Poultry - The Wood Pellet Smoker and Grill Cookbook: Recipes and Techniques for the Most Flavorful and Delicious Barbecue - Peter Jautaikis

The Wood Pellet Smoker and Grill Cookbook: Recipes and Techniques for the Most Flavorful and Delicious Barbecue - Peter Jautaikis (2016)

Chapter 2. Poultry

 width=

Cajun Spatchcock Chicken

 width=

The fastest and best way to enjoy a juicy, delicious, smoked, roasted whole chicken is to spatchcock it. Spatchcocking, also known as butterflying, is the removal of the poultry backbone in order to press it relatively flat.

Serves: 4

Prep Time: 30 minutes (plus 3 hours marinating)

Cook Time: 2½ hours

Rest Time: 15 minutes

RECOMMENDED PELLETS: Hickory, Pecan, Blend

4 to 5-pound fresh or thawed frozen young chicken

4 to 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

4 tablespoons Cajun Spice Rub (page 168) or something like Lucille’s Bloody Mary Mix Cajun Hot dry herb mix seasoning

PREPPING FOR THE GRILL

1. Place the chicken breast-side down on a cutting board.

2. Using kitchen or poultry shears, cut along both sides of the backbone to remove it.

 width=

3. Turn the chicken over and firmly press down on the breast to flatten it. Carefully loosen the breast, thigh, and drumstick skin and peel it back.

4. Liberally rub the olive oil under and on the skin. Season the chicken on all sides and directly on the meat under the skin.

5. Wrap the chicken in plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for 3 hours to give the flavors time to absorb.

 width=

ON THE WOOD PELLET SMOKER-GRILL

1. Configure your wood pellet smoker-grill for indirect cooking and preheat to 225°F using hickory, pecan pellets, or a blend.

2. If your unit has temperature meat probe inputs, like a MAK Grills 2 Star does, insert the probe into the thickest part of the breast.

3. Smoke the chicken for 1½ hours.

 width=

4. After 1½ hours at 225°F, increase your pit temperature to 375°F, and roast until the internal temperature at the thickest part of the breast reaches 170°F and the thighs are at least 180°F.

5. Rest the chicken under a loose foil tent for 15 minutes before carving.

Jan’s Grilled Quarters

 width=

Chicken quarters are economical, moist, and meaty. If you’re a dark meat lover, this recipe is for you. Many recipes call for the meat to be taken to 165°F, but that’s for the white chicken meat. I always take mine to 180°F. I find that dark meat is very forgiving and will still be moist and delicious at temperatures above 180°F.

Serves: 4

Prep Time: 20 minutes (plus 2 to 4 hours marinating)

Cook Time: 1 to 1½ hours

Rest Time: 15 minutes

RECOMMENDED PELLETS: Any

4 fresh or thawed frozen chicken quarters

4 to 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

4 tablespoons Jan’s Original Dry Rub (page 169)

PREPPING FOR THE GRILL

1. Trim the chicken quarters of any excess skin and fat. Carefully peel back the chicken skin and rub the olive oil on and under the skin of each chicken quarter.

2. Season on and under the skins and on the backs of the chicken quarters with Jan’s Original Dry Rub.

 width=

3. Wrap the seasoned chicken quarters in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours to give the flavors time to absorb.

ON THE WOOD PELLET SMOKER-GRILL

1. Configure your wood pellet smoker-grill for indirect cooking and preheat to 325°F using any pellets.

2. Place the chicken quarters on the grill and cook for 1 hour at 325°F.

3. After an hour, increase the pit temperature to 400°F to finish the chicken quarters and crisp the skins.

4. Pull the crispy chicken quarters off the grill when the internal temperature, at the thickest parts of the thighs and legs, reaches 180°F and the juices run clear.

 width=

5. Rest the grilled crispy chicken quarters under a loose foil tent for 15 minutes before serving.

Notes

When resting under a foil tent, the chicken skin will lose some of its crispiness.

Roasted Tuscan Thighs

 width=

The dark meat of chicken thighs is exceptionally flavorful and succulent, and these budget-friendly cuts are easy on the wallet. For best results I always use bone-in, skin-on thighs for smoking or roasting to prevent the meat from drying out. For crispy skin in a wood pellet smoker-grill you need to roast the thighs at 350°F or higher at some point during your cook.

