Category Archives: On The Grill Recipes

Chef P’s Smoked Swineapple

I’ve gotten a lot of messages and emails this year, asking me when I was going to get around to trying out the big fad recipe of 2016, the infamous “Amazing Swineapple” (A Frankensteinian flavor bomb of a pork-stuffed fresh pineapple wrapped in bacon!)

Well, as I promised to do my own take on it before the year is over, AND today just happens to be National Bacon Day, here we go…

I used our Burnin’ Love Pork Rub recipe, and my go to Yoshida’s Original sauce. I also decided to precook the pork, both for safety reasons, and to get some smoke and char into the flavor profile. It also makes the whole thing WAY quicker to cook, which gives you a better consistency on the pineapple.

Ingredients for Swineapple
1 Large Pineapple (the larger the better)
1 lb. of good quality, thin sliced, bacon (I like the “low sodium” for this recipe)
5/6 Boneless Pork Ribs (Picnic cut, from the shoulder)
Burnin’ Love Pork Rub (see recipe here)
Yoshida’s Original Sauce

Rubbed pork ribs for swineapple
Rub pork ribs with seasoning and refrigerate overnight in a zip bag. Remove to counter one hour before you plan to start cooking.

Grilling ribs for Swineapple
Grill ribs over direct high heat on well seared on all sides, but not overcooked (1-2 minutes per side). Brush with sauce as you turn each side.

Heat your smoker to 250F.

Coring pineapple for Smoked Swineapple recipe
Slice the rind off of the pineapple, cut off one end (do not discard) and carefully core out the center leaving an outer edge approx 1 inch thick.

Coring pineapple for Smoked Swineapple recipe
Stuff the pineapple with the pork ribs, packing them in tight.

Smoked Swineapple recipe
Carefully position the pineapple end you saved earlier back onto the end of the pineapple, securing with toothpicks.
MY KITCHEN Outreach ProgramBy the way, if you’re enjoying this recipe, please subscribe to our free newsletter! We’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each Friday.

Plus, you’ll be helping us teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk kids, in our MY KITCHEN Outreach Program.

IMG_2842 (1024x768)
Create a “bacon weave” (see instructions here)

acon weave wrapped swineapple
Wrap the pineapple with bacon weave, and pinning in place with toothpicks. Sprinkle exterior generously with more rub.

Bacon weave wrapped swineapple
Place in the pre-heated smoker for 3 hours.

Bacon weave wrapped swineapple
When the smoked swineapple is finished remove all of the toothpicks, remove the top, slice and serve immediately.

Bacon weave wrapped swineapple
This is great over some simple white rice!

Chef Perry

Bacon weave wrapped swineapple

Leave a comment

Filed under On The Grill Recipes, Traeger

Take your Grill Skill from Tragic to Magic!

La Caja China GrillTake your grill skill from tragic to Magic!

La Caja China Grill provides the roasting box owner with detailed instructions for both direct and indirect grilling, specifically on the “top grills” of the Cuban–style pig-roasting boxes and Cajun Microwaves, whose popularity have exploded with their exposure on Food Television, and with cooks and chefs like Bobby Flay, Andrew Zimmern, and Martha Stewart.

Perkins, a professional chef and cookbook author, provides tip on charcoal types, the proper amounts to use for each recipe, what woods provide the best smoke for specific ingredients, and even the best wine pairings for various grilled dishes, in the all-inclusive guide to grilling on the “magic box.”

And, of course, there are the recipes…

More than 70 delicious beef, pork, poultry, fish, and vegetable entrees for the grill, as well as sides, sauces, rubs, and everything the grill-master needs for the perfect flame-kissed meal.

All recipes are fully illustrated, and many provide web-links to additional cooking tips, definitions, and how-to videos.

There’s still plenty of summer left to oil up those grills, fire up the coals…and make some magic!

Sample Recipe:

Grilled Pork Chop on La Caja China













Thick Cut Chops with Basil-Garlic Rub

  • 4 bone-in pork loin chops, ¾-in
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp coarse sal
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

Mince garlic in food processor to mince.

Add fresh basil, lemon juice, oil, salt, and pepper and process to make a thin wet rub.

Spread both sides of pork chops with basil mixture.  Let stand 15 to 30 minutes.

