Two Men, Two Pits and a Blog

Seasoned With Hunger: Mesquite Grilled Chicken Breasts

I love to loiter, it’s true. On my patio, next to the faithful Weber kettle, smoke curling serenely from its old damper. It soothes me. Leaning back in the grilling chair, with a manly chicken3beverage in hand, what a pleasure it is to watch the world gently spin there, circling about thee. Oh I could do other, more productive things I suppose, but I don’t want to. Not today. Right now as the Spruce rise blackened against a pale western sky, with this beautiful bed of coals residing pit-side, well, this is all that I need. This and a few moments more patron to the pit. Moments where the Canadian geese engage in their dutiful and seemingly daily fly by, with those large, magnificent wings slicing through the cool, autumn air. And then there is the poetic turn of foliage, of once green and hardy leaves, now tinted with orange and yellow and red. Now fluttering to the earth in a showy submission to the likes of gravity and sweet time.

I fasten another button on my smoking jacket, and turn up the collar as I poke at the coals in the fading light. I find myself lingering there, staring into the fire. Loitering. Absorbing the ambiance of waning daylight, and relative warmth, and the sight still of green grass. For we northern patrons of the pit, we are quietly keen to the slow-ebbing path of the sun. We know it’s plotted course, its time to shine and when it goes dark. We are acquainted indeed with the diurnal rhythms at hand. And we see it coming now, just around the cosmic bend. The day we will be grilling supper in the dark again. The day we usher our BBQ pits over to the dark side of the moon. A campaign that up in these parts can last almost half a year. Say what you will, but this is why I loiter now. This is why I tarry in the tapered light.

On the pit tonight, mesquite smoked chicken breasts. It’s easy to do, and oh so very tasty. Join us won’t you, and we’ll tell you more about it, and how it came to be.

chicken2

Simple. That was the motto tonight. I didn’t want anything too complex you see, that it would interfere with my prospect of loitering. So what we did was take two portly chicken breasts, with the bone-in of course, and oiled them up a tad to promote a more crispy skin come the end game. You’ll never regret choosing bone-in meat, people, if you have the choice that is. There is a wonderful and undeniable flavor with meat on the bone, courtesy to the marrows and other things residing with that perfect marriage in protein. Yum! It’s how man was always meant to ingest meat! On the bone, with juices running down your fore arm. Anyways, the seasoning also was pert near as simple as it gets – a sprinkle of garlic salt, and an equal dash of onion salt. Many a time I have enjoyed this simple combo with more enthusiasm than some elaborate spice rub I have concocted in the kitchen laboratory. As one of our heroes, the late, great Dick Proenneke said, “I eat simple food seasoned with hunger“. And that’s about how we rolled tonight. Simple. And hungry.orange coals

Thus atop a beautiful bed of orange-glowing coals, we tossed on one small chunk of mesquite wood, no bigger than a golf ball, to christen this meat benefactor of the smokey realm. We laid the breasts carefully over direct heat, intensely searing them there, this to get the skin good and crispy, and maybe a little charred. Flipping the meat at your pit master instincts, give the other side some time over the direct heat too. It only takes a minute or two if your fire is good and hot. Once the skin was crisp and tight, we escorted the chicken back to the cooler side of the pit, indirect as they say, opposite the hot coals. This then is where we put the lid on, top damper over the meat, where the draft catches and the wood smoke began to curl.

Glory, but these are moments a pit jockey craves, aside his faithful cooker, aromas of meaty plunder dancing in the air, mingled in mesquite. For a moment at least, and maybe even longer than that, we are exactly where we wish to be, doing precisely that which is well with our soul. And may the clouds idle by then, and the sun hold still in a gorgeous sky, it’s warm rays cast upon our shoulders, and through the dappled leaves. The simple pleasures, people, and good times patron to the pit. So when you see your favorite pit boy loitering by a good bed of coals, remember there is probably more going on there than just meat and flame. There is joy also. And this is usually the case. Amen.

chicken

Mesquite grilled chicken breasts with a crispy skin, sided with hot buttered corn, dashed in pepper, and touched in salt. Simple food seasoned with hunger. Man!

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21 responses

  1. Love the simple seasoning! I’ve gotten to where I keep it simple instead of the complicated or busy rubs and seasons – and I’ve really enjoyed it!

    October 9, 2014 at 8:56 am

    • I know it. The person who coined the phrase, “less is more” probably was on to something. I’ve found it to be the case time and again. And not just with cooking!

      Thanks Kate, appreciate your input!
      -PotP

      October 9, 2014 at 9:22 am

  2. I think I may have to send the husband out back tonight to make supper…

    October 9, 2014 at 9:23 am

  3. Do you deliver to Spain? You had me at mesquite chicken and corn…

    October 9, 2014 at 12:15 pm

  4. I am with you on the simple seasoning. We did smoked turkey thighs two days ago and pretty much just relied on the hickory smoke for flavoring. They were great! Stay warm my friend.

    October 9, 2014 at 8:51 pm

    • Can’t beat that! Happy belated birthday to Mary, by the way. Good times !

      October 9, 2014 at 10:16 pm

  5. Ahh such a delicasy, chargrilled chicken is a personal favourite! Thank you for sharing this

    October 10, 2014 at 7:28 am

  6. Hunger makes the best sauce. Add that to a little pit side day dreaming and you’ve found one of my favorite ways to spend a day.

    October 10, 2014 at 11:50 am

  7. Liz

    grilled chicken sounds really good right about now. And if this weather holds, I wouldn’t even need a smoking jacket! Well done, as always, Masters of the Pit.

    October 15, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    • It’s beautiful out, right now! I could handle a few more weeks of this!

      Thanks Liz!

      October 15, 2014 at 3:08 pm

  8. friendsofthedredge

    looks awesome….you know, we are looking for someone who could grill our hot dogs and hamburgers for the bbq! 🙂

    October 16, 2014 at 11:20 am

    • Well our catering rates are pretty high, like we want a free hot dog out of it, and possibly a cold drink.

      Thanks for the comment!

      October 16, 2014 at 2:47 pm

      • friendsofthedredge

        sounds like a pretty good deal to me! 🙂

        October 17, 2014 at 10:02 am

  9. Pingback: Seasoned With Hunger: Mesquite Grilled Chicken Breasts - Best 2 Buy Outdoor

  10. I love your writing style.

    November 2, 2014 at 1:22 pm

  11. deliciouscityliving

    Reading about this is making my mouth water!

    November 11, 2014 at 2:40 pm

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