This is a basic coated chicken that is a perfect starting point for your adventures and experimentation in dipping. It’s easy to make, is wickedly versatile, and can be cooked in pretty much anything that offers an option for indirect heat. You can use a good ol’ Weber kettle, your oven (yes, I said oven), or something that is built just for this sort of task like a Big Green Egg. You want to use a clean fire here – you are roasting, not smoking. A plain charcoal fire would be your best bet, you only want to use a wood fire if you really know how to control the smoke and (in this case) keep it to a minimum.
If you are unsure, then do your first batch in the oven – this works really well in the oven. Everyone can play on this one, and you will be glad you did. Besides the aforementioned dipping, this chicken is a great thing to have in your back pocket as a go-to technique for any time you need a big mound of crispy tasty crunchy juicy bird.
Total prep time is about 10 minutes, cooking time is just short of an hour. Ready? Let’s go.
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If you already have a batch of my True North Chicken Rub mixed up, then both the number of ingredients and the amount of prep time are trivial. There is only one item that you might not be familiar with, and it’s both easy to find and will be a great addition to your pantry if you haven’t used it before. See the ingredients notes for details. Beyond that, the list is simple:
Chicken thighs and/or drums – skin on, bone in (see “Chicken Note” below)
True North Chicken Rub
Flour (unbleached is best, but the dreaded “supermarket white” will do)
Chickpea Flour (see “Chickpea Flour Note” below)
Chicken Note: Please please please don’t screw around with skinless or boneless crap here. Bone-in chicken is moister, more flavourful, and more fun to eat. I am sure that someday someone will find an actual use for boneless skinless chicken breasts, but it probably wont be as a food item. This recipe is built around flavour, so use some chicken that actually has some. As far as amounts go, use as much as you need. I make tonnes because the leftovers heat up REALLY well.
Chickpea Flour Note: You can get this at virtually any bulk foods, health food, or upscale foods store. If you haven’t used this before, you are really missing out. It has more protein that wheat flour, no gluten, and when you use it for coating or dredging or dusting it adds a subtle richness of flavour that will really surprise you. Once you see how this works out I am betting you start using this stuff with some serious regularity.
So. With the ingredients ready and assembled, start by getting the rub on the chicken. The best way to do this is to get a big plastic bag or a good size plastic container with a lid – whichever you choose, you want it big enough to hold three or four pieces of the chicken with room to spare for tumbling and bashing around. In batches of three or four pieces, toss the chicken into your container along with about a tablespoon of the rub, close it up, and toss it with some vigor. You can modify the amount of rub as you see fit, but the “one tablespoon to three or four pieces” rule works pretty well for me. The chicken should have about this much rub on it when you are done (and yes, this is probably the single most useful photo on the entire web site):
Once you have all of your chicken suitably coated with the rub, you should put into a plastic bag or container and put it in the fridge for an entire day. If you have to cook it right away you can, but letting it sit makes a world of difference.
After the chicken sits and the rub does its thing, you are ready to dredge. Once again you want to use a plastic bag you can seal up or a big container with a lid. and once again you want to make sure there is room for three or four pieces to tumble freely. In the bag or tub mix 2 parts regular flour with 1 part chickpea flour. Mix it well. As far as quantity, you just need to make sure you have enough to coat all your chicken completely – start with a cup of flour and a half cup of chickpea and of you need more as you go, you can add as needed.
Dump three or four hunks of chicken into the flour, close up the bag/container/whatever, and give it a good shake. Fish those pieces out when they are coated, put them on a rack, and do the next few pieces. Repeat until done. Your coated chicken should look about like this:
A nice even coating, but not caked on. The natural moisture of the skin and the rub and the flour should all conspire to give you just the right amount automatically. Let the chicken sit on the rack for a half hour or so for the flour to bind up a bit. While the chicken sits you can either build your charcoal fire or preheat your oven. You want your temperature to be 175 degrees C (that’s 350 Fahrenheit if that is how you roll). When your pit / oven / whatever is ready and settled at 350, put the chicken in on the rack with something underneath to catch drips, shut the lid/door/hatch, and let the heat do it’s work. Remember, you have to cook this on a rack, not flat on a sheet or a pan, or it’s just not going to work.
TOTALLY OPTIONAL STEP: Halfway through, you can turn the chicken. Turning it once halfway through give you a more evenly awesome crust. But if for some reason you can’t do this, don’t panic. Your chicken will still be fine.
For the bone-in thighs (which are the best pieces of the chicken, hands down) cook for 50 minutes total. Cut the time to 45 minutes for drums or (sigh) boneless thighs. Regarless of the cut you should end up with a load of crispy juicy chicken that looks like this:
In case you were wondering, I cooked mine on a Big Green Egg with the platesetter in to diffuse the heat. And yes, the chicken is as insanely awesome as it looks. Pull it out and dip each piping-hot piece into the Diamondstar Halo sauce as you are about to serve it for hot sticky sweet spicy dipped goodness. If you are afraid of the spice you can just eat it plain. Either way, this chicken will blow your mind.
Next time, we will walk through the whole process from beginning to end: The sauce, the chicken, and the dip. Until then, happy chickening!
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