Prepare 1 load of charcoal in a chimney starter, when coals are uniformly grey and glowing, spread them beneath the oiled Top Grill(s) for two zone grilling, immediately prepare a second load of coals.

If grilling while food is roasting inside the box, start and spread the coals as directed for the interior recipe, and simply add the Top Grill(s) over them.

Grill chops, over direct heat, turning once, to medium rare doneness, 5 to 6 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature reaches 145°F, followed by a 5-minute rest.


Leave a comment

Filed under On The Grill Recipes, recipes

Bastille Day BBQ : Leg of Lamb and Grilled Ratatouille

Lamb on La Caja China

Bastille Day is the name given in English-speaking countries to the French National Day, which is celebrated on the 14th of July each year. In France, it is formally called La Fête Nationale (The National Celebration) and commonly Le quatorze juillet (the fourteenth of July).

It commemorates the 1790 Fête de la Fédération, held on the first anniversary of the storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789; the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille fortress-prison was seen as a symbol of the uprising of the modern nation, and of the reconciliation of all the French inside the constitutional monarchy which preceded the First Republic, during the French Revolution. (Thank you Wikipedia.)

So, in honor of Bastille Day, I will lay aside my usual witty jabs and cheap shots at the French, and offer up two of my favorite french-inspired grill dishes for your outdoor cooking pleasure. So, have some wine, smoke a cigarette, eat some brie, hug a socialist…but whatever you do, enjoy!

And to the country that has, admittedly, given the world some of its finest food and finest Chefs, I say…Vive la France!

Grilled leg of lamb on La Caja China

Grilled Butterflied Leg of Lamb
Serves 8-10

The only way to eat lamb is medium rare or rare. That’s first. If you don’t like that, stop reading here and look for another recipe. Please, please, please DO NOT ruin this beautiful piece of meat, but cooking to “medium well” or “well done” both of which are oxymorons.

Now, if you’re still with us…awesome! Let’s grill!

We’re going to sear the lamb first, on both sides, briefly, and directly over high heat, then move it over to indirect (lower) heat until it’s cooked through. In our opinion.

To cook this lamb perfectly, you gotta use a meat thermometer to track the internal temperature of the roast. No questions, you just gotta.

So…the lamb:

1 boneless leg of lamb, 5 to 6 pounds, butterflied
1 medium sweet onion
6 cloves of garlic, peeled
1/4 cup herbs de provence*
1 lemon, zested
1/4 cup beef stock or broth
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp olive oil
Sea salt (coarse) and fresh ground black pepper

*Herbs de Provence – a mixture of dried herbs which can be found on most spice aisles, or you can make you own by combining:
4 teaspoon thyme
4 teaspoon summer savory
2 teaspoon marjoram
1 teaspoon rosemary
2 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon sage

Combine sweet onion, garlic, herbs de provence, beef stock, lemon zest, vinegar, and olive oil into a food processor and pulse to combine.

Sprinkle a fist-full salt and pepper over the lamb. Put the lamb into a gallon freezer bag, pour in the marinade, and massage it into every nook and cranny of the roast. Seal ‘er up, and refrigerate for 6-8 hours, or overnight.

Remove the meat from your refrigerator and set it in one counter (still in the bag) for about an house, to come to room temperature.

Now, we’re ready to grill!

Remove the leg from the bag, and run a couple of long skewers through it to use as handles when flipping (you’ll lose less of that yummy coating than if you used tongs, and, of course, you wouldn’t DREAM of stabbing it with a meat fork…right…RIGHT?)

Prepping coals for La Caja ChinaIf you’re are using a charcoal grill, or a La Caja China (pictured) start your coals in a chimney, and pour them into a double layer on one half of the cooking area (right or left) and just sprinkle a few on the other side. This is a “2-Zone Fire”.

For gas grills, crank that sucker up up as high as she’ll go on all burners, and when she’s good and hot, turn one side off. Toss three or four chunks of soaked oak on the coals, or start some oak chips smoking in a smoker box on your gas grill.

If you don’t have any oak, no biggie, but it does add a nice, mellow flavor to lamb.

