We have had several days of 85+ degree weather, plus we've now passed the day that officially marks summer, and we're firmly entrenched in my son's baseball season. All of these things signal one important event - grill weather! I know I've said this before, but I really mean it this time. My house just gets too darn hot to do much cooking in it. So, I have to get creative with my grill skills.
I've also decided to share my current obsession with you - using wood chips on my grill. I have been experimenting with apple wood, cherry wood and Jack Daniel's whiskey barrel chips, and still haven't decided which is my favorite. The apple wood sends a good steak over the edge into greatness, and the cherry wood makes pork chops awesome. And, the Jack Daniel's chips? Well, the Jack Daniel's chips, along with bacon, bring plain old chicken to the forefront of any table! Something in those whiskey-soaked pieces of wood transforms chicken into something divine.
One thing that I should mention, so that no one gets scared, is how easy it is to grill with wood chips. I simply buy a throwaway foil brownie pan and fill it half-full with the wood of my choice. Place it on the grill over high heat until the chips start to smoke, then turn down to medium. You want to keep them smoking without burning. Nothing to it!
Here's your Cast of Characters.
1 Whole roasting chicken, with giblet bag thrown away
1 Package of bacon
1 Small onion
2 Cloves of garlic
Lawry's season salt
Mrs. Dash Onion & Herb seasoning blend
McCormick Perfect Pinch Garlic & Herb seasoning blend
Jack Daniel's Whiskey Barrel Wood Chips (or your favorite wood)
Preheat grill to 400 degrees. Place a foil pan, half-full of wood chips, on one side of the grill.
Peel onion and garlic cloves, but leave them whole. Stuff the chicken with them. Sprinkle chicken with the seasonings, going lightly on the Lawry's. Then, cover chicken with bacon, using toothpicks to hold in place. Don't worry about wrapping the back of chicken with bacon - it will only burn.
Place chicken on the grill, and leave both burners going for 30 minutes. Turn burner off directly under chicken, but leave heat going on medium on the side with the wood chips. Try to maintain a temp around 300 to 325 degrees. Continue cooking chicken for about 3 hours, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thigh reads 165 degrees.
Remove chicken to a platter and let rest for about 10 minutes before carving.
The bacon will stick to some spots but crumble in others. Don't worry about it. Just serve it along with the chicken.