Sweet tea brined chicken

Smoked chicken is a favorite ’round these parts. In fact, if I was to rate our favorites, it would be:

1a)Brisket

1b)Chicken

3)St.Louis style spare ribs

4)Pulled pork

This chicken is pretty simple, really. Brine for 24 hours. Smoke for 1-1.5 Enjoy! Of course, there are a couple of decisions to make with regard to a couple of those steps. Tonight, I changed up the norm, in that I smoked with cherry as opposed to hickory. And I added crushed garlic and onions to the brine, much to my wife’s chagrin. She asserts that there’s nothing wrong with the chicken, and when she’s found how she likes it, she wants to keep it the way she wants it. But, I like change. I think I’m going to have to do it again, though, as the cherry wood changed the product more than I expected. Sorry, dear. ūüėČ

Sweet tea brined chicken
Recipe type: Sweet tea brined chicken
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Brine with a southern accent delivers a bit of personality to your chicken.
Ingredients
  • Chicken (I prefer pieces, mostly because my family prefers dark meat)
  • 1 gallon iced tea
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup kosher salt
  • 3 lemons
  • Handful of rosemary
  • Thyme
Instructions
  1. Using whatever method you choose, make iced tea. I, personally, only make iced tea using Luzianne tea if I have a choice. Using my iced tea pot, I make iced tea WITHOUT THE ICE. I usually make two pots, which is probably around a half gallon of stronger, hot tea.I do this so that the temp is up and it's easier to dissolve the salt and sugar. Once the salt and sugar are dissolved, I add ice, in order to reduce the concentration of the tea and bring the temperature down quickly. I then add rosemary and thyme, fresh if available, and then I'll halve the lemons and squeeze them into the brine. Add chicken and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Preferably, I remove the chicken from the brine an hour or two before preparing to put the chicken on the smoker. This gives the meat a chance to dry out a bit. I also like to let the meat come up in temperature a bit before adding it to the smoker.
  3. Bring the temperature up as close to 300 degrees F before adding the chicken. This helps you avoid the smoked chicken skin being tasty, wood smoked flavored bubble gum.
  4. Smoke wood can be a bit of a holy war. To date, I still prefer hickory. Tonight, I smoked my chicken using cherry, and wasn't prepared for how sweet it seemed to make the chicken. It was still tasty, just different from my normal hickory characteristics.
  5. Smoke the chicken to 165F, or a little better if you prefer.

 

Lowcountry Summer

As a lover of good BBQ, regardless of what kind it is, I’m particularly interested in working to experience some of the best of different types of sauces. The SC Barbeque Society¬†has a good link on the different types of ‘que that you’ll find in the country. For the most part, they break down into one of four families, in order of age:

Vinegar and Pepper: Traditionally located in the Carolina plains, from Virginia to Georgia

Mustard Sauce: Rich in German heritage, it’s the type of BBQ sauce that South Carolina is most famous for.

Light tomato: Vinegar and pepper with a bit of ketchup, this is popular around the Carolina region known as the Piedmont

Heavy tomato: Popular in the rest of the country, it’s a heavier, sweeter sauce. Often found on your grocer’s shelf.But c’mon now. You can do better than that, right?

 

For the Mayhem crew, my love of the Lowcountry¬†is no surprise. So, there’s even less surprise that the first style that I decided that I wanted to experiment with was the Mustard sauce. Little bit of a disclaimer. I like spicy food. So, I wanted to make a Lowcountry sauce that I thought would give me some Lowcountry character with just a bit of something else. Boy, did I find it!

For now, the only thing that I did differently than the recipe wasn’t even really different from the recipe. It just wasn’t defined what kind of hot sauce to use. So, I used Frank’s Red Hot. And it was delicious. But, I feel the need to warn you again. It had a bit of heat to it. I halved the recipe, so I only used 1 tbsp of cayenne.

Great flavor, lots of character, unmistakably Lowcountry, and HEAT.

Sure sounds like Lowcountry Summer to me.