Set the lamb, fat-cap down, on the hot side of the grill. You’re going to get some flames, and that’s okay (that’s what we like to call “the flavor”) You might want to have a squirt bottle of water or beer handy, to control the flames if needed.

Grill it hot on one side for about four minutes, then flip ‘er over to sear the other side for another 4 minutes. Then, move that little lamb to the indirect heat (cooler) side side of the grill.

Cover the grill and let cook for an additional 35-45 minutes (You want the cooking area to maintain at about 325-350°F.), until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the roast registers 130°F (for medium rare).

I strongly suggest using a remote meat probe, so you don’t poke a bunch of holes it the poor thing before it’s done.

When done, move the roast to a cutting board, cover with foil and let rest for at least 10 minutes. Pull the skewers and toss.

Grilled leg of lamb on La Caja China

Slice the lamb across the grain, in half-inch thick slices. Arrange the slices slices on a warm platter (take it to the next level by covering the platter in a thick layer or hot buttery garlic mashed potatoes first) and pour the meat juices over the slices.

Serve with mint jelly or horseradish.

Leftovers make for a fantastic Bahn Mi sandwich!

Lamb Bahn Mi sandwich


grilled ratatouille

The Ratatouille

“Ratatouille doesn’t sound delicious. It sounds like “rat” and “patootie.” Rat-patootie, which does not sound delicious.” – Linguini

With all respect to Monsieur Linguini, while ratatouille may not sound delicious, it tastes freakin’ awesome, especially hot off the grill!

Ratatouille (pronounced rat-eh-too-ee) is a traditional French Provençal stewed vegetable dish, originating in Nice. The full name of the dish is ratatouille niçoise.

2 zucchini, cut into quarters lengthwise
2 eggplant, halved lengthwise
2 yellow squash, cut into quarters lengthwise
2 red onions, quartered
1 pint grape tomatoes
2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded and quartered
2 yellow bell peppers, stemmed, seeded and quartered
1/2 cup olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 Tbs finely chopped fresh oregano leaves
1/4 cup finely chopped Italian parsley leaves
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn

Heat the grill to medium-high.

Toss all veggies in a bowl with the 1/2 cup of olive oil, and coat well. Add salt and pepper, to taste.

Grill veggies, cut side down for 5 to 6 minutes, turning halfway through the cooking time. Remove the tomatoes, cover your grill, and cook the remaining vegetables for 2 more minutes, or until almost cooked through.

grilled ratatouille on la caja china

Transfer vegetables to a cutting board and coarsely chop (leave the tomatoes whole).

Put the chopped vegetables and tomatoes in a large bowl, add the 2 tablespoons of olive oil, garlic, oregano and parsley and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Toss gently and serve.

Note: The leftovers, if you have any, are great the next morning over eggs scrambled with a little feta cheese!


1 Comment

Filed under On The Grill Recipes

Balinese Rotisserie Chicken

Balinese Rotisserie Chicken on La Caja China

Balinese roast suckling pig is widely considered to be the best pork you can put in your mouth. The secret, besides the constant attention, is the amazing fresh aromatics like lemongrass, chilies, cilantro, and lime stuffing the piggy, and the constant basting with coconut water while spinning over smoking hardwood coals.

I was drooling into my keyboard over this recipe the other day and thought… “that would make a amazing rotisserie chicken.”

And you know what…I was right!

The first thing to keep in mind, if you’re grilling or using the rotisserie over an empty box, is that you want something inside the box to soak up the heat and keep the box from overheating and possibly warping. I found that about a gallon of water in an oven-safe pot does the trick!

water pot

Okay, here we go…

The Recipe

  • 1 3-4lb whole roasting chicken
  • 1/4 cup peeled ginger, sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 lg. shallots, sliced
  • 2 stalks lemon grass, sliced
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
  • 2 red Thai chilies, optional
  • 1 Tbsp. coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon                                 
  • 2 pieces of star anise
  • 1 tsp Thai shrimp paste
  • 2 bunches fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. salt
  • 4 cups plain coconut water
  • 1 lime, sliced


  • 1 tsp. saffron threads            
  • 1 Tbsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 Tbsp. fine sea salt

Rinse chickens inside and out with cold water. Pat dry and set aside.

Combine rub ingredients, and rub exterior of chicken on all sides.

