Sunday, January 30, 2011

Alabama Backwoods BBQ Chicken, Take 2

I told you there was going to be a second take of this chicken. I want this chicken to as delicious as it was the first time I made it but I want it to be better than that -- I want it to have the fantastic appearance and, judging by Lynn's photos, superior texture.

To make what I thought would give the results I was hoping to achieve, I cut the sauce quantity by half of what I used the first time which is one quarter of the original sauce recipe.

Let's go.

Alabama Back Roads BBQ Chicken
adapted from Cook & Be Merry's Alabama BBQ Chicken

4 chicken leg quarters (aka Marylands)
2 tbsp peanut oil
Seasoning rub

Seasoning Rub
3 tbsp light brown sugar – packed
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 1/2 tsp Kosher or sea salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme

1/2 c mayonnaise
1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp prepared horseradish (purchased)
1 1/2 tsp Creole or whole grain Grey Poupon Country Dijon Mustard
1 1/2 tsp garlic, minced
1/4 tsp Kosher or sea salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper

I combined the seasoning rub mixture in a small bowl.

I cut the leg quarters from two chickens and rubbed them with peanut oil.

I covered the chicken leg quarters on both sides with the seasoning rub and let the chicken marinate in the refridgerator for 15 hours.

There was quite a bit of liquid in the bottom of the baking dish.

The chicken quarters were grilled on both sides on an indoor grill pan until nicely browned on both sides.

Last time, I placed the browned leg quarters directly on a baking sheet. This time they were transferred to a rack over a baking sheet.

While the chicken baked for about 25 minutes at 400°F, I prepared the BBQ sauce.

And then I drizzled the BBQ sauce over the baked chicken and returned the chicken to the oven for about another 25 minutes.

And then I piled the chicken onto a plate and selected one of the leg quarters to eat for dinner and had it with Roast Potatoes and Green Beans.

The chicken turned out just as fabulously as it did the first time and I was pleased that the chicken wasn't cooking in a pool of it's own fat. Hooray for the "cooling" rack! On the downside though, I realized an error: I didn't put the sauce on immediately after browning on the grill pan. Instead I put the sauce on half-way through the baking time. And that made the skin not quite what I was hoping. As a matter of fact, it was just about as goopy as it was the first time.

You know what this means, right? Yep, there will be a Take 3 and I think the only thing I'll do differently from this take is to put the sauce over the chicken immediately before baking and then bake the full length of time undisturbed.

I will achieve perfect chicken!

Roasted Potatoes and Green Beans, Take 3

As a follow up to the last time I made this side dish, I went ahead with my implied change of adding the garlic in with the potatoes to ensure they were fully roasted. Turns out, that didn't work out too hot either.

The quantity of green beans I'd purchased, about half-a-pound, also had an effect.

Roasted Potatoes and Green Beans, Take 3
adapted from Cooking Club of America

3 tbsp olive oil, divided
2 large russet potatoes (about 1 1/2 lb.), unpeeled, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
3/4 tsp coarse salt, divided
1/8 tsp pepper
8 12 oz. green beans
5 medium garlic cloves, unpeeled
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley, optional

Heat oven to 400°F. Spread 2 tablespoons of the oil in large rimmed baking sheet. Arrange potatoes on baking sheet in single layer; turn to coat both sides with oil. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and pepper.

Note that I didn't bother to line this baking sheet!

Bake 44 minutes or until potatoes are golden brown on bottom. Turn; move to one side of pan.
My garlic was completely overcooked, leaving very little in the way of actual garlic to squeeze from the skin. I added 5 new cloves with the green beans.

Add green beans and garlic to empty side of pan; sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Bake 22 minutes or until potatoes are browned and beans are tender and light golden brown.

The beans didn't really roast, but certainly became wrinkly. I chalk this up to the fact that I was a quarter-pound light on the bean quantity. Squeeze garlic from skins into a small bowl. Toss mashed garlic and remaining 1 tablespoon oil with beans and potatoes. Sprinkle with parsley, if you have it.

