Mastering Ceramic Cookers

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AppleSmoked Chicken

Apple-smoked Chicken

In this dish, the chicken is slowly smoked with apple wood in a ceramic cooker but is also held in “Buster’s Drunk Chicken Roost” to keep it moist and flavorful. Instead of beer for the “beer can” chicken, apple juice is used. My cooker’s temperature is regulated by a BBQ Guru Competitor, but you can also use an instant-read thermometer. Serve with roasted garlic mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus. Note: This recipe requires advance preparation.

1 (5- to 7-pound) roaster chicken
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups apple juice or apple cider
1 (12-ounce) can beer
3 cups apple wood chips, soaked for 1 hour

For the rub:
4 teaspoons granulated onion
2 teaspoons chile powder
2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
2 teaspoons crushed dried rosemary
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Combine the rub ingredients in a small mixing bowl.

Remove the neck and giblets from the chicken and reserve them for sauce or stock. Remove the pop-up thermometer and discard it. Remove and discard the fat just inside the body and neck cavities.

Rub the chicken with a light coating of olive oil. Sprinkle 1 1/2 tablespoons of the rub inside the body and neck cavities of the chicken. Rub the outside of the chicken with another 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of the rub.

Refrigerate the chicken, uncovered, for at least 1 hour or up to 4 hours. Prepare the cooker for 275 degree F. indirect smoking. When the temperature has stabilized, add a handful or two of the drained apple wood chips to the coals.

(My Grill Dome ET is equipped with the BBQ Guru Competitor so controlling the temperature is simplified. Set the meat thermometer with the probe in the breast to 165 degrees F. and the pit thermometer to 275 degrees F. The Competitor will cycle the power draft on and off to maintain the desired temperature.)

Open and drink a can of beer. Make two additional holes in the top of the can with a bottle opener and fill the can half full with apple juice or cider. Add any remaining rub to the can. Place the can in the chicken roost and place the chicken, body cavity down, onto the can.

Place the chicken in the center of the cooking grate, close the cover and cook for 1 hour. After 1 hour, spray the chicken with apple juice or cider and continue cooking another hour. Spray again and continue cooking until the chicken breast is 165 degrees F., about another 15 to 20 minutes depending on the size of the chicken. (The chicken will take about 25 to 30 minutes per pound to fully cook.)

Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before carving.
Yield: 4 servings
Heat scale: Mild

Spicy Brisket Stew

This stew, which could be called either Chuck Wagon Stew or Irish Beef Stew, uses beef brisket instead of stew beef. As a variation from the traditional Irish stew that uses braised meat, the brisket is smoked before being added to the stew. Serve it with herbed dumplings.

1 1/2 pounds smoked beef brisket, cubed (recipe follows)
8 cups beef stock
1 cup dry red wine
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon dried thyme leaves
2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
1 tablespoon Louisiana-style hot sauce
1 tablespoon hot Hungarian paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large sweet onion, sliced
2 fresh jalapeño chiles, stemmed, seeded and chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cups peeled and chopped carrots
1 1/2 cups chopped celery
3 cups scrubbed and chopped new potatoes
1 cup peeled and cubed turnip
Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a large stock pot over medium heat, combine the meat, beef stock, wine, tomato paste, sugar, thyme, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, paprika, cumin, crushed red pepper and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, stirring to combine. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes.

While the beef is simmering, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat and add the oil. Add the onion and cook until it is slightly caramelized, about 8 minutes. Add the jalapeño and garlic, cook for another 3 to 4 minutes. Remove and reserve. Add the carrots and celery to the skillet. Sauté until lightly browned, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add the browned vegetables and onions to the beef mixture. Add the potatoes and the turnip. Simmer, uncovered, another 30 to 40 minutes.

Yield: 4 servings
Heat scale: Mild to medium

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