Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Honey-Smoked Chicken with Sweet Chile Sauce

The flavor combination of sweet and smoky is hard to beat. Here, the chicken pieces are rubbed with a buttery honey mixture, then slowly smoked to succulent, juicy taste and texture.

But as good as the smoked chicken is on its own, a thick, syrupy sweet sauce finishes it in deliciously rich style.

Tip: For an easy way to cut the bird into four pieces, first remove the backbone: Lay the chicken breast-side-down on a cutting board. Use kitchen shears to cut along each side of the backbone and remove it. Cut through the breastbone to halve the bird. For each half, cut through the skin between the top of the thigh and the bottom of the breast to separate it into a breast-wing and whole leg portions:

Cut Along 1 Side of the Backbone
Cut through the Breast Bone 
Cut the Bird into 4 Pieces
Serves 4

  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 whole fryer chicken (2-1/2 to 3 lbs), cut into 4 pieces (breasts-wings / drumsticks-thighs)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon sambal oelek (ground fresh chile paste)
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  1. Warm the butter gently in a small pan until melted. Remove from the heat and add the honey and lemon juice, stirring until completely combined. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Loosen the skin all over the chicken pieces and rub most of the honey mixture beneath it. Rub the remainder on the outside. Place on a large plate and cover with foil. Refrigerate 2-4 hours. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before smoking.
Honey Mixture 
Marinated Chicken
  1. Heat a small saucepan over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the garlic and sauté 1 minute. Add the vinegar, sugar, sambal oelek, and ketchup and season with salt and pepper. Stir well to dissolve the sugar.
  2. Bring to a simmer and cook 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and whisk in the cornstarch. Cook slowly until slightly thickened and syrupy, 7-8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside until ready to use.
Garlic in Oil
Vinegar Mixture Beginning to Cook 
Cornstarch Added 
Thickened Chile Sauce 
Sweet Chile Sauce
  1. Prepare a smoker or light a grill for off-heat cooking at medium heat, about 350° F. (If you’re using a charcoal grill, it’s okay for the temperature to fluctuate from 375° to 325° during smoking.)
  2. When the smoker/grill is ready, smoke the chicken, turning every 15-20 minutes for about 1-1/4 hours total.
  3. Baste the chicken with the chile sauce a few times during the last 10 minutes of smoking. Transfer to a platter and let rest 5 minutes.
Chicken Beginning to Smoke 
Chicken Halfway Through
Smoked Chicken with Chile Sauce
Serve hot, passing any remaining sauce at the table.

Honey-Smoked Chicken with Sweet Chile Sauce

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