Introduction: Cranberry- Chipotle BBQ Chicken With Mint Lemonade
This is a little recipe that I whipped together. It is a crowd pleaser for all and is very easy to make, but it takes some time to actually cook..
For the chicken:
1 small chicken, thawed completely
1 cup of cranberries
2 cups of honey
1 cup white vinegar
1 teaspoon of chipotle powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
A splash of liquid smoke (I like apple, but it really is person preference)
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon chipotle powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 Tablespoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon paprika
4 cups sugar
12 cups water
4 cups fresh lemon juice
1 cup mint leaves, whole or chopped. (I prefer whole, just so I can pick them out if I wish. Again, this is a personal preference.)
Step 1: Prepare the Chicken and Lemonade
Ok guys, this is simple:
Take the rub ingredients, add them all together and mix until it is a homogeneous mixture (even throughout). Then take the chicken, keep the skin intact as much as possible, but you want to slide your hand under the skin between the skin and the actual meat. Break the connecting membranes so the rub can get in the meat. Then put half of the mixture under the skin, and half of the rub on top. I use a thin layer of mustard as a binder to hold the rub on. It will not affect the taste at all.
Take remaining chicken ingredients (cranberries, etc.) and mix them in a sauce pan until simmering and syrupy. Remove from heat and allow to sit for 1 minute.
CAUTION: THIS NEXT STEP MAY CAUSE BURNS!
Carefully pour that cranberry liquid in the cavity of the bird, until full. Make sure to get a lot of berries in it. Close the cavity on both sides using bamboo skewers or butcher twine. Let sit in fridge until ready to cook.
The lemonade is just as easy.
Add lemon juice, water, and sugar to pitcher, mix until sugar has dissolved, then add mint leaves and chill. until ready to serve.
Step 2: Prepare the BBQ
You are setting up for a low, slow cooking time. There are two ways I like doing this. First of is the charcoal method, and the second is the fire method. We will start charcoal, as it is easier and more common.
Prepare the charcoal in a charcoal chimney until top coals are covered in a fine coat of ash. Evenly rake coals to two sides of grill, with a gap in the middle for indirect grilling. Add the smoker chips of your favorite wood (I like apple). You should see a think wisp of smoke coming out of the smoker. It is time to put the chicken on.
The second method is to build a fire out of a fruitwood (apple) and let it die down to coals and do the same thing, occasionally throwing a hunk of wood in to keep the fire and smoke going. This is usually done with open pit bbq, but can be done in a smoker.
Step 3: Cookin' Time!
When you have reached the cooking temperature, which is 220 degrees Fahrenheit, put the bird on. It is important to stay in the 220- 240 range to keep the bird moist. This bird takes about 4 hours to cook, but should be checked using a fast read thermometer every hour. You are looking for a thigh temperature of 165 degrees. I try to avoid higher than 170, and no lower than 165. That is the FDA approved safe level for chicken, but any higher results in a dry bird.
Once done, let the bird sit covered in tin foil on a plate for 15 minutes to let the juices soak back in. This seals the flavors, and creates a succulent, moist chicken.
After the 15 minute make, carve the bird and enjoy with a cool cup of lemonade, and your favorite BBQ food!