It’s about getting down and dirty. You’ve got to get hands-on, get stuck in and extract the most from the food in the most primal way. Use your hands to crush and combine the fresh herbs, garlic and spices. Massage the marinade into the meat, and press the seasonings in with your hands instead of using a brush. I show you how to improvise and impart the best flavors possible with using something as simple as a bunch of mixed fresh herbs tied to a wooden dowel with twine. Discard the roasting rack and other exotic equipment — you won’t need it. Sometimes restraint can be difficult, but even if you are limited by your ingredients, it doesn’t mean you’re limited in the flavors you can produce. — Adam Perry Lang in the Introduction to BBQ 25.
I’m not sure I have a BBQ idol, but if I did it would be Adam Perry Lang (APL). Over the last couple of years no single person has influenced me more in my BBQ techniques than APL.
I can remember one of the biggest “I’ve just got to do that” moments was after watching an episode of the Food Network’s “Th Best Thing I Ever Ate.” Today I can’t remember who the host of that particular segment was, but I do remember they were raving about the smoke beef ribs at APL’s restaurant in New York City.
These were not your normal beef back ribs. They were more like a roast on a bone. I just sat there staring at the screen, knowing that since I wasn’t going to be eating them any time soon I had to try to make them myself. I searched high and low for the type of ribs they were. I googled, I Tweeted, I Facebooked all to know avail. I could find what cut of meat they were. Finally I just asked APL on his Facebook wall. And he responsed. I was like a 12 year old girl at a Taylor Swift concert. APL answered me. (Okay enough with the melodramatics) They were “Plate ShortRibs.” So off to the butcher I went to buy some. They came out great. (The original blog post is here.)
My next APL moment was when I bought a copy of Serious Barbecue: Smoke, Char, Baste, and Brush Your Way to Great Outdoor Cooking What a simply fantastic cookbook this is. I had tried to find 15 to 20 other BBQ bloggers that were willing to take turns cooking recipes from it and blogging about them. The goal was to cook our way through “Serious Barbecue” from front to back. I still hope to someday accomplish that task.
APL’s latest book is BBQ 25. Unlike “Serious Barbecue” this new book is about the simplicity of bbq. APL explains in his introduction why he took this approach:
“There are two sides to me. One is obsessed by technique and detail. The other is spontaneous, adaptive, and not too concerned about getting bogged down with complicated processes…
“But les is often more. This is that book. This is the backbone of barbecue.”
“BBQ 25″ should appeal to all bbq/grilling skill levels. If you fancy yourself a backyarder with some skills you’ll be tempted to jump right to the 25 recipes in the book. But don’t overlook the beginning of the cookbook where APL has written some extremely helpful “tips.” The “Glossary of Techniques” explains the processes used in each of the recipes.
Each recipe is broken down into the following “techniques:”
- Before Cooking
- During Cooking
- After Cooking
- Cooking Method (Pre-Grilling, Direct or Indirect heat)
Even for the most skilled griller the explanation of these techniques is a good refresher.
The 25 recipes are divided into Five Categories: Beef, Pork, Lamb, Chicken and Fish/Misc. Each of these protein categories are futher divided into Quick Cook, Medium Cook and/or Long Cook areas.
Whether you choose to tackle the Quick Cook recipe of a filet mignon or the “Long Cook of a Pork Butt each recipe will give you step by step instructions on how to preare that recipe. From taking the meat out of the refrigerator to setting the table the recipe will guide you through the whole process.
One of the newest and most popular trends in cookbooks today is having stories/memories to go along with each recipe. None of that here. This is a down and dirty BBQ cookbook. Simplicity at it’s best. Lots of pictures and diagrams will make even the most unskilled griller appreciate their new found ability to turn out fantastic food.
This is a must have cookbook. If you can master one recipe from each of the categories you’ll be the envy of 90% of all backyard grillers. Get this book.
20. Whole Chicken (Spatchcock/Butterflied)
Two 3 ½ – 4 lb. chickens, spatchcocked/butterflied, thighs & legs slashed
INGREDIENTS FOR BRINE
- ¼ cup sea salt or kosher salt
- 1 Tbsp freshly ground
- black pepper
- 10 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 Tbsp fresh rosemary leaves
- 2 Tbsp fresh oregano leaves
- 2 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- 6 cups cold water
- 2 Tbsp canola oil or vegetable oil
INGREDIENTS FOR BASTE/GLAZE
- 4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 5 garlic cloves, crushed
- Juice of 1 lemon
- ¼ cup honey
- 2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tsp water
Combine all the brine ingredients in a large bowl or large sealable plastic bag. Mix and crush the ingredients with your hands, directly or through the bag, squeezing them to release the maximum flavor. Transfer half the brine to another bowl or bag.
Put the chickens in the brine, transfer to the refrigerator, and brine for at least 3 hours, and up to 24 hours.
Prepare the grill for indirect cooking; the temperature should be 300°F. Drain the chicken and dry with paper towels. Glisten with the canola oil.
Put the chickens skin side up on the well-oiled preheated grill and cook, covered, with the addition of wood of your choice (I prefer fruit woods when available), for 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine all the baste/glaze ingredients in a small bowl.
Baste the chickens, using a regular brush or an Herb Brush (see page 4), and continue to cook, covered, basting every 15 minutes, for 45 minutes, or until the chicken is done: the juices should run clear when a thigh is pierced, and the thickest part of the thigh should register 165°F on an instant-read thermometer.
Transfer the chickens to a cutting board, skin side up, and allow to rest for 10 minutes before cutting into 6 pieces each (2 breasts, 2 thighs, 2 drumsticks).
From BBQ 25 by Adam Perry Lang copyright 2010 with permission of William Morrow/An Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers