Family Camping and the Secret of the Grilled Cajun Chicken

The end of summer is close and for my family it’s time to head north for our last camping trip before the rain season starts. Two days of relaxing, swimming, hiking and of course barbecuing. This year’s highlight is Aunt Kelsey’s famous Grilled Cajun Chicken. We hope that she will share her secret recipe this year with us.

The last weekend of September is the favorite weekend of our family. It’s the one weekend where our whole family gets together – all aunties, uncles, cousins who live in BC. Everyone is heading to Penticton to spend the weekend together before summer ends.

On Friday evening, my wife Wendy and I pack the car with everything we need for a weekend of camping. Tents, cloth, rubber boat, cooling box, food, and of course our family grill “The Beast”. We prepared some homemade food to bring to the family camping. While Aunt Kelsey and Uncle Jack are responsible for the meat this year, we are in charge of the salads. Our newest creation is a “Grilled Corn, Black Bean and Peach Salad”, sounds really refreshing right? This is the recipe, it’s the best if you serve this salad with grilled salmon, chicken, pork or beef steaks, or even with burgers.

Grilled Corn, Black Bean and Peach Salad

IngredientsGrilled Corn and Black Bean Salad 300x300

 

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 3 to 4 ears fresh corn, shucked, or 2 large cans corn kernels, drained and rinsed
  • 1 large can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 or more fresh freestone peaches, diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • Salt and black pepper

In a stainless steel bowl, whisk together the olive oil, cider vinegar and lime juice.

If you are using fresh corn, prepare your grill for direct grilling, medium-high heat. Place the corn on the grill, turning the cobs every few minutes, for 10 to 20 minutes, or until the kernels have colour and have started to separate from each other (an easy sign that the corn is cooked). Remove the corn from the grill and allow the cobs to cool. Cut the kernels from the cobs.

In a salad bowl, toss the corn, black beans, peaches, onions, bell peppers and cilantro. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix thoroughly. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve family-style.

We arrive in Penticton on Friday night. After building up all the tents and organizing our stuff, we are ready for our first family BBQ. Everyone brought their home-made food – but this year’s highlight is definitely Aunt Kelsey’s famous grilled Cajun Chicken. She brought it to our family camping weekend last year for the first time and everyone was craving for it for the last 12 months. She kept the recipe as a secret but it’s our mission for this weekend to uncover the secret.

On Saturday, it’s time for some fun and after a short discussion the group is separated into two – the ones who go swimming at the lake and the ones who hike up to Joffre Lake. For dinner, everyone will be back at the camp side.
In the evening, it’s time for Uncle Jack, he is the master of grilling ribs. No one can grill the ribs as tender as him. After a day full of adventure everyone is starving and the ribs are immediately gone. This year Uncle Jack is showing the kids how to grill great ribs – the family tradition should be passed over to the younger ones. Please get ready, this is how you do it:

How to Grill Great Ribs

Choose a rack of ribs you like, follow the three steps below and make something fantastic for your guests with some tremendous flavour!

Ribs are great to cook on the grill. However to get tender ribs, there are a few steps to cooking them WITHOUT BOILING the ribs.

Start by removing the membrane on the back of the ribs. Lift an edge of the tough film and then use a paper towel to help you grab the membrane. If you have a good grip of it, you can pull the whole thing off in one pull.  Smear Slow Smoke Gold mustard sauce all over the ribs and then coat both the back and the front generously with House Rub. Let the ribs sit at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes so the rub can start to draw moisture from the meat and stick to the ribs. If you move the ribs too soon, all of the rub will fall off.

Prepare your grill for indirect cooking, medium heat. Place the ribs on the OFF or cool side and add smoke chips such as apple, cherry or hickory to the HOT side inside a foil packet or inside a store bought smoke box. Close the lid and smoke the ribs for about 90 minutes to 2 hours for the first step. This step will give the meat a lot of flavour and set the rub on the meat.  They should look “crusty”, not soft and mushy.

Prepare a sheet of foil with some maple syrup drizzled on it – the same width as the rack of ribs. Curl up the corners of the foil and add a bit of apple juice being careful it doesn’t run out of the foil. Take a rack of ribs from the grill and place meat-side down on the maple syrup. Loosely wrap the foil and return to the grill again, on the indirect side for another 45 minutes to one hour. This step will make the meat soft and tender.

Open the foil pouches and being very careful of the steam and hot liquids inside, remove the ribs and place back on the indirect side of the grill. Brush with Apple Butter BBQ Sauce and close the lid. This step allows the sauce to set on the ribs and to tighten up some of the meat fibres so the racks don’t fall apart. This glazing step should only take 15 to 40 minutes.

Remove the racks from the grill and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Cut between the bones for each portion and serve.

Our salad is a full success as well and Wendy and I are happy that everyone liked our newest creation. Let’s see what we can create next year!

Sunday is our last day in Penticton and everyone is enjoying the last hours together. Remember that there is one more thing we have to reveal? Yes, we have to uncover Aunt Kelsey’s secret recipe. After hours and hours of bugging her, she finally agreed to reveal it. One of her secrets is the “House of Q Rock’n’Red BBQ Sauce”. Get your pen ready, this is the recipe for it:

Grilled Cajun Chicken

One way to get flavor INSIDE meat is by brining or using a syringe to inject a marinade inside the meat.  This recipe takes classic cajun flavor and makes chicken just simply darn-right tasty!

Cajun Injection Grilled Cajun Chicken

  • 2 TB         Salt – sea or kosher
  • 2 TS         Garlic powder
  • 2 TS         White pepper
  • 2 TS         Cayenne pepper
  • 2 TS         Onion powder
  • 1 Cup       Butter – melted

Melt the butter in a sauce pan. Let cool to room temperature and add the seasonings and spices.  Mix well.

Cajun Injected Chicken

  • 2-3 lbs         Mixed chicken pieces
  • 4 TB            House Rub or your favorite bbq rub
  • 2 ts              Ground thyme
  • 1 ts               White pepper
  • 4-6 TB         House of Q Rock’n Red BBQ Sauce

Rinse and pat dry the chicken pieces.  Prepare the injection as noted above and prepare your syringe. Fill the syringe with the marinade and insert into the meat.  Start to press the liquid into the chicken WHILE pulling the syringe out of the meat.  For larger pieces, move the syringe over about an inch and repeat the process.

In a clean bowl mix the seasoning together and sprinkle all over the chicken pieces.

Prepare your grill or smoker for indirect medium heat. Smoke or roast the chicken until the internal temperature reaches 140 F or so…  then brush with the BBQ sauce.  The chicken is cooked when breast meat reaches 165 F and the thighs (or dark meat) reaches 175 F.  Let rest for 10 minutes before serving with your favorite side dishes.

It has been a great weekend in Penticton and on Sunday night everybody is heading home with a smile and a full stomach. Now it’s time to get ready for fall season! Wendy and I are already thinking about some great, new recipes for the grill.

About Grilling Jeff

Our family of Jeff, Wendy, Payton and Dryden is fictitious in nature even though we’ve met people who are really like them. They’ve bought House of Q products at home shows, and never looked back. Jeff’s always been passionate about all things barbecue, and loves to host parties. He buys local and insists on a choice of high quality meat. Wendy and Jeff use House of Q sauces and rubs on pretty much everything – chicken, beef, pork, ribs and grill-able vegetables – to make it sometimes spicy and sometimes sweet. It all depends on the mood. Their kids are very happy with Jeff’s grilling; Jeff will be sharing many recipes with you, so you can come on out and grill like a champion in your own backyard in the barbecue season.

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