Balinese Rotisserie Chicken on La Caja China

Combine all remaining ingredients, except coconut water, for stuffing.

Set ½ cup of stuffing aside for baste. Stuff what remains into the bird, and truss with kitchen string.

Balinese Rotisserie Chicken on La Caja China

Combine the reserved ½ cup of stuffing with coconut water, and set aside for basting.

Balinese Rotisserie Chicken on La Caja China

Light 16lbs (1 bag) of Kingsford charcoal at one end of your la caja china. Light just the front edge of the coals, so that the coals burn slowly from front to back.

MY KITCHEN Outreach ProgramBy the way, if you’re enjoying this recipe, please subscribe to our free newsletter! We’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each Friday.

Plus, you’ll be helping us teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk kids, in our MY KITCHEN Outreach Program.


Balinese Rotisserie Chicken on La Caja China

Run the spit-forks, spikes first, up the skewer and push firmly into the chicken. Tighten the wingnuts on the sit-forks to keep them in place. Insert skewer into the upright poles and set square end into motor slot. Turn the rotisserie on.

Rake ½ of the lit coals to the far end of the coal grate (under the chicken). Rake some more to that end, leaving an open slot directly under the chicken.

Balinese Rotisserie Chicken on La Caja China

Roast approximately 2 hours, basting every few minutes with the coconut water mixture, and raking more coals under the chicken as needed until the juices run clear and a thermometer inserted into the inner thigh (but not touching the bone) registers 165°F.

Remove from heat and allow to rest, tenting in foil, for at least 15 minutes.


Chef Perry

Leave a comment

Filed under On The Grill Recipes, recipes

Pulled Pork on the Grill

Pork shoulders on a gas grill

Here’s how I do it…

Rub the shoulder with a commercial spice rub (or make your own dry rub) and/or inject the pork shoulder. Set it aside for a few minutes and rub again over any wet spots. Keep doing this until there are no wet spots, the heavier the rub, the better. This makes the “bark” of the shoulder. Wrap the whole thing in saran and fridge 12-24 hours.

Dry rub for pork shoulders

Take shoulder out of fridge and let sit 60 minutes to bring the temp up.

You want indirect heat for cooking, you can easily do this on a conventional gas grill. Just keep the meat as far from the heat source as possible, or it will burn during the long cooking time. You want to cook this at 225 degrees Fahrenheit; you can go as high as 250, but no higher. You don’t want to go lower than 225, as you will start to dry out the meat before it is cooked.

A nice touch is to put the shoulder on the “cool side” of the bbq, and place a disposable pan with a couple of cups of apple juice underneath it. 

A spray bottle with 50/50 apple juice and cider vinegar is nice for basting, as well.

For Smoke: I like to use a 50/50 mix of apple and mesquite chips, soaked together. Add 1 cup every 30 minutes for the first 3 hours.

smoking pork shoulders in a gas grill


If you don’t trust your onboard thermometer, get a cheap instant read (or better, a digital probe) and stick the probe all the way through a halved potato. Set the potato cut-side down on the grill. This keeps your thermometer off the grates.

Also, if your smoke-pipe doesn’t come all the way down to the level of the grates, add a piece of flashing (or roll a tube of heavy foil) to extend it. Otherwise 90% of your heat and smoke are flowing across the lid and out the top without ever touching the meat. By bringing the pipe down to the grate level, the shoulder stays bathed in smoke the whole time.

shredding pulled porkThe meat will take between 12 and 14 hours to cook, depending on the size of the roast. The meat is done when it reaches an internal temperature of at least 200 degrees. If you don’t have an instant read thermometer (you should really get one) the meat is done when it pulls apart easily.

Let the shoulder rest at least 30 minutes (45 is better) before shredding with bear paws. This allows the juices to soak back into the meat. Serve with a sauce on the side (see below) and some white bread slices to use as edible napkins!

Or, serve with white bread and coleslaw and make sandwiches out of all (that’s how we do it down south.)

Another option, since your shoulder can only suck up so much smoke is to pop it into the oven after 3hrs, at 225 (draped loosely in foil) until it reaches temp. I like to serve with my Dirty Little Secret Sauce on the side.

