Smoked Chicken with Sorghum-Cayenne Glaze
Perhaps the food I look most forward to during the summer is chicken on the grill. More than hamburgers and hot dogs, I have a distinct memory of my dad and uncle firing up the grill maybe three or four times a year to make grilled chicken. Marinated in Indian spices, they would cook the hell out of some boneless skinless chicken breasts until they were as dry as shoe leather. There was nothing that could keep me away from that burnt piece of chicken. We’ve all had that experience, I’m sure! Being a fairly oblivious 4 year old, I dipped it in BBQ sauce and loved it! It wasn’t so much about the food, it was about playing outside while dad was grilling and eating with our hands – things we never did on normal days. The smell of smoke wafted through the air and even now, 20 years later, I’m taken back to those first few summers every time I light up the grill.
While I was doing my last Charcutepalooza challenge, I decided to go ahead and smoke a chicken on the grill with the Canadian bacon. Just coated with a little bit of my dry rub, I let it cook until the chicken registered 160 degrees. Finished with a sweet and spicy glaze made from local sorghum syrup and cayenne pepper, this chicken had a TON of flavor. I ate it for a few days too – shredded into tacos, sliced in a salad, and as a late night snack!
Smoked Chicken with Sorghum-Cayenne Glaze (serves 4)
(Recipe courtesy of Vivek Surti)
For the glaze:
1/2 cup sorghum syrup (if you can’t find it, use maple syrup)
1 T cayenne pepper
For the chicken:
1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces
2 T ancho chile powder
1 T spanish paprika
1 T ground coriander
1 T dry mustard
1.5 tsp dried oregano
1.5 tsp ground cumin
1.5 tsp chile de arbol
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Combine all the spices, except salt and pepper in a bowl. In another bowl, add the chicken and lubricate it with oil, about 1 tablespoon. Then add salt and pepper to season. Toss in the spice rub and rub all around the chicken, covering any exposed flesh and skin.
Get your kettle grill or smoker out and light a small fire. Once the coals are ashed over, add a 1/2 cup of soaked wood chips (I used hickory) and cover the grill. Let smoke around a constant heat of 250 degrees, refilling the coals as necessary. After 30 minutes, add 1/2 cups more of soaked wood chips. Once your chicken reaches 160 degrees, brush it with the glaze and remove from the grill, it should take about an hour and a half.
This recipe will knock that throwback dry chicken on it’s butt. Enjoy your grilled/smoked chicken – you deserve it!