Tuesday, 16 August 2011

001 - Soy Glazed Chicken Thighs on a Grilling Plank

I've been enjoying cooking and finding new recipes for a number of years now. But this summer really has been all about the BBQ for me!

My barbecue attempts in previous years have mainly consisted of shop-bought burgers, hot dogs in buns and pre-marinated cuts of chick and pork. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with that! But, I was looking for new tastes and challenges. This year, I finally invested in a BBQ with a lid (I can't believe how much difference that makes), some decent tools and have been searching out new recipes to try outdoors. 

The first recipe in the list of 100 Things to BBQ, is from Weber's Complete BBQ Book. I'd tried smoking with some wood chips last weekend and was really impressed with the results, so the idea of grilling on top of a plank really appealed

Firstly, the plank needs to be soaked in liquid so that you can bring it up to a high enough temperature to start smoking without it actually igniting! As this was my first time using a plank, I chose to simply use water so that I could benchmark the flavour against any future mix of beer, wine or juice that I might use. 

The recipe called for the chicken thighs to be marinated first in a combination of soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, ginger and garlic. I've got to say, it's worth making a batch of this glaze up even if you're not planning to grill anything because the smell of it simmering on the hob was amazing! As usual, I fired up the coals using my trusty chimney. Then it's time to get the plank smoking! The plank is put over direct medium heat, with the lid closed, for about 5-10 minutes until you see smoke start to appear from the air vents. At this point, the plank is flipped over and moved to indirect heat.

The chicken is then placed on the smouldering surface of the plank... cue a satisfying sizzle... Aaah :-)

After about 40 minutes of indirect heat, with occasional basting, the chicken turned out a wonderfully deep mahogany brown. As you'll see from the photo below, it looked so appetizing that my family had already nicked a couple of pieces before I had a chance.to reach for my camera!

The chicken was very flavourful, and moist - but to be honest, I couldn't really taste any "smokiness" from the plank. Having said that, that might have been because the glaze was quite strong and possibly overpowered the effect of the smoke. 

I'll try it with a simpler marinade next time. Lots of fun to try though and really tasty - it received rave reviews from all that had a piece :-)


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