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
- 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
- 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
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.