Monday, 1 April 2013

Smoked chicken

Following on from the success of the smoked sausages last weekend, I decided to try smoking some chicken breasts...

If the weather had been at all Summery I would probably have planned this meal as a cold salad, but since it wasn't, the meal was served as a hot one. To be honest, smoking the chicken was ridiculously easy. I chose "skin on" meat because I reckoned the skin would help to keep it moist (which was indeed true). Cooking time for chicken breasts in the Cameron smoker is given as 10 minutes per half pound. My two chicken breasts jointly weighed 12oz, so I cooked them for 15 minutes. It wasn't enough. Perhaps it would have been OK if the chicken breasts had been sliced in half or butterflied, but they were certainly not cooked through after the 15 minutes. So I put them under the traditional grill for a few minutes to finish them off. This also gave them a bit more colour, which made them more attractive to look at.

Actually, many of the recipes in the booklet that came with the smoker recommend this approach. Smoke the meat first to flavour it (the smoke effect doesn't last very long because the wood chips soon burn up), and then cook it fully - and brown it - on the grill or barbecue.

To accompany my chicken I chose a variety of vegetables:

You will recognize the potatoes, tomatoes, mushrooms and asparagus, I'm sure, but what's in the bowl? It is a sliced red onion marinating in a French dressing [3 Tbsp light olive oil; 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar; 1 Tsp grain mustard and a generous pinch of salt]. This was used to coat the potatoes when they were cooked, along with a garnish of fresh parsley, like so:-

Marinating the onion in the dressing for a couple of hours softens its texture and removes any harshness of flavour.

The mushrooms and tomatoes were fried conventionally, in a little oil and butter, and the aparagus was simply steamed in a steamer pan above the pan in which I boiled the potatoes.

Cooking time for the whole meal was only about half an hour, and prep time probably a bit less. The biggest problem was juggling the pans on the stove-top, because the smoker is very large! Fortunately the smoker retains heat well, and leaving the meat inside it with the lid on for a few minutes while you complete the rest of the meal is perfectly practical.

So, when plated-up, this is what the finished meal looked like:

Let's zoom-in a bit...

Yes, I definitely consider the smoker to be "A Good Thing"! I just wish the veg had been home-grown...

P.S. Now that Google have announced the forthcoming demise of Google Reader and Google Friend Connect, would anyone like to join me on Networked Blogs? There's a widget on my sidebar if you would like to link up...

I had a look the other day at the option to convert to Google+ Friends, but I decided I just couldn't face it right now - too complicated and too irrevocable! Maybe some other time? I do already have a Google+ profile, but I can't say I like it. And the arrangement in Google+ for managing my photos is dire. I must say that it irks me that Google, Facebook, Twitter etc feel obliged to change their software and their "systems" so frequently. Call me old-fashioned if you like, but what I want most is a bit of stability!

I have also recently signed-up with Bloglovin - voluntarily and not because I'm not being forced to do so (Google please take note.). Still trying to figure out how I'm going to use it...

An awful thought had also occurred to me: I hope Google are not going to cease offering Blogger. :-(


  1. A very nice meal! You're certainly getting your use out of the smoker! The potatoes look especially good to me.

  2. you raised a couple of interesting points Mark, if Blogger ceased I suppose the alternative for me would be Wordpress.

  3. I didn't know that olive oil and vinegar was called "French dressing". Am learning someting new every day. :)
    I have to try marinating the onions. I love onions, but DH...not so much.

  4. I've been using BlogLovin' since they announced the demise of Google Reader. I'm pretty pleased with it.

  5. The smoked chicken looks so delicious! We used to smoke whole good, but alas, we are now on very low fat diets and pretty much avoid smoked foods as well....the fun of getting old, I guess!

  6. Everything looks so delicious! Your photos are making me hungry. Dinner was a good three hours ago!!

  7. Ceasing Blogger would cause a revolution! Do you use Networked Blogs to automatically post on Facebook and Twitter too? I do that but for some reason you can't automatically upload to Google+ it all has to be done manually! I've also joined Bloglovin as well. It's mainly so people can choose which way they prefer to follow rather than me necessarily using them all.

  8. Yum! I am constantly amazed by your cooking chops!

  9. Are Networked blogs and Bloglovin different or do they essentially do the same thing? Never having had a reader I don't really understand the implications. I have joined Bloglovin but haven't really used it so far.

    1. Liz; I'm not an expert in such matters, I'm afraid. As far as I know Networked Blogs and Bloglovin do similar things, but my perception is that Bloglovin may be more useful for those people who don't have a blog of their own but still want to read blogs and leave comments. I'm hedging my bets for when Google Reader goes!

  10. What a lovely meal. I can see that the smoker is going to get plenty of use.

  11. Wow, that meal looks amazing! I bet Phil would like the fried tomatoes and I would love the potatoes and mushrooms.
    As for Google Reader. I don't even know what that is! I probably use it and don't even know! Will have to check and see. I could see them ceasing Blogger though. I lost a very good group when MSN stopped their groups and there were lots and lots of groups and people in them.

  12. I've been out and missed lunch today but I just can't read this post until I've eaten something now I've seen the photos!
    It looks I'm off to the fridge and then I'll come back to read it...overwise I'll be drooling over the keyboard! Not attractive nor good for my laptop! ;D


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