Monday, July 1, 2013

When Charcoal is on the Menu

It's summer vacation.  And I'm not going to throw out a bunch of buzz words on what the entire package of "summer vacay" means.  It's all BS anyway.  My buzz words for this summer are: old dudes with medical degrees, x-rays, nurses, crinkle paper (the kind you sit on in the exam room), insurance claims, payment plans....  You get the picture.  It's exhausting.  So when I am actually home, I do it to relax.  Well, that and eat.

The best part of a low sodium diet is the way you feel hungry all of the time.  Hunger maximizes the sensuality of food.  I'm not saying that I worship food by any stretch, but I respect it.  The raw power food has to pick you up, make you run, break down your cells, make you hyper, calm you, soothe you and ultimately kill you.  Guns?  I have them, but I swallow bullets for breakfast.  That's food, baby!

I relatively eat healthy.  I pack in my fruits and veggies and the meats on the side.  Personally I am not a big fan of grains and dairy causes internal distress, but sugar?  I could bathe in the stuff and since I can't have it (all a part of that magical diet the doc wants me on and can't crash without doing damage), meat is my new bestie.

I've always liked meat.  I grew up in the dark ages where everyone else's beef came in sleek plastic wrap and went ding! at the check out.  That was not my reality.  My beef came in the form of a supernaturally dumb cow that pooped steaming piles of ick, ate like it was starving and belched fermented alfalfa.  *side note: I could never figure out why drinking beer is so popular.  Ever been around a cow that is ruminating?  It's NASTY and beer smells EXACTLY like the worst cow belch on record.  Not kidding for a second!*  Anyway, back to the cow.  None of us liked the cow much.  It was not a smart cow, it wasn't very nice and when you are hungry and your only source of food is digging into a bale of hay you just fed it, we started formulating ideas on what it was going to taste like.  The cow was not the only one on the chopping block.  There were chickens and rabbits too.

Oh yeah.  I may have grown up in the 80's and 90's when everyone else was having a Gen X moment, but it felt like the medieval dark ages.  Thus was born my respect for meat.  Meat from the teenaged butcher from the grocery store that doesn't know a hock from a shoulder DOES NOT taste like the beef I ate growing up.  Chicken doesn't either, but chickens required a whole load of work.  It takes catching, draining, chopping, gutting, plucking and quartering.  Getting nauseous yet?  Me too.  And I watched this process more than participated.  I like my chicken in neat packaging.  It doesn't taste as good, but I'd take some flavor issues over yanking tail feathers any day.

So, when this happens to good chicken:

It's enough to make a grown woman cry.

It went down like this...  I was stupid and bought bone in and skin on chicken because it was cheap.  First wrong move.  Then I added olive oil to the mix so it wouldn't dry out on the grill.  Oops.  Then I put it on the piping hot grill where it promptly caught fire.  Yep.  I utterly destroyed good chicken.  And once chicken skin catches fire it doesn't like to go out until it's good and ready.

Poor, sad chicken.

The boys had fun with it.  Favorite quote of the night was:  It's not burnt, mom.  Charcoal is natural seasoning.

Good gravy!  I love those kids!


  1. Oh no. I feel your pain. I had marinated steaks all day only to have my lovely husband forget all about them on the grill. I was so sad! I don't know if you're asking for tips but when grilling bone in chicken, cook on a low heated grill or indirectly for a longer period of time. You can make cheaper cuts of meat taste delicious.

  2. Thanks!!! I am always open to suggestions and tips. Bone in chicken is a tricky devil. Thanks again, darling!

  3. Also to guarantee a juicy piece of chicken, brine it! :)