Pesto Planked Chicken
February 24, 2010
Every now and then I stumble upon a great food blog. Or a great beer blog. It is rare to find the combination of entertaining prose, great photos and creative cooking. Throw in beer and you have the makings of a fantastic web site. This weeks guest post comes from Mike, the author of such a web site, AnotherPintPlease.com. I first came across this site through Twitter, and now I visit the site frequently to see what Mike is up to.
Mike was kind enough to share this with our readers. Please return the favor and visit his site. You'll thank me for the suggestion.
Pesto Planked Chicken! Well it's mid February here in southwest Ohio and the thrill of winter and experiencing the "changing of the seasons" is about 12 weeks old. In fact, the last time this cold weather and repeated snow was enjoyable was when it was still Fall, 60 degrees, and this winter imagery was just that, a mental image.
Nonetheless, the path to the grills is well shoveled and I was able to reset the GFI outlet on the deck which had rendered the deck lightless Thursday and required me at the time to grill by iPhone light. The cold weather has unfortunately stifled my creativity too (of course some will argue I have no creativity, but I will ignore my best friends for now). So, when I glanced at a plank grilling book at a bookstore over the weekend, I thought of adapting something different to the grill and voila, I have tonight's dinner.
Everyone knows I hate boneless, skinless, chicken breasts. I would much rather take a fryer, cut it up/spatchcock it/roto it/whatever, than grill a nondescript breast. In fact, I'm slightly embarrassed Slashfood featured this picture in their Drool Over This feature. So, when I decided to grill chicken tonight, I decided to not only cut it up, but to grill it on a cedar plank.
The extra step that made dinner easy, was the pesto I had frozen in ice cube trays. I can't remember where I picked this hack up, but it has paid off time and time again.
1Take your cedar plank and soak it in water for at least an hour. I talk more about planks here.
2Preheat our grill to medium high
3Cut up your chicken into pieces.
1Rub your chicken pieces in olive oil and then season with salt and pepper.
1Place your soaked plank on the grill over direct heat for approximately 3 minutes. After 3 minutes, the plank should start to smoke and burn. Remove it, and turn it over. Place your chicken pieces, equally spaced on the unburned side and return to the grill over low direct heat/medium direct. In other words, maintain a hood temp of 350ish, but keep the plank over burner(s) on low.
1I will cook the breasts for approximately an hour over direct low. Because I cut my own planks, they are fairly thick and can take the low heat for an extended amount of time. If you buy thin planks from the store, you may be forced to go into indirect heat so you don't end up with this.
2During the last 20 minutes of grilling, smother the breasts with pesto.
3Serve when the internal temperature reaches 170 degrees.
Pesto is always good on chicken, but the cedar adds a really nice smokey flavor that not only makes this a great dinner, but the base for great pesto chicken salad the next day.