Nothing brings a summer day better to a close than a BBQ with family and friends. Some meat on the grill, a salad, potatoes, a cool drink and you’re having a perfect summer night. We all have our favorites for the grill but when was the last time you tried a new recipe? My wife Wendy and I came up with an amazing recipe that includes chicken, bacon and Apple Butter BBQ Sauce and we would love to share it with you.
It’s a hot day in September – the sun is shining, the asphalts are glowing and the people are moving like lazy flies. The heat slows down the city, everyone is on vacation mode. The forecast is predicting 39 degrees for the upcoming week.
I’m sitting in my office, the AC on my desk is on full volume, my pants stick to the chair. I’m starring at the watch, I can’t wait until it is 5pm and I can leave the office!! Like everyone else in Canada, I love to do one thing in summer: having a barbecue with my family and friends!!
Summer time means BBQ time in Canada. After months of rain and snow, my wife Wendy, our kids and I cannot wait to grab our barbecue, give it a decent clean-up and start the grilling season. We have our own little grill and we call him “The Beast”, he is like a family member, especially in summer. All our friends call him “The Beast”, he has quite a reputation. Anyone else gave his grill a name?!?
Tonight, we are going to meet our friends Robert and Sally and their three kids in a park nearby for a BBQ. We all know that having a barbecue comes with some preparation – the grill, food, drinks, glasses, forks, knives, beach chairs… you name it. But the most important is the food and we love to prepare our own home-made food – a salad, meat, grill-able vegetables. It should be a good mixture of everything, right?!
Sometimes when it is as hot as it is right now, Wendy is craving for something light and fresh. Therefore, one of her favorite dishes to bring to a BBQ is a simple grilled Kale and Fennel Salad with one of our favorite House of Q sauces – the Slow Smoke Gold. I promise you, it won’t take you long to prepare it and it is delicious!
Grilled Kale and Fennel Salad
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 TB maple syrup
- 1 TB Slow Smoke Gold BBQ Sauce (or your favorite mustard)
- 1-2 bunch kale – rinsed
- 1 bulb fennel – sliced
- 1 bell pepper – red – halved
- Olive oil
- 1-2 TB Peppered Bovine Premium Seasoning (or simply salt and pepper)
- 2-4 TB Pumpkin or sunflower seeds or toasted almonds (optional) (another idea is dried fruits like cranberries)
In a bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Refrigerate the dressing in an airtight container until needed. In a large salad bowl, toss the kale and fennel with olive oil and the Peppered Bovine seasoning.
Preheat your grill to medium heat and grill the fennel and peppers until it is tender. Start grilling the kale until it has taken on some color and some parts have become limp meanwhile other areas crisp. Cut the vegetables into bite size pieces and toss in a bowl to blend. Add the vinaigrette and toss once again. Serve family style.
A nice addition or garnish for this salad is pumpkin or sunflower seeds.
A BBQ would not be the same without a proper meat dish, something that matches with a fresh summer salad such as the Kale and Fennel Salad. What is your favorite meat for a BBQ? Beef, pork, chicken, sausages, bacon? Our kids love chicken and bacon and I realized that those two taste delicious together. I only had one problem: The bacon always fell off the chicken and into the grill. After another five stripes fell into the grill, my friend Robert came up with the best solution: Using toothpicks to hold the bacon in place. Well, I could have come up with that idea myself!
Wendy loves to combine the bacon wrapped chicken legs with the Apple Butter BBQ sauce, it adds a special, tasty note to the meat. This is our all-time favorite recipe:
Bacon Wrapped Chicken Legs
- 6-10 Chicken legs (drumsticks)
- 1 L Apple Juice
- 2 TB Salt
- 3 Jalapeno’s – 2 sliced, 1 diced
- 6-10 Bacon strips – thin
- 3-4 TB House of Q House Rub
- 1 cup House of Q Apple Butter BBQ Sauce
To start, dissolve the salt in the apple juice and add the sliced jalapenos. Immerse the chicken legs in the brine and put in the fridge for a couple of hours.
Once brined, trim each drumstick so they will stand on the cut end. Wrap a slice of bacon around the chicken leg and if needed, use a toothpick to skewer the bacon onto the leg. Coat all sides with House Rub.
Prepare your grill for indirect cooking over medium heat and add a smoke pack if you would like extra flavor. Place the chicken on the “off” side and close the lid. Grill roast until the legs reach about 140-150 F internal temperature (somewhere around 30-40 minutes). Make sure the bacon has rendered onto the leg…that’s the clue! It will look dry, somewhat crusty and the bacon rendering onto the chicken.
Put the Apple Butter BBQ Sauce and the diced jalapenos into a pot and warm. Take each chicken leg and dip into the sauce then place back on the grill. Close the lid and cook until the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 170 F. Remember to check if the bacon is crisped up too! Enjoy!
Okay, now we have a fresh salad and some delicious bacon wrapped chicken legs. I think we are ready for our BBQ tonight, right?! We cannot wait to see what Robert and Sally brought to today’s BBQ, they always join us with delicious dishes. Maybe we can share some of their recipes with you next time!
Let us know how you liked the recipes and our BBQ sauces. We would love to hear your favorite summer BBQ dishes.
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.