Saturday, July 2, 2011

4th of July Special: Cherry Bomb Chicken – Because There Are No Grape Bombs

I was playing around with a new brine idea for grilled chicken, and decided that since I was using cherry tomatoes and explosive habanero peppers, I'd do a little 4th of July firecracker-themed word play and call this "Cherry Bomb Chicken."

Unfortunately, the sweetest, ripest cherry tomatoes at the market that day were grape tomatoes, which makes the name somewhat dubious. Never one to worry about letting facts get in the way of a good story, I decided to double down.

Now I'm claiming that not only does "cherry" refer to the tomatoes, it also refers to the old phase, "that's cherry," which is how us old folks used to say something was, "the bomb." As far as a technique for ensuring your holiday chicken is ultra-moist and flavorful, this is both "cherry" and "the bomb."

I had a quail dish once in which the birds where marinated in a tomato-water brine, before being grilled. I remembered it was really good, and that's what inspired this relatively odd treatment. Thanks to the magic of brining, this really will almost guarantee a juicy, tasty piece of chicken – and the method allows for countless customizations.

By the way, don't be tempted to leave it in the brine longer; 4-6 hours is ideal. You want the meat brined, not cured. This will also work for pork chops if that's more your thing. I hope you give this a try soon, and that you all have a fantastic 4th of July weekend! Enjoy!

1 quart cold water
1/3 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 pint cherry tomatoes
3 habanero peppers
1/2 teaspoon allspice
4 cloves garlic
Oil Rub:
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 tbsp vegetable oil

1 4 lb. quartered chicken plus wings
2 tbsp red pepper jelly (or sub bbq sauce, or teriyaki sauce)

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