It is true that Kettle grills, kamados, and offset smokers are supurb at their job. Yet, sometimes a recipe calls for a unique style of cooking that these catch all grills just can't match. Here are two alternative grilling methods I have found that really take a recipe to the next level when used right.
Method 1. It Starts With The Starter
A charcoal chimney starter is a great way to start coals fast and efficiently but that’s not all it can do. You can use your chimney starter to replicate the intense heat of a tandoori oven. Say goodbye to that Indian take-out habit. Cooking over the flames coming out of the starter not only makes you feel like MacGyver of outdoor cooking but it also works beautifully. The heat creates a great sear on the meat and imparts a slight smokey flavor. So grab a pair of 360 skewers and a charcoal chimney and get ready to impress your friends.
MacGyver Your Own Tandoori Oven
The setup is relatively simple and can be used for almost any flavor of kabob but I think cooking tandoori chicken really allows this technique to shine. The yogurt-based marinades need intense heat to caramelize but they also tend to stick to the grill grates. All you need to do is light up ¼ to 1/3 of a chimney with briquettes and allow them to become red hot. If you don’t wait until they have all fully ignited the meat will have a sooty flavor and the heat will not be as intense as you want. The other thing to remember is that the smaller the thinner the meat on the skewer is the faster and easier it is to cook.
Tandoori Chicken Recipe
2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
2 tablespoon ground coriander seeds
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon of paprika
2 teaspoons ground annatto seeds
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Juice of 2 lemons
2 cups of yogurt
3 tablespoons kosher salt
1. Combine coriander, cumin, paprika, paprika, annatto, cinnamon, lemon juice, yogurt, and salt in a large bowl.
2. Stir to make sure spices are mixed evenly.
3. Add chicken thighs to bowl making sure pieces are completely covered in the marinade.
4. Cover the bowl and allow it to marinate in the fridge for 2 to 24 hours.
5. Remove chicken thighs from marinade. Make sure to give the thighs a shake to remove excess marinade but you do not need to remove it all. Thread the thighs on to the 360 skewers.
6. Place skewer on the rim of the charcoal chimney and roast on one side until the chicken has a slight char. Flip the chicken and cook until the internal temperature of the thighs registers 160F.
Method 2. Right In The Coals
Now you have cooked your chicken but you still have some coals left over, what do you do with them? How about a dish called Carciofi Alla Brace?
Never heard of it, well its artichokes that are cooked directly in the embers of a fire. It’s a simple way to add a new dimension to cooking artichokes. The only thing you’ll need is a pair of long-handled tongs.
It’s best to use smaller artichokes because they cook quicker and more even then the large ones. So don’t be like me and be tempted by large globe artichokes like these. They took a long time to cook and you are better off cleaning a couple more small ones.
To prepare the artichokes cut the top off of the artichokes and scoop out the choke (the fuzzy center). Sprinkle heavily with salt and nestle them into the embers stem side down. Check the artichoke periodically by removing them with your tongs and try to pierce the base with a small knife. The artichokes are done when the knife can be inserted with little resistance. The outer leaves and base will be charred. It’s best to remove burnt outer leaves and scrape the heart of the artichoke to remove burnt exterior.
Serve them however you prefer, but I really enjoy these with a drizzle of salmoriglio sauce. It’s an Italian sauce that is great on grilled foods. It is traditionally served on grilled swordfish and consists of a mixture of olive oil, lemon, garlic, and oregano.
Salmoriglio Sauce Recipe
½ cup of extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 large lemon about ¼ cup
one bunch of oregano chopped
3 cloves of garlic chopped
2 tablespoons of water
salt to taste
Combine all ingredients in into a small sauce pot and cook over high heat until the mixture starts to bubble. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 3 minutes. Allow mixture to cool. The sauce can be kept in the fridge for up to a week.
WHAT IS YOUR TRICK?
Do you have a method that takes your grilling to the next level? Let me know in the comments below or tag us on Instagram with your grillings @Charcoalcompanion.