This Smoked Grilled Peruvian Chicken is bathed in a citrusy marinade and then cooked on the grill, using smoke as an ingredient.
Have you ever tried smoking food on the grill? I don’t have a charcoal grill, but recently, I tried smoking chicken and carrots on my gas grill. Smoke generated from flavorful wood can add an extra complexity of flavor when you’re grilling, whether it’s an animal protein or vegetables. I am definitely a novice when it comes to smoking food, but I am interested in exploring this area more.
Recently, I received a copy of Barton Seaver’s newest cookbook, Where There’s Smoke, which is all about simple, sustainable, delicious grilling. Barton Seaver’s first cookbook, For Cod And Country, had caught my eye a while back, and I was anxious to learn more about his passion for educating people about the interrelationship between our health and the health of our environment, both land and sea.
Barton Seaver, a chef, who created three top restaurants in Washington, D.C., actually quit his job as a chef to work with various organizations to bring awareness to the public of living and eating sustainably in our environment. For Barton, food is not just about nourishment, it’s about building community, friendship, love, sense of self and much more.
In his newest cookbook, Where There’s Smoke, Barton intertwines practical tips on how to:
- Grill using smoke (using techniques that are healthier and greener),
- Pair wines with grilled food
- Season food to pair with wine, and
- Entertain while enjoying your guests
Barton views smoke as an ingredient (each type of wood has its own unique aroma and flavor), as basic as stock or olive oil, using it to add richness and fullness to the foods he prepares. The key is to manage the smoke properly.
Although there are some health concerns when it comes to grilling, Barton does a nice job suggesting safer, healthier, and greener ways to grill, including using indirect heat and serving smaller portions of protein alongside lot of vegetables (animal protein naturally contains compounds that become carcinogenic when subjected to high heat, something that vegetables do not contain). Throughout the book, Barton emphasizes the importance of the care given in raising the very food that you cook and eat.
Typically, you might expect mostly meat lover recipes in a grilling cookbook, but Where There’s Smoke is packed with vegetable dishes, some grilled, some not, as well as a variety of protein dishes (he suggests sustainably raised). In fact, Barton makes a point to make vegetables center stage, with enticing recipes such as Charred Brussels Sprouts with Orange-Pecan Dressing, Grilled Cauliflower with Mint and Parmesan, Grilled Lacinato Kale and Grilled Portobello Mushrooms with Mint Pesto.
There are seven chapters in Where There’s Smoke:
- Welcome (Drinks + Starters)
- Setting the Stage (Soups + Salads)
- Stars (Vegetables + Accompaniments)
- Fish + Shells (Fish + Shellfish)
- Wings (Chicken, Turkey + Duck), and
- Hooves (Beef, Pork + Lamb).
- Basics (Barton’s signature recipes for seasoning mixes, marinades, oils, sauces, pickles and other condiments)
This Smoked Grilled Peruvian Chicken is the first recipe I tried. Like almost all of the recipes in Where There’s Smoke, this was an easy one to make, with a short list of ingredients. Barton Seaver’s approach is straightforward and relies on the freshest of ingredients, so I shouldn’t have been surprised by how incredibly good this dish was (sometimes the easiest recipes yield the best results).
Although my gas grill has a small smoker box on the right side, I decided to use a second smoker box, both filled with cherry wood chips (you could also use foil to wrap the chips). I placed the second smoker box on the left side of the grill, and the chicken in the middle of the grill. For the first five minutes of grilling, the chicken lay over direct heat, after which I moved the chicken to the right side of the grill and shut off the burners on that side. I let the chicken finish cooking over indirect heat, yielding a moist chicken with a light smoky flavor.
I had some fun playing around with Smoky Grilled Carrots too (this recipe is also in Barton Seaver’s cookbook). I’m looking forward to experimenting more with smoke as an ingredient.
On my list to try next are: Grilled Broccoli with Pecan Pesto and Parmesan, Grilled Bok Choy, Grilled Fish Tacos (Barton suggests brining the fish first which I found interesting), Jerk Spice-Smoked Chicken Breast, and Pickled Watermelon Rind.
Smoked Grilled Peruvian Chicken Recipe
- Juice of 2 limes
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon organic sugar
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons smoked sweet paprika
- 2 teaspoons powdered chile pepper I used ancho
- 3 1/2 - 4 pounds chicken parts
In a large mixing bowl, mix together lime juice, vinegar, salt and sugar.
Combine olive oil, cumin, paprika, and chile powder in a small saucepan; heat over medium heat until aromatic and oil begins to bubble, about 3 minutes. Add hot oil mixture to lime juice mixture. Let cool. Add chicken pieces to bowl and coat well with marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight. Let the chicken come to room temperature before cooking it, about 30 minutes.
Build a medium fire in a grill and add chunks of a flavorful wood such as maple, oak or hickory. When the wood has burned down to embers, place the chicken, skin side down, directly over the coals. Cook for 2 minutes, then rotate the grill grate so the chicken is away from the fire. Cover the grill and cook until an instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees F when inserted along the leg about, about 20 minutes.
Transfer chicken to a platter and serve.