Time for Barbecuing and Brine for Turkey and Pernil (Ham)


En Español

It time to reunite with the family and prepare delicious barbecue dishes. The fourth of July is usually a day that is associated with fireworks, barbecues, picnics, and family reunions, so this post is dedicated to Our Independence Day and all other upcoming hot summer days when we prefer cooking dishes that are light and easy to prepare. I have taken a slight vacation from cooking inside and have been cooking almost every on my outdoor grill. So far I have prepared roast chicken, hot dogs, beef and chicken kabobs (my favorite), pork chops, burgers (another favorite), fish and ribs. I have also toasted cassava on the grill, a trick I learn from a street kabob vender in Santiago, Dom. Rep., and also ripe yellow plantains; They make a perfect and delicious side dish to the meats!


Today I will not give a specific recipe since cooking on the grill is easy; everything is a matter of trying different marinades and of course not burning the meat! I will share some tips that have helped me make great tasting grilled meats. I believe that these last three weeks have been of great opportunity to improve my grilling techniques and my roasts begin to taste better than my husband’s, "The King of the BBQ" at home.



Shish Kabobs
Kabobs are the easiest to make, and require very little amount of time to cook, approximately 12 - 15 minutes, just like the chicken breasts and fish. You can vary them by use different vegetables, meat cuts and marinades. You should cut everything you’ll put on the skewers the same size to cook meat and veggies uniformly. I marinate the meat cut into 1 inch cubes the night before with Dominican Sazón (seasoning)Note: Dominican sazón uses lots of natural ingredients, but it is NOT a hot (picante) seasoning. The next day only I have to assemble the kabobs and grill. Cook on a clean and oiled grill so that the kabobs don't stick. Brush with the BBQ sauce at the end just before removing from grill (optional).


• Brine
Want your ribs, chicken and chops to be tender, moist and flavorful? Then brining is the answer. I leave the meat in brine the night before. If you don't have all this time you can do it for at least one hour before cooking. This may also be done with Turkey and ham (pernil) on Thanksgiving and Christmas before baking in the traditional oven. Your chicken be crispy on the outside and moist on the inside.


Chicken in brine


Ham (pernil) in brine

How Long To Brine:

The more you leave meats in brine, the saltier it will be. You do not need to worry that much with the following recipe because I do not use so much salt like other brine recipes. When brining, you must place the meat in the refrigerator until ready to cook.

A whole chicken (4 pounds) 4-12 hours
Chicken pieces 1- 2 hours
Whole turkey 1-2 days
Ham (pernil) 1-2 days
Turkey breast 5-8 hours
Pork chops or Ribs 8-12 hours


• Are you in a hurry?
A way to prepare grilled chicken quickly is by steaming in a pressure cooker for 15 minutes or in a regular put for 30 minutes. Then all you have to do is place in the grill to brown and finish cooking.


Mari’s Brine

Want your ribs, chicken and chops to be tender, moist and flavorful? Then brining is the answer. I leave the meat in brine the night before. This may also be done with Turkey and ham (pernil) on Thanksgiving and Christmas before baking in the traditional oven. Your chicken will be crispy on the outside and moist on the inside.

Ingredients:
8-10 cups water enough to cover the meat
¼ cup salt  or ½ cup Kosher Salt
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon black pepper
5 cloves garlic (crushed)
3 teaspoons oregano
3 Tablespoons honey or maple syrup
2 teaspoons mustard
½ cup sour orange or vinegar Herb of your choice (e.g., thyme, Rosemary, coriander etc.)

Instructions:
1. In a small pot mix salt, sugar and honey and heat until dissolved.
2. Mix the water with salt with the other ingredients in a large bowl.
3. Submerge the chicken (or any meat you prefer) in water; cover and refrigerate until cooking time.4. Remove the meat from brine, drain and get rid of the salt water.
5. Bake or barbecue the meat as usual taking into consideration that brined meats cook faster.

Note: If you use more water you’ll need to add more salt.


Yield: For 3-5 lbs of poultry or meat of your choice.





Chicken Kabobs with Arroz Frió (cold rice), corn and roasted ripe plantain)





Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. - Luke 6:38

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