Let’s face it: Very few of us haven’t at one time or another had to endure a barbecue that consisted of nothing more than a mountain of charred, dried-out chicken breasts and torched drumsticks. Some of us are probably even guilty of hosting such a sorry excuse for a cookout ourselves, which raises two questions: Why do the majority of backyard grillers believe that chicken tastes best when covered with the heavy soot of pyromaniacal combustion? And why do they think that such blackened hunks of bird don’t require side dishes with which to wash them down?
In an attempt to sway the average barbecuing Portlander to adopt a tender philosophy toward grilled poultry, we asked Scott Dolich, chef and owner of Park Kitchen, to come up with a grilling menu that showcased the bird that’s been flipped one too many times.
According to Dolich, people tend to make two main mistakes when it comes to barbecuing chicken. The first and perhaps most egregious faux pas is cooking the chicken over coals that are too hot or, even worse, still flaming. If chicken (or any meat, for that matter) is grilled over direct flames or red-hot coals, it will wind up covered in a black carbon coating that tastes quite unpleasant. Such Cro-Magnon technique can also result in meat that’s burned on the outside but dangerously raw in the middle.