My obsession with grilling continues… I recently got a new grill and have been using it almost everyday. I just really look forward to grilling. So I was making chicken kebabs and I had a couple of large tomatoes I needed to use. Don’t ask me why but I thought I’d put a skewer through them and put them on the rack above the kebabs so that the liquid would trickle down.
When I first saw Jeff Mauro’s recipe for Chicken Shawarma I thought of Marvel and The Avengers. There have been brief mentions of shawarma in some relatively recent Marvel movies, cartoons, and comics. For this reason alone I decided to make chicken shawarma as soon as possible. I slightly modified the recipe by using chicken breast instead of thighs and smoked paprika instead of normal paprika.
Recently I’ve been obsessed with putting everything on the grill. I’m sure one of the reasons is that the weather has been amazing the past week or so, staying mostly sunny and in the low to mid seventies. I have a small charcoal grill and a small propane grill. Mostly, I use the propane grill since its cleaner and easier. However, I appreciate charcoal for cooking something like an inch and a half thick cut rib-eye (mmm) and I really like arranging charcoal like one side of a sloping hill so I can clearly gauge and effectively utilize the varying levels of heat on the grill surface. The way I arrange charcoal would depend upon the grill I suppose.
This is one of the few times I’ve ever been camping in an RV and it is pleasantly strange to have things like a microwave and a fridge. However, the fire pit on the site had a grill rack on it and I was excited to do something with it. Enter campfire chicken. Once I had a decent fire going (and I felt the rack in the pit was sterilized enough) I seasoned my chicken breast with mesquite seasoning (just used a packet I brought) and put it over the fire. Luckily, the rack was adjustable so I could ensure that the chicken was far away enough from the fire so that it cooked and did not burn. Also, the chicken needed to be close enough to the fire to get some char and cook in a reasonable time frame so that it did not just taste like smoke. If the rack were not adjustable, I just would have had to be really thoughtful about where and how I built the fire in the pit so that the rack was in the right place.
I don’t remember how long the chicken cooked for, I didn’t really keep track. I just flipped it a few times and took it off when it was the proper firmness. I believe the cooking time was something like 15-20 minutes. The chicken had a great smoke flavor from the oak wood we were burning and it was perfectly crispy. It was also a nice break from eating burgers. I lost count on how many burgers Gar and I grilled up and ate with our small propane BBQ.
If you haven’t cooked a whole chicken in the crock pot, you’re missing out. Firstly, I love buying and cooking whole chickens. You can cook or prepare them in many ways. You can break them down and use only certain pieces and save the rest. However, there is no other way of cooking a whole chicken that has a greater simple to delicious ratio than putting it in a crock pot with a simple seasoning. This chicken comes out falling off the bone. It is so moist and tender and so easy and so hard to screw up.
All you need to do is season a whole chicken that has been rinsed and patted dry and put it in the crock pot breast side up on a medium to low heat for 6-8 hours or 4 hours on high. Also, this may sound obvious to most but remove the innards. Every crock pot is different and I usually let my crock pot temperature and cooking time be dictated by my schedule. Yesterday was a crazy ass day at work and I figured it would be as much. So before I left in the morning, I put the chicken on a ten hour low heat setting so it would be ready after my long work day.
The last thing you need to know about making this dish is that you can get fancy with what you put in it besides the chicken but you really don’t need to do anything other than season with salt and pepper all over and under the skin to make it absolutely delicious. DO NOT worry about putting liquid in the crock pot, trust me, you really don’t need to. Instead of just salt and pepper, yesterday I used a seasoning blend that was a riff I did on Emeril’s “Essence” (Emeril’s creole seasoning) which is a seasoning blend I came across while looking up different recipes on fried onion rings of all things. If I had more time yesterday and wanted to do something different I could have mixed my seasoning blend with a can of crushed tomatoes and added onion and bell pepper. Once the chicken was done I could have removed and shredded the meat then added the meat back to the juices in the crock pot. I could have served that with black beans, rice, and homemade corn tortillas…. just a thought. Here’s the recipe for the seasoning blend I used for this chicken and I really hope you discover how easy and tasty it is to crock pot a whole chicken if you haven’t already.
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon garlic powder
½ tablespoon black pepper
½ tablespoon onion powder
½ tablespoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon dried leaf oregano
½ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon cumin