Don't ask me why, but I've always felt grilling was beyond my capabilities. Stuffed grape leaves -- no problem. Baklava -- no problem. Homemade bread -- no problem. A grilled hamburger -- oh, no! But last week our local grocery store had Foster Farms California-raised, salt free, whole chickens on sale. I couldn't pass up a bargain like that, and I didn't want to turn on the oven for roasting. I've cooked whole chicken in my crockpot, but it comes out steamed, with rubbery skin. I knew I had only one other alternative. I was going to have to break down and cook the bird on my gas grill.
Where to get the courage and know-how? I turned to the members of the Cooking Forum. And, luckily for me, they gave me some good advice and the confidence to go ahead with my plan. One of the members, Terri, gave me a good dry rub recipe, while Ann gave me instructions on how to do the actual grilling.
With their encouragement, I prepped the chicken and marched out to the patio. In fear & trembling, I plopped the five pound bird onto the hot grill and closed the lid. I set the timer for 50 minutes and waited. Boy was I surprised when I opened the lid up and found a wonderfully brown & crispy skinned chicken. I let it rest about 10 minutes before carving it up. It tasted great, and, the best part for me, the house was cool. I think I have finally conquered my grillaphobia.
I've since grilled some eggplant & squash, and my daughter used the grill for burgers. One thing nice about grilling is the added flavor & texture from the slight charring. That goes a long way in making low sodium foods more palatable. I'll eventually grill some more, but due to the many raging fires and triple digit weather here in Northern California, it's far too smoky & hot outside to grill right now.
Smoky Barbecue Dry Rub
Terri from Cooking Forum/SFGate.com
2 teaspoons smoked paprika (The smoked paprika makes this rub special. It won't be the same without it.)
2 teaspoons kosher salt (I omitted all the salt, and the chicken was still very flavorful)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon chile powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Combine the paprika, salt, sugar, pepper, cumin, garlic powder, chile powder and cayenne pepper in a small bowl and mix well with a small whisk. Yields 3 tablespoons