While tasty, the potatoes and beans were not quite as kick-ass as they were the first time I made them when roasted at 425°F. The potatoes turned out really well though it took a long time for them to brown. The green beans didn't really roast, but simply shriveled a bit -- though were cooked through. As I said, that might be due to the fact that I'd only used 2/3 of the quantity that was called for in the original recipe. The garlic when added to the potatoes and cooked at 400°F for 44 minutes ruined them. Thankfully, roasting them at 400°F for 22 minutes worked out perfectly.

Next time, I'll certainly prepare the original recipe just to confirm that it wasn't some fantasy deliciousness the first time around.


  • potatoes: $0.47
  • green beans: $1.32
  • garlic: $0.40

Total: $2.19 or $0.55 for each of four servings. Or $1.10 for each of two servings. Just sayin'.

Click for the printable

Harold Import Co. Cooling Rack

One thing I noticed about the Alabama BBQ Chicken images Lynn at Cook & Be Merry posted is that the chicken was on a rack. I was missing this possibly vital variable in my earlier attempt.

I was struck a little confused when shopping because Harold Import Co offers a much smaller "broiling" rack. The larger rack, the 12x17, doesn't say anything about being able to be used in an oven or broiler though it can be used as a trivet or steamer rack. What the hell? A steamer rack in what giant contraption? 

At Ace Hardware, I weighed my options: risk my life by using a cooling rack in the oven or never being successful at the perfect Alabama Backwoods BBQ Chicken.

No brainer.

A 12x17" Harold Import Co cooling rack available at Ace Hardware, $9.78 out the door.

Hollywood Peanut Oil

When shopping for oil to use on the next try of Alabama Backwoods BBQ Chicken, I thought I'd roll with peanut oil. It doesn't have the controversial qualities of canola and is supposed to be essentially taste-free. That it is frequently used for frying is a plus. An extra bonus is that it's high in antioxidants. I'm kicking myself for not having imaged the side-panel with the ingredient/nutritional statement.

Available in the oils aisle of Stater Bros. for $4.99 a 24 oz bottle.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Food Plan and Grocery List, 012911

Last week, the food plan didn't work out so hot. The bread I had in the fridge had a tinge of mold, so sandwiches were out. Neither the Italian Roast Beef nor the polenta did it for me. I did what I could to eat at least half of each, but was getting quite sick of them and tossed them both today.

Korean 2 started a few weeks ago, going from 7-9:30 Monday and Wednesday evenings. I go directly from work and have been stopping at Jack in the Box on the way, eating Chicken Fajita Pitas or Jumbo Jacks. I need to be better about planning for dinner to accomodate those evenings in particular.

Because chickens are on sale for $0.69 a pound, I wanted to get my hands on some. This week, I intend to prepare:

  • Alabama Backwoods BBQ Chicken
    • Roasted Potatoes and Green Beans
    • salad
  • Spicy Garlic Lime Chicken
    • Crash Potatoes
    • salad
  • Cinnamon Bun Bread/Muffins
Shopping, I picked up: Stater Bros.:

  • whole milk: $1.09/pint
  • eggs, $2.19/dozen
  • Hollywood peanut oil: $4.99/
  • whole chicken: $3.60 @ $0.69/lb
  • whole chicken: $3.70 @ $0.69/lb
  • spinach: $1.99/10-oz
  • green beans: $1.32/0.53 lb
  • onions: $1.99/3 lbs
  • red bell pepper: $0.99
  • minneolas: $1.93/1.95 lbs
  • TOTAL: $23.79.
013011 Costco:

  • food scale: $18.99
  • garbanzo beans: $5.59/(8) 14.5-oz cans
  • TOTAL: $5.59
Grower's Direct:

  • fresh-cut cantaloupe: $1.30/1.64 lb
  • fresh-cut pineapple: $1.58/2 lb
  • fresh-cut Maradol Papaya: $1.27/1.43 lb
  • broccoli crown: $0.62/0.63 lb
  • green bell pepper: $0.55/0.56 lb
  • English cucumber: $0.99
  • garlic bulb: $0.40/0.16 lb
  • romaine lettuce: $1.29/head
  • baby spinach: $1.99/6 oz
  • TOTAL: $9.99
Grand Total: $39.37.