Pulled Pork Tips:

Cook with fat-cap up

Marinate, wrapped in plastic wrap, at least 8 hours (12-24 is best)

For oven cooking, brush lightly with Stubbs mesquite liquid smoke, then roast at 225d for 8-10 hours, or until internal temp reaches 200d

MY KITCHEN Outreach ProgramBy the way, if you’re enjoying this recipe, please subscribe to our free newsletter! We’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each Friday. Plus, you’ll be helping us teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk kids, in our MY KITCHEN Outreach Program.







Filed under On The Grill Recipes

Chili-Lime Grilled Lamb Chops


I enjoy a good piece of grass-fed, dry-aged beef as much as the next food snob, but if given my ‘druthers, I’d take a properly cooked peice of lamb-leg, or lamb chop over cow, any day of the week.

Here’s a favorite recipe of mine, for grilling on top of La Caja China. Makes a great snack while the pig’s roasting!

8 rib lamb chops, 1 1/2 inches thick
1/4 C fresh lime juice
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt

In a small bowl, stir together the chili powder, cumin, sugar, salt, and black pepper. Brush both sides of chops with lime juice, and sprinkle the spice mixture over the chops, rub it evenly all over the meat, and chill the chops overnight.

Prepare La Cajita China, or grill, with glowing coals. For a “high-heat” sear, I like to use my Weber charcoal chimney set directly on the Cajita ash pan.  Fill the chimney 3/4, light, and allow to burn down to half full.

On the oiled rack of the grill or on a broiler pan in the broiler, grill or broil the chops 4 inches from the heat for 5 to 7 minutes on each side for medium rare, rotating halfway through for grill marks.

When I pull the chops off the grill, I let them rest for 10 minutes, then serve with rosemary roasted potatoes and sweet green peas.


Chef Perry

MY KITCHEN Outreach ProgramBy the way, if you’re enjoying this recipe, please subscribe to our free newsletter! We’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each Friday.

Plus, you’ll be helping us teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk kids, in our MY KITCHEN Outreach Program.



Filed under On The Grill Recipes

Burnin’ Love “BBQ” Grilled Chicken

Sweet Chili BBQ Chicken

Chef Chris grills these legs, thighs, or hindquarters to sweet, spicy, sticky perfection!

He maintains that the secret lies in baking the chicken first, so you can grill it over very high heat, just long enough to caramelize the sugars in the sauce, without drying out (or under-cooking) the meat beneath.

First rub chicken with our “Burnin’ Love Rub” (see recipe below) and let sit in the fridge 2-3 hours. Bake in a single layer on a foiled lined baking sheet  at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes, or until the internal temp reached 165F.

Finish on a preheated very hot grill, over direct heat. Sear both sides of the chicken first, then dip* with the sauce, turn, cook for about 5 to 10 minutes total, brushing with sauce and turning several times, until chicken is done.

How to sauce BBQ chicken

For the best application of sauce, dip each piece of chicken into a bowl of sauce, instead of brushing. For thicker sauce, repeat 2-3 times while on the grill.

Allow the chicken to rest, and the sauce to set, about 10 minutes, uncovered.


Perk’s “Burnin’ Love” Rub

(Shh…it’s a secret!)

¼ C fine sea salt
¼ C light brown sugar
2 Tbs garlic powder
2 Tbs onion powder
2 Tbs smoked paprika
2 Tbs coarse black pepper
2 Tbs hickory salt (or seasoned salt)

This is enough for 5-8lbs of chicken.

Sweet Chili BBQ Sauce

2 cup Sweet Baby Rays Brown Sugar or Hot & Sweet BBQ sauce
1 cup Thai sweet chili sauce (I like “Mae Ploy” brand)
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 stick sweet cream butter

Combine all, simmer and allow to cool.


Leave a comment

Filed under On The Grill Recipes

Vietnamese Grilled Chicken Hearts

Vietnamese Grilled Chicken Hearts

Yes, I know this recipe isn’t for everyone, but I love grilled chicken hearts, and I love nuoc cham (Vietnamese dipping sauce), so I figured that marinating one in the other, before grilling, might be a good idea.

