27 February 2008

Jack Daniels Grilled Chicken

Jack Daniels Grilled Chicken (with title)
The concept of a Jack Daniels-flavored grill glaze (er, barbecue sauce?) shouldn't be unfamiliar to anyone who's been to a T.G.I. Friday's. The point of this whole blog when I started was to cook everything I loved. Since then, it's grown into a creative exercise (in terms of making new desserts) and a learning experience (since I make it a point to incorporate a cooking technique that's new to me every now and then). But I still haven't forgotten that this glaze is something I've wanted to try for a long time, as I love the pineapple and molasses-like flavors. The next best thing about it is that it has almost no fat at all (uh, it has a LOT of sugar, though), and if you pair it with particular meats (skinless chicken breast-- stay with me, fellow food lovers), you will have a substantial meal with barely a speck of fat in it. Not very inspiring, but it is freaking amazing to me. If it makes you feel any better, I had regular skin-ful chicken breasts that I filleted myself (don't know why I bothered, though), but feel free to use it on ribs (I did), salmon, or pork chops. It's served here with Joe's rice pilaf (with bell peppers instead of almonds), and grilled pineapple (spears, four minutes a side).

(I got tagged for a meme by Susan, I'll put in my answers once I have something to else share with it, like a sketch or a piano piece :)

I was talking to Graeme when I was reducing this sauce. He will attest to the fact that I got to him cussing like there's no tomorrow, as I tried to taste the sauce after blowing on the sampling spoon twice. By the time it boils over, I think the sugar has already caramelized (which is more than 160°C or 320°F), so be sure it's sufficiently cooled before giving it a taste.

Jack Daniels' Grill Glaze (adapted from Top Secret Recipes)

  • 1 small head of garlic (about 15g)

  • olive oil (scant amount)

  • 160g (2/3 cup) water

  • 240g (1 cup) pineapple juice

  • 75g (1/4 cup) teriyaki sauce (I used Kikkoman)

  • 15g (1 tablespoon) soy sauce

  • 267g (1-1/3 cup) brown sugar

  • juice of half a lemon (about 45g)

  • 1 small onion, minced (about 70g)

  • 12g (1 tablespoon) Jack Daniels Whiskey (don't spend too much, buy one of those $2.50 airline bar bottles)

  • 20g (1 tablespoon) crushed pineapple

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Preheat the oven to 165°C (325°F). Using a sharp knife, slice off about a quarter-inch off the top of the head of garlic. Don't be too concerned if the smaller cloves are still completely intact. Place in a ramekin, drizzle the top with a little olive oil, cover the ramekin with foil, and roast in the oven for 1 hour. (You might want to roast some more garlic together with this one for other purposes; just use a bigger roasting pan.) Let the garlic cool and set aside.

In a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan, combine all of the remaining ingredients (water to cayenne pepper). Squeeze out all the soft fleshy roasted garlic insides into a small container (just to make sure none of the garlic skins go into the sauce) and add it all to the saucepan. Give the sauce a stir and set it over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until it comes to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer (very low heat) and keep simmering, stirring occasionally, for about 45 minutes, or until the sauce is reduced to a third and is thick and syrupy.

This glaze doesn't need to be brushed over the meat before going on the grill (the high sugar content will cause it to char). Just brush it on the meat after it's off the heat. Serve on the side as well.

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