Jul. 9th, 2010

book_of_daniel: (Chef)

One of Tommy's aka [livejournal.com profile] notdefined  posts from last week about pulled pork reminded me that I had a perfectly good smoker sitting out in the garage that hadn't been used or abused since late last year.  However, my recent re-commitment to losing weight effectively stifled my new found burning desire to rip a hunk off a passing pig to smoke it down for delicious pulled pork sammiches...

Cue sad Daniel here.

Determined to flex a little bit of beginner's smoker-fu, I took a look at things I could and do eat to try to find something both diet and BBQ friendly.

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts seemed like a cheap enough protein to experiment on.

Now as I've written about before to my great and everlasting shame, I am addicted to Chick Fil A's Chargrilled Chicken sandwiches. I realize that they are fundie conservatives of the highest magnitude but at a meager 5 WW points a piece, their sandwiches have become my second favorite fast food selection of choice.

I look at it this way.  My minuscule $3.59 per sandwich wont make or break the company.  However, if I can use their food to prolong my own gay lifespan to foment unrest and rebellion amongst the populace loving Chicken Breast O'Christ crowd it's a win/win situation for all the friends of Dorothy everywhere.

It's good be a mouthy queer with skills.

Why am I talking about Chick Fil A?  Good question. See while I was googling my heart out for recipes and techniqes, I stumbled upon a Breast O'Christ handy fact.  Did you know Chick Fil A brine's their chicken in pickle juice?  (Or at least they used to.  Internet opinions vary.)  Well I didn't know either but I decided that it was worth the cost of a cheap jar of pickles to add to the experiment.  After all, what's in a brine?  An acid (vinegar), salt, spices (dill).  My inner Alton Brown agreed and a quick trip to the market provided all the necessary components for my mad scheme.

Yesterday morning I got up and put four huge chicken breasts into a freezer bag along with all the juice from a big, generic jar of Value Brand pickles then threw the whole thing into the chill chest for about six hours. The juice alone wasn't really enough so I put half the pickles into the food processor, ground them down to nothing, and poured that into the bag too.  It looked weird but I was hopeful.

Five or six hours later, I pulled the experiment out of the fridge, rinsed the breasts off, and after drying them well, rubbed two with Hot and Spicy Spike and two with some Emerill Lagasse Chicken Rub that I had for some reason on my spice spinner rack.  (I have no recollection of ever buying this before so I don't know how I procured it in the first place but...meh...it was here so I thought I'd give it a whirl.)

I gave the rubs about an hour to work their magic on the drunken protein fibers of the birds.  After that I took them out to the already hot smoker, inserted my remote digital food thermometer into the largest of the poultry hooters, and set the alarm for 163 degrees before leaving the meat to the tender mercies of apple and mesquite smokey goodness.

Still, I needed a side dish.

While at the market, I picked up a nice selection of produce.  I blanched four ears of corn in boiling water for three minutes, sprayed them down with "I cant believe it's not butter' spray and doused them liberally with kosher salt.  I did the same...minus the blanching...to a red onion I'd cut up, two tomato halves, a zucchini, and two large cut up russet potatoes. All of this went into a pan on the bottom shelf of the smoker just to feed my curiosity and gullet. 

One hour and a half later, the remote beeper on the thermometer went off, and the chicken came out.  Since I had my grill right next to the smoker on the patio, I fired the bad boy up to finish up the corn and the potatoes for a little bit of burning goodness and flavor.

The result:  Probably the best meal I've ever made.  The chicken was perfect. Moist.  Tender.  Just a hint of dill.  The brining really made a difference.  The smoked corn was amazing and the grill finished off the potatoes perfectly.  The tomato and the onion were good smoked as well but way overpowered by the mesquite as was the zucchini.  They were still good but next time I'll pull them out sooner.

Today I have left overs for days but that was why I made so much in the first place.  This chicken over a salad will be perfect with some of the smoked veggies. 

Content and beyond proud of myself, I grabbed the phone and and called Evil Friend Jack to inform him that he must...MUST...go out and buy himself a smoker.  That is, I called him after I made dessert:  One cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk, two frozen bananas, one WW chocolate ice cream bar, and a seriously over powered blender ride later and I had a chocolate milk shake that you'd never know was non dairy and fat free.

I'm really way too fat for someone who can cook this low calorie when he sets his mind to it...


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