Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Bourbon Smoked Chicken

I hear from people all the time that they want to start eating healthier but they just don't know where to start.  My answer to someone like that is almost always the same, "start small."   One or two small changes in your diet can lead to great results.  Tackling a total diet makeover all at once is not only dramatic but it can be hard to break old habits overnight.  Choose one or two things that about your eating habits that you want to change: eat less sugar, eat more vegetables, eat more whole grains, include more protein in your meals, snack less, etc.

If you're still at a loss and you still don't know where to begin a healthier eating plan, start with a chicken.  Roasting a chicken on the weekends is something that I have done for a long time.  We usually eat the chicken for dinner then I package up the leftovers for sandwiches, tacos, salads and casseroles that we eat throughout the week.  Grilled chicken is such a great source of protein and if it's already cooked and in the refrigerator, it's a super easy weeknight meal. 

Bourbon Smoked Chicken
2 quarts water
9 Tablespoons bourbon
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 Tablespoons salt
2 quarts ice water
1 Tablespoon black peppercorns
3 bay leaves
3 garlic cloves
1 onion, quartered
1 apple, quartered
1 lemon, quartered
1 four pound chicken
1 Tablespoon butter

Combine 2 quarts water, 1/2 bourbon, sugar and salt a large pot.  Bring to a boil.  Add ice water and stir until dissolved.  Add next 7 ingredients.

Add chicken to brine.  Cover and refrigerate for 18 hours.

Remove from brine.  Pat chicken dry and place in a grill pan.  I put mine on a sittin' chicken stand.
I put the fruit and onions around the chicken in the bottom of the pan.  Not sure if it added any flavor but it was worth a shot.

Combine butter with 1 Tablespoon bourbon and baste chicken while it cooks.
Smoke chicken until breast meat reaches 165 degrees and the skin is golden brown.

I would have liked to see the outside of the bird get a little darker but I was afraid of drying out the meat if I left it on the grill any longer.  The chicken turned out really moist and flavorful. I couldn't taste the bourbon but other than that - a delicious chicken.

What healthy change are you going to make in your eating habits this week?  Send me a comment and let me know.


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