 large full pork rib loins, probably about six baby back racks.

You can save the extra in a container and store in your spice area.

It is really great, so do give it a try. This came from KopyCat Recipes. Slather on tons of my best BBQ sauce when ribs are done and continue on the grill for about 30 minutes, turning often to prevent undue burning.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2/3 c dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 c kosher salt or less as you desire
  • 1/3 c ground coffee, dark roast if possible
  • 1/3 c chile powder
  • 1/3 c paprika
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp granulated garlic
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Mix together

Servings: 3 large racks or 6 baby back

Notes: cover your ribs in this (or chicken) and cover lightly and allow to work for 4 hours to overnight.

Spice It!

As you know, I don’t like junk in boxes much.

Have you ever seen that aisle in the grocery where they have all those “McCormick” mixes? For meatloaf and spaghetti sauce? And God knows what else. I look the other way.

I know they want to lure me with convenience. But I hold out for taste.

I have purchased a boat load of “taco seasoning” packets. Back in the day when a taco was a strange new food that you bought at a joint called “Taco Bell” and when all the fixings for a taco was in a box. “just add ground beef!”

Anyway, the packets are full of salt, and the usual array of non-pronounceable and awful sounding “ingredients” that have hyphens and big capital letters to sound important.

I’ll stick to real spices and herbs, thank you very much.

Here is my seasoning for all things Mexican, Tex-Mex and ribby. Oh just about anything that can be cooked. Throw a bit in your mac and cheese some time.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 TBSP chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic powder or granulated (no salt)
  • 1 tsp onion powder or granulated (no salt)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Mix all together and store in a air tight container out of the sunlight.
  2. Forms of the herbs or spices that come as seeds should be ground in either a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder.
  3. Multiply the above by a factor of 10 and you will have it handy for a couple of months!