Señor Michael's Chicken

Here we are, on our Duck family vacation with tornado warnings at the beach and heavy rains. What to do? Well, eat of course! And Uno...Yahtzee...maybe some Clue. With plenty of cocktails, of course.

Anywho, I must say, we are truly eating like kings this week. Last night, my brother-in-law, Michael, even made a meal fit for one -- or King Kong, depending on said King's appetite. Michael cooked up four whole birds and truly, it was some of the juiciest chicken I have ever had. It easily fed 10 adults and five kiddos, with some leftovers, but not many (like I said, it was really really good!). You could easily divide or quarter the recipe if you aren't cooking for a crowd, but it would also make for a pretty impressive spread for one of your final summer BBQs.

Without further ado, MK's recipe:

Senor Michael's Chicken

(recipe by Michael Khoo of DC)

This recipe is an attempt at recreating the Peruvian chicken I used to get from a local takeout in Columbia Heights called Se or Chicken which closed in 2012. It's cheap, messy and very flavorful. Since I didn't get the actual recipe, it's a bit of a mish-mash of other recipes I found online and so the ingredient quantities can vary to taste. I made it with a sort of mexican/taco bell black beans and rice dish and we also made vegetable skewers.

Serves 12-16 people
Prep time: 1 hour (plus brining)
Cooking time: 1 hour

For the Chicken
4 whole chickens
16 limes juiced
4 lemons juiced
2 tablespoons Bragg's ACV
1 1/2 cups coarse sel gris
2 bulbs garlic, coarsely chopped
8 tablespoons ground cumin
4 tablespoons dried oregano
4 tablespoons black pepper

1. Brine the chicken for 3-12 hours, using 1/4 cup of salt, 4 cloves (1/4 bulb) and 2 limes and half a lemon per chicken. This might be the most important step as it keeps the chicken super juicy.

2. Rinse the chickens and cut in half, along the breastbone.

3. Prepare the seasoning paste in a bowl using all remaining ingredients, add a little water if it's too thick.

4. Put the chickens on a pan, skin up, and put the seasoning evenly across all the chickens. Add a little extra of the dry oregano, black pepper and cumin to make sure every inch is covered.

5. Place the chickens on a hot grill (450+), skin up/bone down, for 15 minutes, cover the grill. This cooks the deep parts but prevents you from worrying about burning the chicken. After 15 minutes the tops should be are slightly dry. Flip the chickens and grill the skin side down for about 10 minutes, till medium black. Best to close the lid and not wander far for that stage. Rotate back and forth (5 minutes on skin/10 minutes on bone) till internal temperature hits 160 degrees. To help ensure even cooking and doneness, you can pull the legs and wings back, tearing the skin a bit, and leaving them in a V shape, for the last 10 minutes.

6. Cut the chickens halves into four pieces with a heavy knife (two breast, one leg one wing).

For the rice and beans
4 cans black beans, undrained
4 cloves garlic
1/2 jalepeno pepper, seeded
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
1/2 onion
2 tablespoons cumin
(add 1-2 teaspoons of cayenne if you want it hotter)
1 3/4 tablespoons coarse sel gris
1 tablespoon black pepper
2 cups white organic basmati rice

1. In a large deep saucepan, saute the onion and garlic, jalepeno and cumin, add the peppers once soft

2. Add the remaining ingredients, bring to near boil then simmer for 30 minutes

3. Boil the rice with a little salt and olive oil, simmer for 20 minutes

For the Skewers
any assortment of veggies will do, we used:
cherry tomatoes
quartered onions
Olive oil
Black pepper
Fine or flake sea salt

1. place skewers in water for 10 minutes

2. put veggies on the skewer, baste liberally with olive oil, sprinkle with pepper lightly and salt more heavily. Place on top rack of grill, or on outside edge, for 30 minutes.