Sunday, 25 October 2009

16 Spice Smoked Chicken

I've gotta be up front, right from the start. This was actually 15 spice smoked chicken, not 16. It's not that I have anything against 16. In fact, I would have been more than happy to have truly been 16 spice, but the sad fact is that I was unable to locate one of the spices, hence 15.

It begins with Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill cookbook. Actually, that's not right. It begins with a dinner at Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill in August.

You see, I've not watched a lot of Bobby Flay's Food Network shows, and up until that point I had only flipped through his cookbooks - from a design perspective they didn't do much for me, so I never bought one, despite my ever increasing collection of cookbooks with celebrity chefs.

But after eating at Mesa Grill New York in August and delighting in the incredible spice blends (subtle, spicy, interesting) I had another look at the book. Again, the look didn't entice me, but actually seeing the recipes I had tried drew me in. IN the end, a quick visit to and I was the proud owner of the Mesa Grill Cookbook.

I've made several dishes from this book, but this was the first on the smoker. You see, I was looking for a recipe that would lend itself to the smoker, but have that southwest, spicy feel (I should admit here that I may be addicted to spicy, Mexican food, and the southwest varietal is supporting this habit).

Another interesting fact is that in preparation for this blog, I had a looksee on the web to see if any site had posted this spice blend recipe. Indeed they did, including Bobby Flay's own website, but with a noticeable difference. Instead of the 3tbsp of cinnamon called for in the actutal cookbook (which I had no intention of using as it seemed extreme to me) it called just for one. I'm assuming a correction - likely much needed.

One more tidbit, the spice I didn't' have on hand was chile de arbol. After doing a quick check on the spiciness of the chile de arbol (15000-30000 scoville units) I determined that this one was more about the heat than the flavour, so I substituted additional cayenne in place.

I basically prepared the chicken in usual smoker fashion, but substituted the 16 (actually 15) spice blend as my rub. So quick rundown:

• Spatchcock chicken, rinse and pat dry
• Rub with spice blend
• Meanwhile prepare smoker - put in a light smoke varietal (apple, maple, alder) - heat to high
• Wait 15 minutes
• When chicken is ready to go on reduce temp to 275F
• Put the bird on
• Sprtiz every hour with apple juice until ready (depends on size)
• Mmmmm

The end result was a wonderfully smoked chicken (as usual), with an entriguing taste. The spice rub reminded me of 5 spice rub, but a bit more complex (likely the additional 10 spices contributed to this).

I served topped with a roasted red pepper sauce, and a rendition of Sophie's Salad, both from the Bobby Flay Mesa Grill cookbook and a yummy smoked corn casserole (but that's another blogpost).

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Gourmet Magazine Closes

It's not about smoking. It's not about pressure cooking. But it is significant in the world of food.

Gourmet magazine, published since 1940, is closing. A sad day indeed.