Maybe some of you are like me, and you can remember when the TV Food Network ran shows where actual chefs showed us how to cook. Nowadays, they tend to run frantic competitive exhibitions of temperamental “personalities” trying to see who can be the most “creative” in the kitchen. Way back when they ran those old-fashioned cooking shows, one of the most popular ingredients was chicken. It turns out that the most requested recipes were for chicken dishes. We eat a lot of chicken in this country, so I’m guessing, not much has changed.
During grilling season things do get a little easier. My wife and I are hosted her church choir’s annual picnic this weekend, and chicken was on the menu in a big way. At one time, I would have grabbed those pieces, hit them with some salt and pepper and slathered them with whatever sauce was on sale. If you’re willing to take just a little bit more time, you can take that chicken someplace you never dreamed of before.
It all starts with brining the chicken. I found a simple recipe, and customized it with DennyMike’s Chick Magnet rub. Get a large saucepan, add about 2-1/2 quarts of water, ¾ cup kosher salt, ¾ cup lemon juice, 2 tbls. of a good hot sauce, 2 tsp. of fresh ground black pepper and 2 tsp. of DennyMike’s Chick Magnet rub. Bring this to a boil, stirring to dissolve the salt and rub. Let it cool to room temp. Using either ziplock bags or a large plastic container, add the chicken and cover with the brine. Refrigerate whole chickens for at least 4 hours, and up to 8 hours; pieces should be brined for between 1-1/2 to 3 hours.
Drain the chicken, pat it dry and sprinkle it with DennyMike’s Chick Magnet. Prepare your grill for indirect cooking, place the chicken skin-side down and cook for about 30 minutes at 350. Turn chicken and let it cook for another 20 minutes. Check temp with an instant read thermometer (if you don’t own one of these—stop cooking right now until you buy one!). Make sure the thighs are close to 165, and when they are, add your choice of DennyMike’s sauces (I used Mesquit-O Madness, and my wife absolutely flipped). If you feel like smoking instead of straight grilling, just soak your wood, add it to your fire, keep the temp at 250 and double the cooking time.
Next time you find yourself staring at that package of chicken and wondering what else you can do with it, just remember: brine, DennyMike’s, grill. It will actually make you look forward to more chicken.