Cost of Take-Out Lunch, Week Ending 012811

Not thrilled with the beef and polenta, I wound up eating out a lot.

  • Monday: Sushi Plantation Rainbow Roll and Coke: on the boss
  • Tuesday: Chipotle Carnitas Burrito: $6.64
  • Wednesday: Schlotzky's Chicken Pesto Pizza and Coke: $8.24
  • Thursday: Cheesecake Factory Four Seasons Pizza, salad and Coke: on a vendor
  • Friday: Jack in the Box Chicken Club Salad: $5.71

Total: $20.59.
Total for the year: $81.90.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Italian Roast Beef with Tomatoes and Kalamata Olives

Italian Roast Beef with Tomatoes and Kalamata Olives
from Cooking Club of America

1 (2 1/2- to 3-lb.) boneless beef chuck roast
2 tsp coarse salt, divided
1/2 tsp black pepper, divided
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 c chopped onion
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 c red wine or lower-sodium beef broth
1 (28-oz.) can tomato puree
2 bay leaves
1/4 c packed chopped fresh basil
1 tsp dried oregano
Dash crushed red pepper
1/2 c halved pitted Kalamata olives

Sprinkle beef with 1 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the black pepper.

Heat large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat until hot. Add oil; heat until hot. Cook beef 10 to 12 minutes or until browned on all sides.

Remove beef; cover loosely with foil.

Cook onion in same pot over medium-low heat 8 to 10 minutes or until soft and golden brown, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; cook and stir 30 to 60 seconds or until fragrant.

Add wine or broth; increase heat to medium-high. Boil 1 minute. Add tomato puree, bay leaves, basil, oregano, crushed red pepper and remaining 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.

Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low to low; simmer 15 minutes.

Return beef and any accumulated juices to pot; cook, covered, 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until beef is fork-tender, adjusting heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer.

The beef, not yet fork-tender was turned in the tomato puree mixture and cooked, covered, an additional 30 minutes.

Remove beef; cover loosely with foil.

Beef can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Reheat before serving.

Add olives to sauce; increase heat to medium. Boil, uncovered, 10 minutes or until slightly reduced and thickened.

Sauce can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Reheat before serving.

To save on fridge space, I put the beef right back in the Dutch oven with the sauce overnight. It looked like this 14 hours later:

I cut the beef into six equal portions and cut one portion into slices. The sliced portion was placed on an oven-proof plate and reheated in a 350°F oven until warmed, about 12 minutes.

I put a small portion of the sauce in a saucepan to reheat while the beef was in the oven. The warm beef was then topped with warm sauce. I consumed it with the baked polenta.

The flavors of the beef and sauce were good, reminding me of Tuscan Pot Roast, but the beef wasn't exactly fork-tender even after the extended cooking time. I think you really need to shove the beef right down into the tomato mixture so the acidity can get to work on all areas of the beef straight-away. As I said of the Tuscan Pot Roast, I wouldn't break my neck to make this dish again either.

Coupling this beef with the Oven-Baked Polenta, in my opinion, was overkill in the rich department. The beefy sauce is quite hearty and having a side of cheesy, milky, polenta was too much for me. I have a feeling that a lot of this beef and even more of the polenta will go to waste, which sucks.


  • boneless beef chuck roast: $5.43
  • onion: $0.20
  • garlic: $0.65
  • broth: $0.13
  • tomato puree: $1.29
  • basil: $2.39
  • Kalamata olives: $1, SWAG
Total: $11.09, which is a little on the high side as I assumed price of a full garlic bulb and the entire living basil plant even though I used a portion of each. Still, that makes each of six servings $1.85.

Click for the printable