Turns out…it was a fantastic idea! 🙂

I’ll keep this quick and simple:

1 lb fresh chicken hearts
Wooden skewers (8-16, depending on length)
1/3 cup lime juice
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/3 cup fish sauce
2 garlic clove, finely minced
2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce (tuong ot toi), optional

Rinse the chicken hearts and pat dry.

In a saucepan, combine the remaining ingredients (except skewers) and bring to a simmer, stirring until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and cool.  If you need to speed this up, only add 1/2 cup of water before simmering, and then add 3/4 of a cup of ice cubes to cool.

Place chicken hearts in a large zip-bag and pour the cooled marinade over the top. Seal and refrigerate at least 4 hours and up to 12 hours. Remove chicken hearts from the brine (dispose of the brine), and let rest on the counter for up to an hour, to come to room temp.

Vietnamese grilled chicken heartsMeanwhile, set skewers in a shallow pan and cover with warm water.

Let soak 1 hour.

Thread chicken hearts into skewers, and grill over very high heat, 2-3 minutes per side, until well marked and just cooked through. You do NOT want a “well-done” chicken heart! 🙂

Enjoy as is, or with some sticky rice and sesame Asian slaw. I like to serve mine sprinkled with freshly minced cilantro and a little warmed chili garlic sauce on the side, for dipping!

Chef Perry
Burnin’ Love BBQ

1 Comment

Filed under Appetizers & Sides, On The Grill Recipes

Rotisserie Grilling Tips

Rotisserie Grilling Tips
“Spit-roasting is one of the world’s most ancient and universal forms of grilling, and there’s nothing like it for producing exceptionally moist meat with a crackling crisp crust.” – Steven Raichlen

I like chicken just about any way it can be prepared, but for the juiciest, most flavorful bird, I’ll hang my hat on rotisserie grilling, even more so now with the grill accessories that are available. This even-heating, self-basting method ensures a perfectly cooked bird, with crispy skin all around. Using a grill (with a rotisserie burner) is especially convenient when cooking for parties or holiday get-togethers, as it frees up the oven and stove-top, and you don’t even have to remember to flip or baste your entrée!

Start with a good dry rub, end with proper treatment of the finished fowl, and you’ll have a winner chicken dinner that folks are going to remember!

Plus, rotisserie cooking is thought to be the oldest cooking technique known to man… so that’s pretty cool, too.

Here are 5 things to remember when grilling a chicken rotisserie style:

Dry rub 8-24 hours in advance

Rotisserie Grilled ChickenA dry rub is a combination of salt, spices, herbs, and sometimes sugars, that’s used to flavor meat in advance of cooking. Unlike a marinade or brine, a dry rub forms a crust on the outside of the meat when cooked.

The salt draws out the juices in the meat, making it more moist and tender, while the sugars caramelize and form a seal that traps in flavor and juices.

You can add just about anything you want to a rub (and you should experiment with some of your own favorite flavors) but here’s my go-to dry rub for chicken: 2 Tbsp. sea salt + 1 Tbsp. each: dark brown sugar, coarse black pepper, granulated garlic, smoked paprika, onion powder, and Italian seasonings. Combine all in an airtight container and mix until completely blended.

Once you’ve sprinkled, then rubbed the spices into (and under) the skin, and trussed it, wrap the whole bird in plastic wrap and refrigerate until 1-2 hours before you plan to start cooking it. Be sure to sprinkle some of your seasonings into the body cavity of the chicken or turkey, as well.

Truss the bird

3Trussing (tying up) a whole bird before cooking is always a good idea as it helps keep it moist and promotes even cooking (and a prettier presentation), but for rotisserie grilling it’s absolutely essential. A non-trussed bird will loosen up on the bar, legs and wings floppin’ ever which-a-way, and start burning at the extremities long before the rest of the chicken is cooked through to the bone.

Trussing isn’t particularly difficult, but it does take some practice to perfect. Google “How to truss a chicken” for any number of excellent videos and step-by-step guides to trussing.

Watch the heat

4I like to preheat my grill (burners on full, lid down) before putting the pre-loaded spit (the rod that holds the meat) in place. Watch the bird closely, checking every few minutes at first, and adjust your flame as needed to avoid hot spots or burning the skin.
Cook to the right temp

Figure about 25 minutes per pound to cook a chicken on a rotisserie, but what you’re really looking for in an internal temp in the thickest part of the thigh of 175 °F. A lot of variables can affect the number of minutes it takes a bird to cook to the bone, including starting temp of the meat, the heat of your grill, and the weather while cooking, but 175 °F is done regardless of outside influences.

