I’ve not done a barbecue for ages, my last proper barbecue went a bit rusty one winter and I never got round to replacing it. I did buy a disposable barbecue at some point, but it was so long ago I couldn’t remember when I bought it. Remembering that I had it, I decided I would cook some barbecued chicken thighs. I wasn’t entirely confident that the disposable barbecue would work and as I was cooking chicken and without any way of adjusting the heat (as the grill was fixed) I thought I would need to try a slightly different cooking method than I had done in previous years.
The first thing I did was poach the thighs in a pan of simmering stock for about 15 minutes, I did to ensure that the chicken was virtually cooked before placing it on the barbecue. It can be very easy over hot charcoal to have the outside of chicken well cooked and the inside raw. Poaching allowed me to ensure that the chicken was cooked, stayed moist, added flavour and importantly when grilled on the barbecue would brown and take on the smoke flavour. You could “bake” the chicken in the oven first, rather than poaching, but this would take longer and if the chicken browned in the over wouldn’t then be on the barbecue long enough to get that really nice barbcue smokey flavour.
After poaching the chicken, I drained it, let it dry and then tossed it in some olive oil. At this stage I could have added some lemon juice (if I had any lemons) and maybe some mixed herbs (if I had something other than just parsley). In the end I went with just olive oil and a bit of black pepper.
Things didn’t go entirely to plan, the instructions said light the touch paper and it would be ready to cook in about 20 minutes. The reality was that it took closer to 35 for half of the coals to turn grey and I was really glad that I had poached the chicken as I don’t think it would have cooked the chicken properly if I had started off with raw. As a result I only had half of the grill to use, but I wasn’t cooking a huge quantity of chicken so it wasn’t too bad. It would have been nice to spread the chicken out to ensure that the smoke added more flavour, but better some then none.
Serving the chicken with a range of salad and some crispy roast potatoes, as I bit into the barbecued chicken, it bought back a range of memories of eating similar food in a range of places and countries.
Time to get a new, proper, barbecue methinks.