Serves: 4

Prep Time: 20 minutes (plus 1 to 2 hours marinating)

Cook Time: 40 to 60 minutes

Rest Time: 15 minutes

RECOMMENDED PELLETS: Any

8 chicken thighs, bone-in and skin-on

3 tablespoons roasted garlic-flavored extra-virgin olive oil

3 teaspoons Tuscan Seasoning (page 172) or any Tuscan seasoning, per thigh

PREPPING FOR THE GRILL

1. Trim any excess skin from the chicken thighs, retaining ¼ inch to allow for shrinkage.

2. Carefully peel back the skin and remove any large deposits of fat under the skin and on the back of the thigh.

3. Lightly rub the olive oil on and under the skins and the backs of the thighs. Season on and under the skins and backs of the thighs with Tuscan seasoning.

4. Wrap the chicken thighs in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours to give the flavors time to absorb before roasting.

ON THE WOOD PELLET SMOKER-GRILL

1. Configure your wood pellet smoker-grill for indirect cooking and preheat to 375°F using any pellets.

 width=

2. Depending on your wood pellet smoker-grill, roast the chicken thighs for 40 to 60 minutes, until the internal temperature at the thickest part of the thighs reaches 180°F. Rest the roasted Tuscan thighs under a loose foil tent for 15 minutes before serving.

Notes

Chicken thighs are very forgiving and with the skin left on will retain moisture if your thighs reach higher temperatures than 180°F.

Cherry pellets provide a sweet, mild flavor to poultry but may discolor the meat in areas, giving a false indication that the meat is not properly cooked.

Teriyaki Smoked Drumsticks

 width=

Everyone will fight over these moist, flavorful, vibrantly colored chicken drumsticks. They are quick and easy to make too—perfect for that dark meat junky in all of us. You’ll love biting through the crunchy skin to reach that succulent meat.

Serves: 4

Prep Time: 15 minutes (plus marinating overnight)

Cook Time: 1½ to 2 hours

Rest Time: 15 minutes

RECOMMENDED PELLETS: Hickory, Maple

3 cups teriyaki marinade and cooking sauce, like Mr. Yoshida’s Original Gourmet

3 teaspoons Poultry Seasoning (page 170)

1 teaspoon garlic powder

10 chicken drumsticks

PREPPING FOR THE GRILL

1. In a medium bowl, mix the marinade and cooking sauce with the Poultry Seasoning and garlic powder.

2. Peel back the skin on the drumsticks to facilitate marinade penetration.

3. Place the drumsticks in a marinating pan or 1-gallon plastic sealable bag, and pour the marinade mixture over the drumsticks. Refrigerate overnight.

4. Rotate the chicken drumsticks in the morning.

 width=

ON THE WOOD PELLET SMOKER-GRILL

1. Configure your wood pellet-smoker grill for indirect cooking.

2. Replace the skin over the drumsticks, and hang the drumsticks on a poultry leg-and-wing rack to drain on a cooking sheet on your counter while the grill is preheating. If you don’t own a poultry leg-and-wing rack you can lightly pat the drumsticks dry with paper towels.

3. Preheat your wood pellet smoker-grill to 180°F using hickory or maple pellets.

4. Smoke the marinated chicken drumsticks for 1 hour.

 width=

5. After an hour, increase the pit temperature to 350°F and cook the drumsticks for an additional 30 to 45 minutes, until the thickest part of the drumsticks reach an internal temperature of 180°F.

6. Rest the chicken drumsticks under a loose foil tent for 15 minutes before serving.

Notes

Chicken drumstick dark meat is very forgiving and surprisingly retains moisture when the internal temperature surpasses 180°F. Err on the side of a higher temperature to prevent undercooked chicken.

Leg-and-wing racks are readily available at most barbecue outlets and online stores for under $15.

Smoked Bone-In Turkey Breast

 width=

There’s no need to wait for the holiday season to enjoy moist and flavorful white turkey breast meat. Bone-in turkey breasts are available year round. Smoked turkey breast will augment a Thanksgiving whole turkey or is wonderful for small crowds. Best of all, it’s easy to make, great for any meal, and provides leftovers for dishes like sandwiches and casseroles.

Serves: 6 to 8

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 3½ to 4¼ hours

Rest Time: 20 minutes

RECOMMENDED PELLETS: Hickory, Pecan

1 (8 to 10-pound) bone-in turkey breast

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

5 tablespoons Jan’s Original Dry Rub (page 169) or Poultry Seasoning (page 170)

PREPPING FOR THE GRILL

1. Trim away any excess fat and skin from the turkey breast.

2. Carefully separate the skin from the breast, leaving the skin intact. Rub the olive oil inside the breast cavity, under the skin, and on the skin.

3. Generously season the breast cavity, under the skin, and on the skin with the rub or seasoning.

4. Place the turkey breast in a V-rack for easier handling or directly on the grill grates, breast-side up.

5. Allow the turkey breast to rest at room temperature on your kitchen countertop while preheating your wood pellet smoker-grill.

