Friday, January 27, 2006


Just a quick, late-night note from your smokey-smelling Virtual Tapas Bartender. The Weber Bullet has struck again...and this time, the victims were chickens. have to admit that it's a nicer photo than that of an aging exhibitionist contortionist.


At 2:22 AM, Blogger woman wandering said...

I finished working on the computer at 2.20am, signed out and foolishly passed by your chicken post.

Kind regards,
she who drooled over the chickens.

At 1:10 PM, Blogger Sal DeTraglia said...

Yeah, I know what you mean. There are few things as beautiful as a chicken cooked on a smoker. They turn a shade of golden-brown that you'd only find in a Norman Rockwell painting.

They taste pretty damn good, too. Especially with a Sears Tower full of wine [that was an inside joke, for the rest of you].


At 3:57 PM, Blogger woman wandering said...

I almost drooled a little.

Talking of Sears Towers full of wine ... the Belgian PM is coming to tonight's outing so I'm thinking the wine might be quite good.

Da we ze nog laank meuge meuge
(Antwerpenese for 'That we may like them [the drinks] for a long time to come')

At 4:01 PM, Blogger Sal DeTraglia said...

Hey Wandering Di:

Tell Mr. Verhofstadt that I said "Hello."

And if the opportunity should arise, please remind him that I'd like my lawn mower back if he's finished with it.


At 6:17 PM, Blogger woman wandering said...

Such liberties ...

Okay, I'll tell him Sal sends his regards, mention the news that you intend sending him some of your free whisky haul, then I'll move onto returning your mower however if I am exposed to a Dutch tirade on the subject of you letting your lawns turn brown, purportedly in the interests of water conservation, then I'm telling him to keep your mower. Is that clear?

Note that I am putting aside a conversation on the delays I am experiencing regarding my wait for residency permission ... hmmm, I guess this means you owe me a bottle too.

At 6:53 PM, Blogger christina said...

Pretty poultry! Wow, those look great. I agree - a smoked chicken is a thing of beauty. You could sell those and make some extra pocket money.

You're not covered in snow down there, are you? We just saw some alarming pictures from France and Italy on the news.

At 9:05 PM, Blogger Sal DeTraglia said...

Di: That's a good point. My brown lawn doesn't grow, so I guess I don't need that lawn mower. Tell him keep it. But I WOULD like my Pink Floyd CD's back.

Christina: I'd rather forego the money and just eat the chickens all by myself. BTW, no snow in these here parts. It was cold today, but not snowy cold. I like snow, but prefer that it limit itself to ski resorts.


At 10:35 AM, Blogger woman wandering said...

Dammit, the PM didn't come ... he cancelled 4pm Friday and somehow, the powers that be left me out of the information loop ... imagine that. They managed to dig up a previous PM who seemed to rouse the crowd ... sadly, understanding every 3rd to 10th word left me with an incomplete idea of the topic of said rousing speech.

I guess you'll just have to ask yourself if the Pink Floyd cd is really so important to you now ... perhaps you could write him a wee note yourself, gifting both the lawn mower and the cd, resting in the knowledge that you did a very good and generous thing.

At 2:59 PM, Blogger Culinary Fool said...

Looks like a party! I guess I must have overlooked my invitation?

~ B

At 10:12 PM, Blogger hippo_pepperpot said...

sal... I have a question to ask you... could you pls e mail me?

At 10:14 PM, Blogger hippo_pepperpot said...

I would give you my email on a comment but it would expose my real ID... ugh... this is only a silly question but one that I don't want to be put out on a blog...

At 11:10 PM, Blogger Sal DeTraglia said...

Culinary Fool: Given that we've known each other since Kindergarten, you certainly don't need an invitation. My Weber is your Weber. Just please bring a bottle or two of something red.

Hippo: My email address is listed above. Why do I feel...scared?


At 3:49 AM, Anonymous Jo said...

Those chickens look fabulous. Did you brine them by chance? What sort of flavorings did you impart with the smoke? Herb twigs mixed with oak or hickory would probably be great, but are those woods even available there?

At 8:09 PM, Blogger Sal DeTraglia said...

Hey Granny Jo:

I brined them with a mixture of 6T salt, 1.5c sugar and liters of water. That was the only seasoning I used on this first run, because I wanted to taste the chicken "commando." I can't buy pre-cut hickory or other wood chunks here like you would in a US hardware store. So I simply sawed a few chunks off of a fire log, which was most likely oak. The chickens smoked for almost five hours. They tasted...smokey. Really good. The skin wasn't crispy (temps are obviously too low for that), but the meat was very moist. Chicken isn't a glamorous thing to smoke, but it's quick (relatively speaking), cheap, easy and leftovers make an outrageous chicken salad. Even my daughter ate it.


At 4:55 AM, Anonymous Jo said...

It may not be glamorous, but it's an excellent starting guage. You might want to try almond or olive wood trimmings in the future. Assuming there are orchards anywhere near you. I've never come across someone using more sugar than salt in their brine. How's the taste? I consider myself rather daring because I go for a 50/50 mix. I've also used a variety of "teas". I boil herbs (garlic, rosemary, lemon peel, etc.) in a small amount of water which I then add to the brine. I've heard of brining beef and pork as well but I've never tried it. You may be on to something here!

At 7:57 PM, Blogger Sal DeTraglia said...

Granny Jo:

I'd love to take credit for it, but the brine recipe was lifted straight from the pages of Cook's Illustrated. I just doubled it, since I was brining a lot of bird.

I use the same brine every time I make chicken or pork. I even used it on a venison roast once. It has never let me down; nor anyone who I've recommended it to. Never tried it with beef, since beef has plenty of its own internal fat and doesn't need a brine.

As for BBQ sauces (tomato, vinegar, mustard or otherwise), you might want to get your hands on the cookbook "Smoke & Spice" by the Jamison's. It has recipes for all of them, and is probably the most widely-respected of all BBQ cookbooks.



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