Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Barbecued Chicken Kebabs


This might be the weirdest method I've ever used when cooking.  I always joke with my cooking friends that Cook's Illustrated just likes to mess with their readers - like "let's add this crazy step and see if people actually do it!"  I for one would just like to know how they come up with this stuff.  Take this recipe for example.  The good folks at CI wanted to "rescue" them from a fate of overcooked and dry meat.  They acknowledged that the problem is that chicken is too lean to hold up to the high heat of the grill.  Since these are bbq glazed, bacon seems like a natural pairing with the chicken, but they struggled with how to incorporate it.  After trying several methods, they finally,somehow, figured out that the best method is to - get this - pulse the bacon in a food processor to form a paste, then coat the chicken with it.  Crazy, right?!

But it worked!  This was definitely one of the best dinners we'd had in a while, and Joey and Caroline both seemed to agree.  The bacon does keep the chicken from drying out, while simultaneously giving it a smoky flavor.  Joey proclaimed this to be one of his favorite dinners, so I have a feeling I'll be making bacon paste all summer!



Grilled Barbecued Chicken Kebabs
adapted from Cook's Illustrated, May/June 2011
serves 6

Sauce
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup molasses or honey
  • 2 Tbs grated onion (grated on the large wholes of a box grater)
  • 2 Tbs Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 Tbs Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbs cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbs brown sugar
  • hot sauce, to taste
Kebabs
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 Tbs sweet paprika
  • 4 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • skewers
For the sauce, bring all the ingredients to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens and reaches a ketchup-like consistency and is reduced to about 1 cup, 5 to 7 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Transfer 1/2 cup of the sauce to a small bowl and set aside to serve with the cooked chicken.

For the kebabs, toss the chicken with the salt in a large bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes, or up to 1 hour.

For a gas grill, turn all the burners to high, close the lid, and heat 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, pat the chicken dry with paper towels.  Combine the paprikas, sugar, and cayenne in a small bowl.

Process the bacon in a food processor until a smooth paste forms, 30-45 seconds, scraping down the bowl  twice during processing.  Add the bacon paste and the spice mixture to the chicken and toss to coat using your hands or a rubber spatula.  Thread the meat onto skewers, rolling or foldin meat as necessary to maintain 1-inch cubes.

Scrape the cooking grate clean with a grill brush.  Leave the primary burner on high and turn off the other burners.  Place the kebabs over the hot burner and grill, covered, turning one-quarter of a turn every 2 minutes or so, until well browned and slightly charred, 8 to 10 minutes.

Brush the top surface of the kebabs with 1/4 cup sauce; flip and cook until the sauce is browned in spots, about 1-2 minutes.  Flip again and brush with remainign 1/4 cup sauce; continue to cook until browned in spots and cooked through, about 1-2 minutes.

Remove from grill and allow to rest 5 minutes.  Serve, passing barbecue sauce separately.


30 comments:

Blog is the New Black said...

These look wonderful- perfect for warm weather! :)

Tien said...

These look great! I am going to have to try these soon. -Tien

Shawnda said...

Ha! "Let's make a paste out of bacon and slather it all over everything." It seems so... rational. Almost :)

Ann K said...

Looks tasty! CI does come up with some wacky methods. I will definitely have to try this out at our next dinner club. Always love to throw in an unexpected twist to keep our friends on their toes.

Tracey said...

I flagged this recipe in the new issue too! Bacon paste - how can that be bad? :)

Kim said...

This recipe has summer written all over it! I will be making once it finally warms up!

Joanne said...

This is going straight to my parents email account because they eat really bad dry bbq chicken almost every night during the summer. You've probably made my siblings' lives infinitely better by posting this!

Kelli @ The Corner Kitchen said...

bacon paste is a new one for me, but everything is better with bacon! These sound delicious! I'd totally be one to give in to the CI crazy step.

Jennifurla said...

I am so doing this

warmvanillasugar said...

Kebabs are so awesome! Love the BBQ on this!

bunnyeatsdesign said...

This is really dangerous. There should be a user warning. Thank the bacon god I don't own a food processor or I'd be carrying a little jar of bacon paste with me everywhere I went. This method is genius.

Morgan said...

Sounds delicious! It's going on my dinner menu for sometime this coming week, thanks!

Medifast Coupons said...

Bacon goes with anything, doesn't it? Great recipe, look forward to trying, thanks for sharing.

Mellybrown said...

This is ..... interesting :) And cool shout out today on PW. Those taquitos are pretty darn tasty.

Tara said...

I just made this and have to say, bacon paste is amazing!!!! Best chicken kebabs I've ever had. The bacon isn't overwhelming, it just adds smokey delicious richness and keeps the chicken from drying out. GENIUS!!!

The Cafe Sucre Farine said...

Yum, I can't wait to try these, how perfect for a summer cookout! They sound absolutely delish! Thanks!

foodies at home said...

Book marked and ready to eat this now! I love that you smothered it in bacon! Totally making this for my family this weekend!

Leslie F. said...

I made these last night with chicken thighs. They were AMAZING! my 5 year old ate two HUGE kebabs full of chicken. Thanks so much for sharing, these are definitely going on the summer rotation!

ashley said...

haha i wonder about CI's methods too... just see if people will actually do it?? :-) sounds pretty good though!

Tiffany said...

I just read this article, too. Glad to see I'm not the only one with this on the menu. Glad to see that it worked and tasted good.

Kim said...

I just made these last night. The sauce is soo good!!

Shannon said...

I made these last weekend and they were sooo good! The bacon paste was a bit weird...and a bit gross to mix in, as mixing it with the chicken by hand seemed to be the best way to coat it, but it was totally worth it!

Marla said...

Your BBQ kebabs look great, especially for today being the 4th :)
Cookin' Canuck & I would love if you linked up to 3 of your Kebab recipes into this weeks Get Grillin' round up. The recipes can be anything & don't need to be grilled. This and any 2 others would be perfect. http://su.pr/1BZGKK

Ash said...

Made these last night.. Soooo Sooo good :) thank you

Amanda said...

Is the bacon paste made with raw or cooked bacon?

Josie said...

Amanda,
It is raw. It is rubbed on the chicken and cooked along with it. That's how the chicken gets the smoky flavor.

califncsun said...

This sounds so good!

TYFS

Ronja said...

This is a wonderful idea and recipe even if I can't imagine making a paste out of bacon... Have to try this for saturday night's bbq!

Shannon Thomas said...

do you think you could do this over the space of 2 days? salt the chicken, then rub with the spices and bacon paste, then leave overnight to grill and serve the next day? I am catering a big wedding dinner and think these would be perfect! but I have to do a lot ahead of time.
shannonbunchthomas@gmail.com

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