ON THE WOOD PELLET SMOKER-GRILL

1. Configure your wood pellet smoker-grill for indirect cooking and preheat to 225°F using hickory or pecan pellets.

2. Smoke the bone-in turkey breast on the V-rack or directly on the grill grates at 225°F for 2 hours.

3. After 2 hours of hickory smoke, increase the pit temperature to 325°F. Roast until the thickest part of the turkey breast reaches an internal temperature of 170°F and the juices run clear.

4. Rest the hickory-smoked turkey breast under a loose foil tent for 20 minutes before carving against the grain.

 width=

Notes

Using a roasting V-rack makes for better smoke/heat distribution and ease of transporting.

Hickory-Smoked Spatchcock Turkey

 width=

Serving a roasted, smoke-tickled spatchcock turkey will delight your family and guests year round. It may look alien, but you’ll marvel at the moist meat and crispy skin this style produces. Spatchcocking allows roasts to cook more evenly and faster than traditionally roasted turkeys.

Serves: 8 to 10

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 3½ to 4¼ hours

Rest Time: 20 minutes

RECOMMENDED PELLETS: Hickory

1 (14-pound) fresh or thawed frozen young turkey

¼ cup roasted garlic-flavored extra-virgin olive oil

6 tablespoons Poultry Seasoning (page 170) or Jan’s Original Dry Rub (page 169)

PREPPING FOR THE GRILL

1. Use poultry shears or a large butcher’s knife to carefully remove the turkey’s backbone by cutting along both sides of it.

 width=

2. Flatten the spatchcocked turkey by pressing down on the breast bone.

3. Trim away any excess fat and skin from the breast.

4. Carefully separate the skin from the breast, leaving the skin intact. Rub the olive oil inside the breast cavity, under the skin, and on top of the skin.

5. Season the breast cavity, under the skin, and on the skin with the seasoning or dry rub.

ON THE WOOD PELLET SMOKER-GRILL

1. Configure your wood pellet smoker-grill for indirect cooking and preheat to 225°F using hickory pellets.

2. Place the spatchcocked turkey skin-side down on a Teflon-coated fiberglass nonstick grill mat.

3. Smoke the turkey for 2 hours at 225°F.

 width=

4. After 2 hours, increase the pit temperature to 350°F.

5. Roast the turkey until the thickest part of the breast reaches an internal temperature of 170°F and the juices run clear.

6. Rest the hickory smoked roasted turkey under a loose foil tent for 20 minutes before carving.

Notes

To verify accurate placement and readings of your meat probe(s), like on the MAK Grills 2 Star, I recommend using a digital instant-read thermometer to double check the breast’s internal temperature. There is nothing worse or more dangerous than undercooked poultry.

Bacon Cordon Bleu

 width=

Bacon-wrapped chicken cordon bleu is not your traditional cordon bleu recipe, but I guarantee you’ll enjoy my smoked-to-perfection version. What’s not to like? Bacon, chicken, ham, cheese—and did I mention bacon? There’s a layer of flavor in every bite.

Serves: 6

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 2 to 2½ hours

Rest Time: 15 minutes

RECOMMENDED PELLETS: Apple, Cherry

24 bacon slices

3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterflied

3 tablespoons roasted garlic-flavored extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons Jan’s Original Dry Rub (page 169) or Poultry Seasoning (page 170)

12 slices black forest ham

12 slices provolone cheese

PREPPING FOR THE GRILL

1. Tightly weave 4 slices of bacon together, leaving extra space on the ends. The bacon weave interlocks alternate slices of bacon and is used to wrap around the chicken cordon bleu.

 width=

2. Spritz or rub 2 thin chicken breast fillets with the olive oil on both sides.

3. Dust both sides of the chicken breast fillets with the seasoning.

4. Layer one seasoned chicken fillet on the bacon weave and top with 1 slice each of ham and provolone cheese.

5. Repeat the process with another chicken fillet, ham, and cheese. Fold the chicken, ham, and cheese in half.

 width=

6. Overlap the bacon strips from opposite corners to completely cover the chicken cordon blue.

7. Use silicone food-grade cooking bands, butcher’s twine, or toothpicks to secure the bacon strips in place.

 width=

8. Repeat the process for the remaining chicken breasts and ingredients.

ON THE WOOD PELLET SMOKER-GRILL

1. Configure your wood pellet smoker-grill for indirect cooking and preheat for smoking (180°F to 200°F) using apple or cherry pellets.

