Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Hickory Flavored Grilled Chicken Legs...Prepared to the Blues

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Let's Dig In!

My love for blues music equals my love for food from the grill!

A bluesy cooking experience for me would definitely include filling my kitchen with music from a blues singer such as John Lee Hooker. Many of the best early rock songs from bands such as the Stones, The Doors and many others are a result of the music created by old style blues man like John Lee Hooker.

Blues music reminds me of southern cooking which then brings to mind barbecue. Grilled chicken is a favorite and what I love about it is you can add just about any flavor to it! This time instead of using spices I mixed together a few different types of sauces I thought would work well together.

The combination of green onions, chili sauce, butter, mustard and hickory flavored barbecue sauce has to be one of the easiest marinades I’ve ever put together. It delivers a good, yet not overpowering, amount of hickory flavor. I also like the idea of using butter in the marinade. I got it from The Backyard Barbecue Cookbook and glad I followed their lead because when you put the chicken on the grill you can hear the butter begin to sizzle...like it's frying the chicken! Oh yeah!
When I listen to blues I often like to break out the harmonica and do my best to play along. So to explain how I feel about this dish I’ve written this blues tune I call The Grilled Chicken Blues.
It goes a little something like this.

  • Whah-Whaaaa-wha-whah (that's the lead in with the harmonica...in case you were wondering)
  • When my stomach is feeling empty
  • Whah-Whaaa-wha-whah
  • And I'm tired of frying
  • Whah-Whaaa-wha-whah
  • I prepare these grilled-chicken legs
  • Whah-Whaaaa-wha-whah
  • And they keep me smiling!
So I may not be the greatest songwriter but I hope this little ditty at least describes how much I enjoyed this chicken! I hope it has you singing your own version of The Grilled Chicken Blues too!

Hip Cooking Tip: When cooking lean chicken on the grill keep the temperature around medium-low with the hood down. The temperature reading on my grill stayed between 300º F and 350º F. It seemed to be the sweet spot as it kept the meat nice and juicy on the inside and prevented the outside from burning.

Song Suggestion: Trying to suggest the best John Lee Hooker song is like trying to suggest the best grilled chicken dish…impossible. One of his most popular songs has to be Shake It Baby. It delivers an upbeat and lively cooking experience...not what you usually expect from an old blues tune.

Recipe Pairing: I really like the looks of this Spicy Corn Relish recipe from the husband and wife team at Leftovers for Lunch.  Looks like it would go awesome with just about any grilled chicken dish! I'm going to have to give this one a try!

Hickory Flavored Grilled Chicken Legs
Grilled chicken legs in a doctored up hickory flavored barbecue sauce

8 to 10 chicken legs, skin removed
2 chopped green onions (white parts only)
3 tbsp hickory flavored barbecue sauce
2 tbsp tomato-based chili sauce
2 tbsp softened unsalted butter
2 tsp grainy mustard
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

In a large bowl mix together onions, barbecue sauce, chili sauce, butter, mustard and pepper. Add chicken legs and toss to coat. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

Heat barbecue grill to medium heat. Place chicken legs on grill, close the hood and let grill (turning occasionally) until chicken is cooked through, about 20 to 25 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.

Volume: Makes 4 servings

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Brent Garell (@kitchenroadie)

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