Spring Chickens 2016 - Change up your poultry this season

By Corbin Tomaszeski

Canada has such a short outdoor cooking season, it’s no surprise that we head to the grill as soon as the snow melts. One of the most popular grilled items is chicken, but with ease of cooking comes a reliance on tried and true recipes that are easy to replicate.

You don’t have to settle for Italian dressing chicken breasts or beer can chicken every time. Recipes from around the world can be made in the same time it takes you to prep kebabs or load a rotisserie kit.

Looking South

South America has a long history of cooking just about any animal over open fires and grills. Some of the most beloved dishes are South American approaches to chicken. The king of these dishes might just be Peruvian Chicken.

Peruvian Chicken is made with an easy recipe of soy sauce, garlic, cumin, and lime juice (plus some other additions). The soy sauce brines the chicken while the lime and garlic add big, bold flavours, and the cumin lends a smoky, earthy note to the chicken. It’s a crowd pleaser, and needs no real accompaniment (although you can serve it with lime wedges to squirt on the meat).

Smoke It

If you really don’t want to mess with a marinade and you have some extra time to cook a chicken, a great idea is to brine the chicken, and then smoke it. You can dry brine the chicken by simply rubbing salt into every surface, and putting the salted bird in a zipper bag or container in the fridge for 24 hours to get the meat thoroughly brined. If you want to wet brine a chicken, add ¼ cup of salt to 1 liter of water (multiply this recipe to fully cover your bird in a clean container. The bird has to be completely submerged). Add any aromatics to the brine that you want (onions, garlic, leeks, peppercorns, etc) and leave the bird in the brine for up to 72 hours.

When your chicken is done either style of brining, take the chicken out, pat it dry, and oil or butter the skin.

To smoke the bird, buy 1 or 2 smoker boxes from the hardware store and some smoke chips (don’t mess with pellets or anything that looks like sawdust or pressboard.) soak the chips for 30 minutes before preheating the grill. Preheat all 4 burners on medium for 10 minutes. Turn off one side of the burners. Put 1 box on the warm side of the grill, and the chicken on the colder side. This will smoke your bird for 30 minutes. When that time is up, switch out the smoker box for a new one.

South Korean Style

If you want a high char, high flavor alternative to smoking or roasting a bird on the grill, try cooking Dak Gogi chicken on the grill.

The marinade is easy to make, and it backs a sweet, salty, hot punch. Marinade the chicken overnight. Bring the chicken up to room temperature while you preheat your grill to high. Grill the chicken on medium high to high, carefully watching the chicken, and grill until you get char grill marks and the chicken reaches 165 degrees.

Chicken doesn’t have to be boring, and you don’t have to buy those pre-spiced birds at the grocery store. With a slightly different approach, you can grill with chicken in new and exciting ways.

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