2. Smoke the bacon cordon bleu for 1 hour.

 width=

3. After smoking for an hour, increase the pit temperature to 350°F.

4. The bacon cordon bleu is done when the internal temperature reaches 165°F and the bacon is crisp.

 width=

5. Rest under a loose foil tent for 15 minutes before serving.

Notes

My local Latin American butcher shop took three large chicken breasts and provided me with six double-wide thin slices, which I split into 12 chicken fillets. The butcher’s butterfly technique was a work of art. If you live close to or know a good butcher, ask them to slice your chicken breasts for you.

Crab-Stuffed Lemon Cornish Hens

 width=

This surf-and-turf recipe will delight seafood and chicken lovers. There’s a lot to be said for having your own little chicken in one sitting. A Cornish hen simply refers to a chicken that’s about five weeks old. Ever since my family and I enjoyed a Cornish hen, without utensils, at a medieval show, they’ve always been a special treat for us, and the crabmeat stuffing takes them over the top.

Serves: 2 to 4

Prep Time: 30 minutes (plus 2 to 3 hours marinating)

Cook Time: 1½ hours

Rest Time: 15 minutes

RECOMMENDED PELLETS: Any

2 Cornish hens (about 1¾ pounds each)

1 lemon, halved

4 tablespoons Pete’s Western Rub (page 169) or any poultry rub

2 cups Crabmeat Stuffing (page 35)

PREPPING FOR THE GRILL

1. Thoroughly rinse the hens inside and out and pat dry.

2. Carefully loosen the breast and leg skin. Rub the lemon under and on the skin and inside the cavity. Rub the Pete’s Western Rub under and on the breast and leg skin. Carefully return the skin to its original position.

3. Wrap the Cornish hens in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours to give the flavors time to absorb.

4. Prepare the Crabmeat Stuffing according to the directions. Be sure it has fully cooled before stuffing the hens. Loosely stuff each hen cavity with the crab stuffing.

 width=

5. Tie the Cornish hen legs together with butcher’s twine to keep the stuffing in.

ON THE WOOD PELLET SMOKER-GRILL

1. Configure your wood pellet smoker-grill for indirect cooking and preheat to 375°F with any pellets.

2. Place the stuffed hens on a rack inside a baking dish. You can also place the hens directly in the baking dish if you don’t have a rack small enough to fit.

 width=

3. Roast the hens at 375°F until the internal temperature, at the thickest part of the breast, reaches 170°F, the thighs reach 180°F, and the juices run clear.

 width=

4. Test the crabmeat stuffing to see if it has reached a temperature of 165°F.

5. Rest the roasted hens under a loose foil tent for 15 minutes before serving.

Notes

Cornish hens should never be stuffed in advance and refrigerated, as it may increase the risk of bacteria growth. Stuff them right before cooking.

When poultry is stuffed, the cooking times will increase.

Cured Turkey Drumsticks

 width=

Now you can enjoy delicious monster smoked turkey legs that you normally find at amusement parks, and county and state fairs, in your own backyard. Curing salt gives turkey drumsticks a slight ham flavor and a pink color to the meat when smoked.

Serves: 3

Prep Time: 20 minutes (plus 14 hours brining/drying)

Cook Time: 2½ to 3 hours

Rest Time: 15 minutes

RECOMMENDED PELLETS: Hickory, Maple

3 large fresh or thawed frozen turkey drumsticks

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

BRINE INGREDIENTS

4 cups filtered water

¼ cup kosher salt

¼ cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon Poultry Seasoning (page 170)

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

⅛ teaspoon pink curing salt #1 (see note)

PREPPING FOR THE GRILL

1. Combine the brine ingredients in a 1-gallon sealable bag. Add the turkey drumsticks to the brine and refrigerate for 12 hours.

 width=

2. After 12 hours, remove the drumsticks from the brine, rinse them with cool water, and pat them dry with a paper towel.

3. Allow the drumsticks to air-dry, uncovered, in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

4. Remove the drumsticks from refrigerator and rub 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil under and on the skin of each drumstick.

ON THE WOOD PELLET SMOKER-GRILL

1. Configure your wood pellet smoker-grill for indirect cooking and preheat to 250°F using hickory or maple pellets.

2. Place the drumsticks on the grill grates and smoke them at 250°F for 2 hours.

3. After 2 hours, increase the grill temperature to 325°F.

4. Cook the turkey drumsticks at 325°F until the internal temperature at the thickest part of each drumstick measures 180°F with an instant-read digital thermometer.

