Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Your Spatchwhatnow?

Tee hee.

Like all my grand moments of failure in life, I feel like this occurrence had the Blue Danube waltz playing in the background--building to a musical crescendo that echoed the crescendo of my own idiocy. Ba Ba Ba Ba... dum dum, dum dum... You remember. If my life was a movie, there'd be a lot of cartoony waltz music playing over shots of me royally screwing things up in slo-mo.

The coveted rib cook-off trophy
You should know that E recently got a smoker from my Unkie Dave, who is one half The Brothers-Bucko, grand BBQers and smoke masters. E has earned his stripes on the grill--proving his excellence with such various and sundry proteins as salmon, chicken and tri tip--so now we're on to smoked meats. E grills a mean meat already, and since we had that smoked brisket in Hawaii, he hasn't been able to get the idea of a smoker out of his head. I'm years behind him in outdoor cooking, but I've been trying to use the grill more often and I'm getting pretty good. So as he's learning to use his new smoker, I'm still learning on the BBQ and ever trying to acquire new cooking techniques, recipes, etc.

Enter one defrosted chicken I bought from our school's Ag program. In my searches for rib recipes yesterday (this weekend is the annual Kynaston Family Fathers' Day Rib Cook-off, wherein one of the Bucko Bros or Aunt Anne generally win) I came across instructions for smokin' a whole bird. And I came across instructions for spatchcocking, a technique that basically just means taking out the backbone and breastbone to butterfly poultry so you can grill it flat, and thus more evenly. Like this:

So naturally I went at that bird with a pair of sharp kitchen scissors and my camera in hand. I was feeling even more awesome than normal, assuming that my spatchcocked chicken would become legendary in all the land and that people would journey from the East and West to apprentice at my hand. Or something. So here's how it went down:

Lookin' good, high school bird.

There's something equally satisfying and horrifying about cutting through bones. Craaaaaaaaaaaack.

Oooh my. My chicken needs a modesty patch. Avert your eyes.

Removing the breastbone. Again, I felt kind of bad for hacking at this animal. This tasty, tasty animal. Okay, not too bad.

And we're flipping, we're flipping... we're flipping.

Montreal Steak Seasoning makes everything better.

All set. This is where I'd place a brick on it, if I was a sav. But I didn't have a brick, so I just got 'er goin' on the grill alone. The recipe I was following said to heat the grill on high for 15 minutes beforehand. I think that's where things started to go wrong. It was a really hot day, so by the time I put the poor chicken on there, it was more like adding it to a funeral pyre. Farewell, sweet chicken.

Less than 10 minutes later. *Sadface* I should have known better than to blindly trust a recipe and not my instincts. As I search online today, it seems like I'm not the only one to have a problem with the recipe, either. So here we have a charred bird that's raw on the inside. Worst. Chicken. Ever. I'm just posting it here so you feel better about yourself. It worked, didn't it? You feel super dee duper.

Okay. I know you can barely read my blog anymore, you're so disappointed in me. I need you to know I cook chicken on the grill all the time and it comes out fine. I PROMISE I'M STILL AWESOME. But when I opened the grill and saw that bird LITERALLY in flames, my heart just sunk. Sank? Ah, eff it. It's summer. Who cares. I knew I basically just wasted a chicken. I also knew I had to keep cooking it or I couldn't serve it at all--so my poor fam had to eat dry chicken last night and peel off the char. Let me tell you how much kids like eating things that are charred.


*sigh* Sometimes I swear my life is an endless parade of dish-washing and laundry-folding strung together by "how many more bites?"

The rest of my dinner was great, and we managed. At least I know I can chop up a mean green salad and you really should see me boil broccoli. I tried some garlic red potatoes from my ATK cookbook and they were magically delicious. I was just really upset that my grilling didn't live up to my spatchcocking and that instead of being able to use the leftovers from the chicken for a week's worth of recipes, I was scraping them into the trash. I decided I'd redeem myself by making some fancy bread--I forgot to pick up bread at the grocery store and I was craving some homemade bready goodness. No way I could screw that up, right? Huh? Huh?

This is from last time--what it's supposed to look like.

I got this. No rise. Boo.


I'm going to eat raw things all day so I can avoid additional shame. I'll leave the rib cooking entirely to E.


  1. If I were up on my blogging like I should be, you'd see my major bread failure a few days ago. It was my fault, as I figured the expiration date on my yeast could merely just be a SUGGESTION... it rose well enough, but once I baked it everything went FLAT. Gross. There's always next time!

  2. Way to go for trying new things! I love your blog. I also know how sad it is when you work hard on a new recipe, think it's going great, and then something like that happens. I've experienced it many times, don't worry. And for the endless laundry/dish-washing/"how many more bites" comment, I can TOTALLY relate to that, too.