Give it a rest

Once your chicken is removed from the heat, it’s vital that it be allowed to “rest” for 15-20 minutes, tented loosely in foil.

Resting allows the meat to relax and reabsorb its own juices back into the muscle fibers as they cool. The reason for tenting in foil is to keep the surface temperature from dropping much faster than the internal temp, which can lead to drying.

Once the chicken has rested go ahead and snip away the trussing (I use a pair of kitchen shears for this), cut the bird up as you see fit, and serve.

Oh, and be sure to save those lovely roasted bones and extra bits for making stock or flavoring soups or gravies. It’s gold!


Chef Perry


Filed under On The Grill Recipes, Technique

President’s Day and Barbecue

Coming up on one of my favorite barbecue holidays…Presidents Day!

Oh sure, you can have your Memorial Day, and Independence Day, and Labor Day, but the problem with those are, everyone else is barbecuing as well! It can be hard to get enough folks over to justify a decent pig-pickin’ when every Weber on the block is burnin’ dogs.

Besides, Presidents Day has such a fine history or barbecue…

“When George Washington “went in to Alexandria to a Barbecue and stayed all Night,” as he wrote in his diary for May 27, 1769, he won eight shillings playing cards and probably ate meat from a whole hog, cooked for hours over hardwood coals, then chopped or “pulled.”

By the early nineteenth century at the latest, a sauce of vinegar and cayenne pepper (originally West Indian) was being sprinkled on the finished product.  This ur-barbecue can be found to this day in eastern North Carolina and the adjoining regions of South Carolina and Virginia, virtually unchanged.” (Adapted from Holy Smoke: The Tar Heel Barbecue Tradition, by John Shelton Reed, Dale Volberg Reed, and Will McKinney to be published by the University of North Carolina Press, forthcoming 2008.)

Says Steven Raichlen, author of “Planet Barbecue” and host of “Primal Grill” on PBS, “Our presidents were known to be big fans of the laid-back pastime as well. George Washington’s diaries abound with references to barbecues, including one that lasted for three days. George Washington was a major barbecue buff, and when Abraham Lincoln’s parents were married, their wedding feast was a barbecue.”

Lyndon Johnson built his campaign around Texas-style barbecues, a variation on an old tradition: In the 19th century, roast pig and whiskey were staples at political rallies. Having combined generous amounts of Kentucky bourbon and slow-roasted pork on occassion myself, I can say with some authority that this is a wise political tactic…after several hours you would passionately cast your vote for the pig, if someone put a ballot in your hand!

In fact, President Johnson had a full-time barbecue chef, Mr, Walter Jetton, employed on the LBJ Ranch full time. I have his cookbook…it’s highly amusing.

Ronald Reagan engaged the BBQ catering services of Wayne Monk of Lexington for the 1983 Economic Summit in Williamsburg.

Even President Obama, who, having grown up in Hawaii, is likely to have an undeniable love of pork…I mean bbq of  course…got into the action with Iron Chef Bobby Flay, grilling up some fine looking steaks at the White House for the Young Men’s Barbeque in 2009. (Hope they were good…we payed for ’em! lol)

So, in tribute to my favorite bbq holiday, here’s how you can prepare some fantastic, White House worthy pulled pork barbecue of your own on your gas grill or La Caja China (click links for recipes.)

And, of course, if you can get a herd of hungry revelers over, you can go whole hog…but I’d put the bourbon away first, if I were you.

And here’s my favorite “traditional” bbq sauce recipe, from …which is probably pretty similar to what Ol’ George sunk his wooden teeth into, at those all-night poker parties!

Perk’s Tradition BBQ Sauce

1 cup white vinegar
1 cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Combine the white vinegar, cider vinegar, brown sugar, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper in a jar or bottle with a tight-fitting lid. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 days before using so that the flavors will blend. Shake occasionally.

Enjoy the day!



Filed under In The Box Recipes, On The Grill Recipes