Updated: Feb 27
Todays cook on the Pro Q Frontier turned out to be something a bit special, "Why?" I hear you cry "Spatchcock Chicken is childs play on the BBQ" to which you may be right but trust me, there is Spatchcock Chicken and then there is Spatchcock Chicken and this one was definitely the latter.
So what made this cook so special? Well a number of things, much of which is a bit of experience cooking on a BBQ and a bit of experience making rubs. The first thing that made it special was definitely marinating the chicken in buttermilk with my Squeak & Squawk rub mixed in to add a flavour profile. Since I've discovered buttermilk for a marinade I use it all the time on chicken, it seems to keep the bird very moist whilst cooking as it opens the pores in the meat to allow flavour and salts in. But I didn't just spatchcock the chicken, I also loosened the skin from the breast as well as folding the skin back on the legs allowing the marinade to get to the meat. The chicken marinated for four hours in the fridge in a zip-lock bag with most of the air pushed out.
Once out of the fridge rinse the chicken in cold water to remove most of the marinade then pat it dry with kitchen towel. I wanted some marinade left on for the rub to bind to and this is the second step that made it special, a mix of two rubs. For the first layer I used Angus & Oink (the only purchased rubs that I use) Mr Rubba Rubba, this is a fine ground (dust) Jalapeno & Herb based rub with just a touch of Southern heat and with the herbs it goes very well with chicken. For the second rub I used one I put together whilst the chicken was brining which is mainly spice based with a touch of salt, pepper and brown sugar, I'll put a separate post up for those interested in making rubs and varying flavour profiles. I did a rough grind for this one to give the skin texture and I always use Smoked Paprika just to add colour to the chicken whilst it is being smoked.
I added the fine rub first to coat the chicken breast side up putting the rub on the meat of the legs before pulling the skin back over and applying rub again once the skin was back in place. I let this set for a minute or two then added the course rub that I had made over the top of this to add texture and a bit of spice and colour to the chicken. Once this had set (gone a bit shiny and adhered to the skin) I turned the bird over and on this side i only applied Mr Rubba Rubba. Why? Well this is the side that's closer to the heat and if I put a sugar based rub on this side it will burn!
That brings me to the last area that made this Spatchcock Chicken a bit special, the smoke. I'm in love with my Pro Q Frontier 3-in1 Smoker as it has so far done every cook just as I wanted it and today was no exception. I hear 'Chefs' all the time bang on about temperatures of the oven, chicken needs to be cooks hot & fast and the oven needs to be above 200 C (390 F) but I hear those who know better talk about the doneness of meat and chicken breast is safe with an internal temperature of 75 C (165 F) and with the legs ideally a few degrees more. My Frontier sat at 140 C (285 F) throughout the cook which allowed the smoke to penetrate (I used peach wood chunks) and the chicken was tender, juicy and packed with flavour.....as well as cooked. Not really low and slow, more like lower and slower!
So what did I do with this chicken once it had been smoked to perfection? I made a Chicken Stroganoff which if I say so myself was bloody delicious. It is my first time making a stroganoff and I must confess that it has been many, many years since I had eaten it so I was a tad concerned if the family liked it, I needn't have been concerned, it all went. Before you bang on that it should be Beef Stroganoff, the stroganoff is the dish and you can put whatever protein you want with it, I chose chicken.
I made the Stroganoff (I won't bore you with that, there are plenty of people showing this on YouTube) and laid strips of smoked chicken on the top so that you could taste the smoke rather than mix the chicken in, that is definitely the way to serve it. Do they want it again, yes they do so I won't leave it twenty years or more before eating this again. Maybe I'll use beef next time, though it won't be ordinary beef, it'll be Frontier Smoked Beef!