Decision/Despair/Disgust 2012

Decision 2012, in my opinion, is going to be a rather critical moment for this country. This is why it saddens me, that the decision is going to be so heavily weighted on one word.

No, that word is not socialism. Nor is it capitalism. That word is xenophobia.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/xenophobia

xen·o·pho·bi·a

[zen-uh-foh-bee-uh, zee-nuh-]

noun

an unreasonable fear or hatred of foreigners or strangers or of that which is foreign or strange.
An opinionated sort, with an interest in politics, it’s no surprise that I’m very interested in the opinions of the masses. The source matters not. Comments on articles. Discussions on facebook. Discussions with imaginary friends on debate boards. There are a lot of important things to discuss, in my opinion. We have very real topics to discuss. Topics like national debt and deficit, and how to improve it. Topics like jobs, and how to create them. Topics such as women’s rights to equal pay and their medical autonomy. Or, perhaps healthcare as a whole, and who should have access to it? The list of important issues that are owed some intelligent discourse is long.
Which is why it causes me such anguish that the important topics of this election, according to the comments, seem to be whether or not Barack Obama, or even Mitt Romney, is a Christian. Or, that he was born in Kenya. Y’know, as if that shouldn’t have been put to bed by the Hawaiian authorities coming out in support of his birth certificate. Barack Hussein Obama may have what, to Americans, is a “funny” name. ¬†But, it doesn’t make him less American. He’s not a Muslim, though there would be nothing wrong with him ACTUALLY being a Muslim. If, y’know…he was.
Why is it that this is what people are looking to attack him on? Some of this stuff is not only false, it’s embarrassing. It’s embarrassing to me, as an American, that this is what Americans are talking about. We’re not talking about the fact that President Obama is preferred¬†to continue on as the leader of the free world., according to a BBC poll. By every surveyed nation but one. ¬†Apparently,¬†Pakistan apparently still isn’t thrilled with him.
This really isn’t intended to be a political opinion piece. In the interest of disclosure, I’m supportive of another term for President Obama. But, that’s not the part that gives me despair. It’s the fact that so many Americans, in 2012, will vote for anybody BUT President Barack Hussein Obama.
Why? Because he’s black.
Or, because he’s a Muslim, serving terrorists.
Or, because he was born in Kenya…
There’s plenty of room for dissent as far as what direction we should be heading. Some of my favorite people on this planet are most assuredly voting for Romney. Bless their hearts. ūüėČ I did hear one of them has recently switched teams, though!
I quite enjoy my discussions with them. They can hold intelligent conversations as to what they feel should happen. I don’t want someone to agree with me, I want someone to make me think.
All the people who want to talk about how “I’ll never be convinced Obama is a Christian”, or the birthers carrying on about “Obama is an illegal president”, or making sure to reference Obama’s middle name, because it may illuminate how you feel he’s different from you?
There’s a term for you. It’s called xenophobe. And, in case you were wondering? It’s YOU that is wrong with this country.¬†If one guy lost because more people agreed with the other’s platform, that’d be one thing. This platform, as far as I can tell, though, seems to be predicated upon refusing or revoking the civil rights of others, and I can’t get behind that.

Madness

Welcome. If you’re here for day one, you probably know the special brand of chaos that exists at my house. For the lone stranger in the room, though, I’m a thirty-something IT guy. Married to my best friend since ’99, with three beautiful girls. Twelve, six, and three. In 2010, we moved from the Chicago burbs to what can only be described as Nowhere, OH, where I now work from home full time.

Life is good.

This affords me a lot of flexibility. Why do we live in Nowhere, OH? Because I haven’t talked my bride’s family into following me to the South Carolina Lowcountry. It also affords me the opportunity to have great barbecue, even during the week. Stick around, and I’ll share some of my favorite discoveries. Meat rubs. Beer. technologies, and likely other stuff. Where applicable, I’ll share the recipes, so that you can recreate it at home. I’d certainly appreciate it if you do the same.

So, grab a draft beer, and make yourself comfortable. I don’t mind if you put your feet up on the couch. ¬†Hopefully, we’ll discover some stuff together.

Eric