Friday, March 26, 2010

I love to barbecue .... but...

I love it when spring starts.

We fill the propane tank and start finding excuses to use the barbecue. Beyond the regular grilling of various meat products; we steam vegetables in foil-packets, and by summer I'm cooking with the cast-iron skillet on the barbecue just to be outside.

Last night, however - I wasn't so enthused with the barbecue.

I bought 24 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs from my butcher (La Preference) at a good price.

They marinated overnight in a delicious recipe of black bean paste, Thai chili paste, mirin, and olive oil.

And then I put them on the grill.
After a few minutes.
They exploded into flame!

A brave volunteer got them off the grill as quickly as he could without burning himself. The flames were incredible. All the fat and skin was seared, but the meat within was still raw. Wait a minute. ... fat and skin .... and the recipe calls for trimming and I didn't do it.

So I put as many as I could in pans and cooked them in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. The five that were still raw & un-singed (because I couldn't fit them on a grill) took 40 minutes to cook. I threw-out the worst 5 because they felt solid when I pressed on the upper part of the thigh (but still bled red).

My error (I realize now) was stretching the marinade with olive oil. I should have used stock or water instead. The poor bird parts were edible, but the flavour of the marinade was a soft under-note beneath all that smoky flavour.

The recipe is a good one, and one I intend to keep making - but maybe next time, I'll reduce the olive oil. Just a tad. And skin & trim the chicken.

I served it with a salad of mixed greens, a light cesar salad dressing, and baked new red potatoes. It was surprisingly well received and the butt of many jokes.

Barbeque chicken thighs in black bean sauce
Original recipe available on Kalyn's Kitchen blog.
Modified for the barbecue & to reduce salt and remove citrus from the recipe.

Serves:4 Doubles well, although you will run out of marinade.

12 bone-in chicken thighs

2 tablespoons Black Bean Garlic Sauce
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon Thai Chili Garlic Paste
1 teaspoon mirin

  1. Use a sharp knife to remove skin and trim all visible fat from chicken thighs.
  2. Cut small slits lengthwise so the marinade will penetrate the meat.
  3. Mix marinade ingredients, then put chicken pieces in single layer inside large Ziploc bag, pour marinade in and let marinate for 6 hours or more in the refrigerator.
  4. When ready to cook, remove chicken from refrigerator and let it come to room temperature while the barbecue preheats.
  5. Arrange chicken on the upper grill, keeping as much marinade clinging to the chicken as you can.
  6. Roast about 40 minutes, turning several times and brushing with remaining marinade.
  7. Chicken is done when an instant-read thermometer shows the meat is 160 F.

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