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Barbecue Secrets

Recipes of the week: Really Easy Chicken and Planked Pork Loin with Whiskey Apricot Glaze

Aug 31, 2012

With Labour Day coming up, this is a tribute to the working man, which means lots of meat, inexpensive but delicious cuts, and, for the first recipe at least, ease of cooking to give more time for getting stuff done.

Really Easy Chicken

Makes 6–8 servings

One of the biggest challenges of championship barbecue is finding a way to cook chicken so the skin doesn’t turn out rubbery. This recipe is based on a technique some barbecue competitors use to get chicken skin that melts in the judges’ mouths. The secret is the acid in the dressing, which softens the skin while the chicken is marinating.

2 chickens, cut into pieces, or 12 chicken thighs
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 bottle store-bought zesty Italian salad dressing

Reserve ½ cup |125 mL of the Italian dressing. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and place them in an extra large freezer bag. Add the rest of the dressing, making sure all the pieces are coated, and marinate the chicken in the refrigerator overnight.
            Prepare your grill for medium indirect cooking. For propane grills, this means preheating the grill on high, turning off the burner underneath where you’re going to place your meat, and then turning the other burner or burners to medium.
            Place the chicken pieces on the cooking grate, skin side up, leaving at least a little space between them to ensure good air circulation. Cook the chicken, basting it periodically with the reserved salad dressing, for 25–35 minutes, or until the internal temperature at the thickest part of the breast reads 160°F | 71°C. Transfer the chicken from the grill to a serving platter and tent it with foil to rest for about 5–10 minutes. Serve it with your favorite accompaniments.                       

Planked PorkPlanked Pork Loin Roast with Whiskey Apricot Glaze

Makes 4–6 servings

In this recipe, the aromatic, spicy, mildly astringent flavor of the cedar smoke nicely complements the pork’s sweetness and richness. The trick to plank-cooking a roast this big is to get the plank smoldering on high or medium-high heat and then turn it down to medium as soon as you get the meat on. Serve slices of the pork with grill-roasted vegetables and boiled new potatoes tossed with butter and chopped fresh dill.

1 cedar cooking plank, soaked overnight or at least 1 hour
one 14 oz | 398 mL can apricot halves in light syrup
1/4 cup | 50 mL Dijon mustard
1/4 cup | 50 mL Jack Daniel’s whiskey
1/4 cup | 50 mL brown sugar
1/4 cup | 50 mL apricot jam
pinch cayenne pepper
one 3 lb | 1.5 kg pork loin roast with a 1/8-inch | 3 mm fat cap
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
sprigs of fresh parsley and thyme for garnish

Open the can of apricots and drain the syrup into a medium-sized saucepan, reserving the fruit. Add the mustard, Jack Daniel’s, brown sugar, apricot jam, and cayenne to the syrup. Bring the mixture to a low boil over medium heat, stirring to melt the sugar and the jam. When it looks like a smooth, fairly thick sauce (which takes about 5 minutes), take it off the heat and set the pan in a bowl of ice cubes to cool.
            Lightly score the fat cap of the pork loin in a diamond pattern with a sharp knife. Season it with salt and pepper, and set the meat on a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Spoon half of the mustard-whiskey mixture over the loin and pat it all over to coat it. Wrap the foil around the meat, sealing it as best you can. Place the wrapped loin in the meat drawer of your fridge. Let it sit for a couple of hours at least, overnight if possible.
            Combine the remaining half of the sauce with the reserved apricot halves, cover it, and refrigerate it.
            Preheat the grill on medium-high for 5–10 minutes, or until the chamber temperature rises above 500°F | 260°C. Rinse the plank and place it on the cooking grate. Cover the grill and heat the plank for 4–5 minutes, or until it starts to throw off a bit of smoke and crackles lightly. Reduce the heat to medium-low.
            Place the marinated pork loin on the plank, fat side up. Cover the grill and cook the meat for 1 hour, checking periodically for flare-ups.
            At the one-hour mark, take the reserved apricots out of the sauce mixture and place them on the plank next to the roast. Baste the roast with some of the sauce and cook it for another 10–20 minutes, until the internal temperature of the pork reaches 140°F | 60°C. Take the roast off the heat and lightly tent it in foil.
            Transfer the apricot halves to a cutting board and coarsely chop them. Warm the remaining sauce on the stovetop or in the microwave and add the chopped apricots. Let the roast rest for at least 15 minutes (while it’s resting, roast some vegetables on the grill). Carve the roast into 1⁄2-inch | 1 cm slices and serve them on warmed plates with a spoonful of the apricots and sauce. Garnish the pork with sprigs of parsley and thyme.


These recipes are from Barbecue Secrets DELUXE!, which is now available as an iBook from the iTunes Store.