Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Rotisserie Chicken

I scored a rotisserie for my little Weber gasser (Weber Genesis Silver A.) I was really hoping for a rotisserie for a 22 1/2" Kettle because I prefer charcoal for cooking meat. But this came up on Craigslist for $5 and was for sale in the next town over. I pounced on it - didn't even negotiate price! It turned out to be brand new. It had been taken out of the original carton, but the various parts had not been removed from their bags. It's pretty much brand new. And it has grooves in the spit for a 32" span so I plan to investigate making a ring that will allow me to use it with my 22 1/2" kettle. A 55 gallon drum is about the right size.

Weather today is 85° F with full sun and light wind (6-10 mph.)

Back to the chicken. I picked up a couple 4 ¾ lb. fryers and I'll try two different recipes for them. The first is a rather generic "Roadside Chicken" recipe I found on the  Virtual Weber Bulletin Board. I tried to follow it faithfully but I'm afraid that a little bit of Hungarian Paprika fell into the mix. <shrug> I guess that will serve to add a bit of zing to the final result. Starting at 9:30 one of the birds is marinating in the mix (sans oil.)

The other recipe is a reprint of a Steven Raichlen recipe for Spit-Roasted Honey LIme Huli Huli Chicken (FLCL chicken? :p ) I'll cook both fairly slow and put some Apple wood chips in a smoke box for some smoke flavor.

I wound up taking the grates off the grill for extra clearance. I also had to tie the birds some more to keep them under control as they rotated. I hope that's enough. I spitted them more or less through the body cavity and that allows the birds to flop back and forth a bit even though I have the forks at the body cavity end.

Birds went on the grill at 11:00 AM and I set it to medium on the front burner. No need to cremate them! After letting this running for about half an hour (and opening several times to baste the Roadside Chicken) It seems to stabilize at about 275° F. That seems a little low as recipes I'm looking up on lie recommend 375°. I'm also not convinced that the thermometer at the end of the cooker accurately reflects the temperature the chicken sees. I think I had best aim for something in the low 300s.

Woah! A nudge on the burner control can have a HUGE result. I need to watch this a little more carefully. I found the temperature reading over 400° and smoke pouring form the cooker. I opened it up and the RS bird had blackened skin that was splitting. Surprisingly the other bird looked more normal. I basted it again and cut temperature back to where I had it before. I'm going to put my Maverick in there so I can monitor temps a little more closely. (Time: 12:05 PM)

12:20 - Maverick reads 305° and the thermometer 310°. Seems like pretty good agreement. I basted the RS chicken again, brushing on lots of marinade to try to wash some of the soot off. :( I'm supposed to baste the Huli Huli chicken with the glaze 10 minutes prior to finishing. I wonder how long that will be. I should probably get a meat temperature measurement.

12:25 - RS chicken - 150°, HH Chicken, 140°. (Note that during the overtemp excursion, the string burned off the RS chicken allowing the legs to splay. I should tie them again I guess.

12:55 - temp back up to 390°. Time to baste, measure and take temperatures.

1:00 - RS - 170°, HH - 162°. Basted both and they'll come off in 10 minutes.

1:11 - Meat off! I'll let it rest while I watch today's TDF finish (DVR delay.) They don't look quite so bad as they did when nearly engulfed in flames!

Despite the difficulties, the chicken came out pretty good. The skin was a little crispier on the Roadside variant (on the left in the picture above.) Both were very tasty.

Things to do better next time:
  • Fasten birds to spit better so they don't flop.
  • Monitor temperature better!
  • Work on mount for counterweight. It didn't hold and was pretty useless.

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