The COVID-19 Pandemic still has folks looking at mealtime in a whole new way. With trips to the grocery store few and far between home cooks all over are looking for ways to extend one meal in to the next. Last weekend I brined and grilled a couple of large chickens over charcoal with added pecan wood. Whenever I fire up the grill or smoker I always cook for more than one meal, but now that inclination feels more important than ever before.

We enjoyed a portion of one chicken for dinner with some Thanksgiving inspired sides before I whipping up warm BBQ chicken sandwiches the following day. Two meals into “operation chicken” I still had enough leftover to make a lovely chicken salad.

Next time you make you way to the market pick up an extra chicken; it will help you stall your next trip to the store and make the most of mealtime at home.

FOR THE CHICKENS:

Brine the chickens: I brined my 2 (4-pound) chickens over night in a mixture of 1/4 Cup of white sugar, 1/2 Cup of salt, 1 Tablespoon of chili powder, 2 cans of lager beer, and enough water to cover the birds.

Cook the Chickens: Remove the chickens from the brine and pat dry. Stuff the cavity of each chicken with 1/2 a lemon, 1/2 an onion, and a halved celery stalk. Tie the legs together. Make a mixture of 1 Tablespoon coarse salt and 1/2 Tablespoon coarse black pepper and 1 1/2 Tablespoons canola oil. Rub the salt mixture all over the chickens.

Grill, covered, over indirect heat until the thigh registers 165 degrees–about 1 1/2 – 2 hours. I added pecan wood to the coals to maintain temperature and add flavor. Alternatively chickens can be roasted in a 450 degree oven for 1 1/2-2 hours or until thighs reach 165 degrees. Seriously just put them un the oven and let them cook with out disturbing.

Let chickens rest for 20 minutes before carving one bird and serving it for dinner. Cool and store the second chicken whole with any leftovers from the first chicken.

*Please note cooked chicken should be consumed in any form within 4 days. Leftover cooked chicken can also be frozen for up to four months for use in recipes at a later date.

FOR THE CHICKEN SALAD

I served this salad garnished with fresh tomato, cashews, black pepper and scallions and  as a delicious sandwich filling as well.

Ingredients:

  • 4 Cups diced leftover chicken
  • 1 -2 shallots, minced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 3 scallions, snipped
  • 2 teaspoons BBQ seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • salt to taste
  • 2/3 Cup light mayonnaise
  • 1/2 Cup sour cream
  • 1 Tablespoon BBQ Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce, more or less to taste

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl mix well. Taste, adjust seasoning, and allow to sit in the refrigerator several hours or overnight before serving to allow flavors to blend.

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