5. Rest the smoked turkey drumsticks under a loose foil tent for 15 minutes before serving.

Notes

Curing salt contains salt and nitrite and should never be used to season food at the table or in the cooking process. Most curing salts are colored pink to prevent confusing them with table salt. Extreme care must be taken when using pink curing salt #1, also called Prague powder #1. Large amounts can be lethal, but it’s harmless in small quantities when curing meats. Pink curing salt #1 can be found at butcher shops and online.

Tailgate Smoked Young Turkey

 width=

During the holiday season you can find fresh young turkeys at most stores and butcher shops. They are perfect for intimate gatherings or a small family feast with all the trimmings. But don’t limit yourself to the holidays—enjoy a smoked turkey year round. It doesn’t get any better than smoked turkey! This recipe uses a Green Mountain Grills portable Davy Crockett wood pellet smoker-grill, which is perfect for tailgating, camping, or at-home use. This recipe works equally well with any grill.

Serves: 8 to 10

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 4 to 4½ hours

Rest Time: 20 minutes

RECOMMENDED PELLETS: Apple, Cherry

1 (10-pound) fresh or thawed frozen young turkey

6 tablespoons roasted garlic-flavored extra-virgin olive oil

6 tablespoons Jan’s Original Dry Rub (page 169) or Poultry Seasoning (page 170)

PREPPING FOR THE GRILL

1. Trim away any excess fat and skin from the breast and cavity of the turkey.

2. Carefully separate the skin from turkey breast and leg quarters, leaving the skin intact.

3. Rub the olive oil inside the breast cavity, under the skin, and on the skin.

4. Generously season the breast cavity, under the skin, and on the skin with the rub or seasoning.

ON THE WOOD PELLET SMOKER-GRILL

1. Configure your tailgate wood pellet smoker-grill for indirect cooking and smoking. Preheat to 225°F using apple or cherry pellets.

2. Place the turkey, breast-side up, on the grill.

 width=

3. Smoke the turkey for 4 to 4½ hours at 225°F until the thickest part of the turkey breast reaches an internal temperature of 170°F and the juices run clear.

 width=

4. Rest the turkey under a loose foil tent for 20 minutes before carving.

Roasted Duck à I’Orange

 width=

Fit for any festive occasion, a roasted whole duck à l’orange will delight and impress anyone. More majestic than turkey and more elegant than chicken, roasting a whole duck is not as difficult as you may have been led to believe. Experience a world of intense flavor that you won’t find with a traditional chicken recipe.

Serves: 3 to 4

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 2 to 2½ hours

Rest Time: 20 minutes

RECOMMENDED PELLETS: Any

1 (5 to 6-pound) frozen Long Island, Peking, or Canadian duck

3 tablespoons Pete’s Western Rub (page 169) or Poultry Seasoning (page 170), divided

1 large orange, cut into wedges

3 celery stalks, chopped into large chunks

½ small red onion, quartered

FOR THE ORANGE SAUCE:

2 cups orange juice

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons orange marmalade

2 tablespoons honey

3 teaspoons grated fresh ginger

PREPPING FOR THE GRILL

1. Remove any giblets from cavity and neck of the duck and retain for another use or discard. Rinse the duck and pat it dry with a paper towel.

2. Trim any excess fat from the tail, neck, and cavity area. Making sure not to penetrate the duck meat, use the tip of a sharp paring knife to prick the duck skin all over to facilitate melting the fat layer under the skin.

3. Season the inside of the cavity with 1 tablespoon of the rub or seasoning.

4. Season the outside of the duck with the remaining rub or seasoning.

 width=

5. Stuff orange wedges, celery, and onion into the cavity. Tie the duck legs together with butcher’s twine to help keep the stuffing in. Place the duck breast-side up on a small rack in a shallow roasting pan.

6. To make the sauce, combine the ingredients in a saucepan over low heat and simmer until the sauce thickens and is syrupy. Set aside and allow to cool.

ON THE WOOD PELLET SMOKER-GRILL

1. Configure your wood pellet smoker-grill for indirect cooking and preheat to 350°F using any pellets.

 width=

2. Roast the duck at 350°F for 2 hours.

3. After 2 hours, brush the duck liberally with the orange sauce.

4. Roast the orange-glazed duck for an additional 30 minutes and verify that the internal temperature, at the thickest part of the legs, reaches 165°F.

 width=

5. Rest the duck under a loose foil tent for 20 minutes before serving.

6. Discard the orange wedges, celery, and onion. Quarter the duck with poultry shears and serve.

 width=

Notes

Thaw frozen duck in the refrigerator for 48 hours.

Some ducks come packaged with orange sauce. If you would like, use the provided orange sauce instead of the orange sauce recipe above.