Chicken's Last Stand

Hey everyone! So if you have been a reader of the blog, you will know chicken is my Achilles Heel. For some reason, anytime I venture into cooking a chicken it just goes wildly wrong. With that, I wasn't exactly thrilled when I almost literally had a chicken appear on my doorstep.

It had been a hell of a couple weeks. On top of the usual life, my household of 5 became the house holding 5 separate cases of strep throat. Now, I love BBQ, but in the middle of this sickness BBQ was the last thing on my mind. I was the first to catch it, which also meant I was the first to feel somewhat normal again. Feeling almost back to myself, my phone rang. It was my mom saying "Hey, I have this chicken defrosted and ready to cook, but I am not able to cook it this weekend. You want it?"

Truthfully, I kinda didn't want it. I mean I suck at chicken and could think of 100 things I would rather BBQ. But, I am cheap and don't want to turn down a good bird. Besides, even if I screwed up the chicken, I still had a chicken carcass to make stock with and the rest of my mending house would like some soup. There, I had talked myself into the bird.

I wish I could tell you some elaborate story of how I mentally prepped for the grill of a lifetime where I finally master the chicken. But the truth is, there wasn't. I simply said, hey I am gonna do my thing. I am going to hold heat, I won't rush it and we shall see what happens...and oh yeah, I am gonna make a side that could double as a meal in case the bird doesn't fly!

That simple thought process is exactly how I cooked. I rubbed the bird with some BBQ Bob's Alpha Rub, got a perfect fire going, added smoke and away we went. Fortunately for me, it was a giant chicken, which meant I had plenty of time to work on my alternative meal of failure...I mean side dish. Again sick house so...I went with a broccoli cheese soup. The soup is pretty amazing, some potatoes, broccoli, and onions cooked in a stock with some blue cheese. Once it is all cooked, you blend it and throw in some cream. Honestly, it is about as good as a vegetarian soup can be.

So I got that cooking, the bird cooking and honestly, it was time to relax a bit. Next thing I knew, the soup was ready to blend and the bird was about at temp. Now I haven't ever done this right. So I didn't really know what to expect. The darkened skin of the chicken really just made me assume I messed up again. Still, I took her temp and it seemed to be exactly where it should be. So I brought it in and let it rest. 

Now while I cannot say what a good BBQ chicken looks like, all of my previous failures have gotten me pretty versed in breaking down a chicken. So I grabbed my knife and went to work. This was the stunning part. First the legs and thighs. After I cut them off, they looked pretty damn good. The wings were next and they too looked amazing. As I started to cut out the breast meat I was sure that I would see a pink center. But I didn't! The meat was all cooked, not overcooked. Not dry, the meat was actually glistening!

So while I will gladly put my broccoli cheese soup up against anything, today the chicken stole the show. I mean seriously, I still don't love chicken. I will choose beef or pork just about any day over chicken. But, this chicken was damn good.

Now on to the final part of this story, because it doesn't end here. Now, I took that smokey carcass, the scraps of skin, and the leftover bones and tossed them in a pot. I added some chopped onions, carrots and garlic. I filled it up with water and just let it simmer for a couple hours. In the end, I strained out everything leaving me with the most amazing chicken stock I have ever tasted. I mean hell, you can actually taste the smoke in the stock. 

So now, I have left over the smoked chicken breast and my chicken stock. Throw in some veggies and noodles and that will be a leftover meal which might actually taste better than the first meal it came from. 

Until next post, remember kids.....CHUNKS not chips!