New Bern, NC – Mother's Barbecued Chicken
Makes 10 servings.
1 gallon water; cup kosher salt; cup light brown sugar; three 3 -pound chickens; 10 pounds hardwood lump charcoal; 9 garlic cloves - 6 smashed, 3 minced; 1 bunch of scallions, coarsely chopped; 1 fennel bulb, finely diced; 1 jalapeno, finely diced; 1 dried ancho chile - stemmed, seeded and coarsely chopped; my wild game rub (recipe follows).
In a pot, combine the water with the salt and sugar and cook over moderate heat stirring, until the salt and sugar dissolve. Let the brine cool to room temperature.
Set 3 large oven-roasting bags in a large roasting pan. Put a chicken in each bag and pour one-third of the brine in each. Tie the bags and refrigerate for 4 hours.
Set up a grill for indirect grilling: Light 5 pounds of the charcoal on one side of the grill and hang a grilling or oven thermometer on the opposite side of the grill.
Remove the chickens from the brine and pat dry. In a bowl combine the smashed garlic, scallions, fennel, jalapeno and ancho. Toss with 2 tablespoons of the Wild Game Rub (recipe below) and stuff into the chicken cavities. Tie the legs together with string. Rub the outside of the chickens with the minced garlic and cup of the Wild Game Rub.
Set the chickens breast side down on the grill opposite the coals. Cover and cook at 325 to 350 degrees for 1 hour. Add the remaining charcoal to the grill as needed to maintain the temperature. Turn the chickens, cover and cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the inner thighs registers 160 degrees, about 1hour and 30 minutes. Transfer the chickens to a board and let rest for 10 minutes. Carve and serve.
Wild Game Rub
Makes 1 cup.
cup kosher salt; cup freshly ground pepper; cup pure chile powder, such as guajillo or ancho; 2 tablespoons ground cumin; 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves; 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves.
Mix all of the ingredients until thoroughly combined. Store in a jar in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.