Well they are finally gone, and sadly so, the last rack of ribs we had in the freezer was dinner tonight.  But not without some trying something new first.  In the past I have been a fan of jerk chicken, and have made some completely from scratch…more about that later.  I have also used some store bought ‘jerk’ rubs in the past and they are alright but wanted to go out and try something new.  So that is what I did, I found a jerk rub and complimenting glaze I liked and tweaked it a little and it was a bit spicy, so if you are not necessarily for spice, you might want to back it off on the pepper a little.

Jerked Pork Ribs

The little strange yellow color in the picture is the pineapple glaze that didn’t get absorbed, its tasty even if it does look a little strange.  Using the recipe for the rub below, I rubbed the ribs and sealed them in plastic wrap in the fridge over night.  This morning I took them out and let them set out for about an hour before I fired up the smoker.  I then smoked the ribs using the 3-2-1 method using pecan wood.  During the final hour I began brushing the glaze onto the ribs and did so three times, it could have really used one or two glazings.

When it was all said and done I let them rest covered with foil and a towel for about a half hour then it was eating time.  They were sweet and spicy and had a nice jerk flavor, not quite authentic but still very good.  We will be making these again.

Jerk Rib Rub
3 tbsp dark brown sugar
2 tbsp kosher salt
1 tbsp ground black pepper
2 tbsp ground coriander
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp cayenne pepper (remember it was spicy)

Combine all until mixed uniformly.  Rub into meat.

Pineapple Glaze
2 c pineapple juice
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
3 tbsp dark brown sugar
3 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan.  Heat to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture is reduced to about half.

Like I said they were tasty, I am glad I have leftovers for tomorrow.  They should make a fine lunch.

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In perhaps the best smoking day so far in 2010 I smoked some bbq chicken quarters this afternoon.  The weather was perfect, cloudy with a ever so subtle breeze and that was it, no sun, no gales to contend with just cloudy skies and a faint breeze, made smoking so very effortless.  So here is how it went down, chicken was on sale this week and I have been itching to do some bbq chicken on the smoker, so on the way home last night I picked up a pack of chicken quarters, this would work with a whole bird, but I like the dark meat and the smoke seems to too.

I mixed up a batch of my legendary poultry brine I discovered last fall when I smoked my turkey breast, however, this time I did not include the celery seed and cajun spice rather I added 3/4 tsp per quart onion powder and 1 tsp per quart Bad Byron’s Butt Rub and of course a little cayenne and sage.  I let that sit by itself in the fridge over night.

How much brine should I make?  If you are struggling with how much brine to make, put your meat in the container you will be brining it, add enough water to cover the meat completely and then remove the meat.  Once the meat is removed measure the amount of water that is left in the container.  Be sure to discard this water and start with fresh water when making any brine.

Back to the bbq chicken, this morning I trimmed the excess fat from and brined my chicken for about 3 hours, you will notice in the picture some of the chicken is not covered in water, I had to use a plate to hold the chicken below the water line, it was a tight fit.

Chicken in brineOne the chicken was done brining I pulled it from the brine and brushed it with olive oil and then rub it liberally with BBQ 3000 from Penzey’s, at this point I let the chicken sit and got the smoker ready to cook at a temperature of 225°F.

Chicken rubbed with BBQ 3000

Once the smoker was up to temperature, I added a handful of apple chips and a hickory chunk to the chip can and then put the chicken on and let the apple and hickory do its magic.  I was using my Brinkmann Gourmet with the Afterburner Propane burner today, so once the temperature stabilized all I had to do was check the meat temperature and the smoke.  It was a pretty easy smoke.  I arranged the chicken so the smoke could easily flow between all of the pieces.  Be sure to lube your rack with oil or cooking spray for easy meat removal and clean up, but make sure you do it before it is over the fire.

Raw Chicken on the Smoker

In a rare stoke of brilliance today I took a picture of the meat right before I sauced it, the water pan is gross I know, but ignore it look at the shrink.  Look how much the meat has shrunk throughout this cook, this is at about 175°F, right before I smothered it in some bbq sauce.

Cooked BBQ Chicken on the Smoker

At an internal temperature of 180°F I pulled the chicken and let it rest for about 15 minutes.  On the bounds of bragging you know you have done well cooking your chicken when as you pick up the quarters with a tongs the drumstick bone just falls out of the meat.  I was excited!

Smoked BBQ Chicken Quarters

At this point it was all I could to do keep from eating it, we ate it with some corn and a chunk of stone ground wheat bread (thanks Lohn this stuff is great).  The chicken was awesome, better than even the cajun whole smoked chicken, which was really really good.  What was really surprising is I have never used apple as a dominant wood in my smoking and it imparts well an apple like taste to the meat, which just blew my mind.

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Alright, lavish might be a bit of a stretch but incredible or mightily tasty left overs would suffice.  It all started at lunch today, which I do not have a picture of and for that I ashamed.  However, it began it lunch with a spinach salad topped with cranberries, croutons, Saturday’s smoked chicken, and last weeks Balsamic and Rosemary Vinaigrette.  It was incredible my mouth is still watering now, the balsamic rosemary vinaigrette nicely complimented they smoked chicken and the cranberries were a nice contrast to the rest of the flavor in the salad.   Yes, my mouth is watering which it shouldn’t be.  If lunch was the appetizer, dinner was dessert and the main course, another leftover miracle.

Dinner consisted of Lowfat Chicken Enchiladas made with some of Saturday’s smoked chicken leftovers.  These thing were incredible the first time we made them, and as such I was anticipating greatness once again.  I was no disappointed, I am anxious for the leftover enchiladas I will be eating for the next day.

Smoked chicken enchiladas gracing my plate

I can’t wait for tomorrow leftovers will be in lunch box and in vogue.  At least to me.  Had any incredible leftover adventures lately?  Tell me about em.

Note: Even though its not technically a recipe this one still gets a rating.

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Another day, another way to eat chicken, this one a little bit more involved.  Like the turkey breast I had cooked last year I stated off with my standard brine and added some black peppercorns, sage and basil.  I also use garlic cloves in place of garlic powder and I chopped up a couple of onion and added them to the brine.  After an afternoon of hunting and a thorough rub down with cajun spice to throw this bird on the smoker.

Chicken on the smoker

It took about four hours over a combination of hickory, apple and cherry wood to finish out bird.  Although we did baste this bird it probably would have been just fine without, it was the moistest chicken I have ever had.

Carving a Smoked Chicken

Not only was the chicken moist but it was also full of flavor and possibly by far the best chicken I have ever eaten.  We will be eating chicken again this way and next time we might go for more of a barbecued type of thing, just to branch out.  Oh yeah the potatoes were smoked too and not half bad.

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