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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Grilled Pineapple Chicken

Recently on the BBQ Brethren, a fellow member mentioned Homade Chili Sauce as a great ingredient for complementing smoke flavors.  This sauce has been a go to ingredient for many quick recipes I have made over the years, everything from shrimp dip and grilled oysters to a really good base for chili dog chili.  In this case, I decided it would make a great base for Grilled Pineapple Chicken, a riff on Sweet and Sour Chicken.

I made a rub using Furikaki as a base ingredient.  Furikaki is a blend of sesame, nori, soy powder, bonito flakes and salt, a whack of umami in a bottle with no MSG.  I then added 5-Spice, cracked black pepper and lime powder. Here is what the blend looked like.
After giving the ingredients a quick whirl in the spice blender to incorporate them, I took the chicken and gave it a slather of garlic and canola oil. The oil is primarily to help create a slurry from the crushed garlic.  I then rubbed the spice mix onto the chicken and let it sit for an hour under a fan. The idea being to increase adhesion once the meat goes on the cooker.
I fired the kettle up to 400F and added a chunk of peach wood to the mix. Once temperatures were stabilized, the chicken was put on offset from the heat.  After 45 minutes, some slices of pineapple and red bell pepper were added to the grate.  These were allowed to char up a bit and then all was removed.

Meanwhile, I sauteed up 1/4 cup each of finely diced onion, celery and 2 tablespoons of sugar, added some water chestnut and the Homade Chili Sauce straight from the jar along with 1/2 cup of pineapple juice, 2 tablespoons of shoyu and 1/4 cup rice vinegar.  This was allowed to reduce and cook down the aromatics.  I added the pineapple and bell peppers to the sauce mix.  The chicken was sliced and draped in the sauce.
The overall taste and texture was exactly the sweet and sour taste I was looking for, not the over-the-top version common in most Chinese restaurants, but, a complex mix of flavors accented with the smoke and spice from the chicken.  If I were to improve anything, I believe I would add more shoyu (soy sauce) to the sauce, improve the overall savory quality and balance the sugar a little more.


  1. Where do you get that Homade sauce? I saw it in John's comment on the forum and googled it to find a page of recipes using the sauce. Is it just a West coast thing?

  2. I don't know, I get it at the grocery store, it has been around here since I was a kid at least. I think John is in Idaho, so it must be common at least to the Rockies, which doesn't help you I suppose.

  3. Ok, I had to Google umami and now I'm more confused than ever. Is that an actual spice mix of some sort?

  4. Nope, umami is not so much a spice mix as a savory element that serves to tie other flavors together. You can't really taste it alone, it's effect is that of 'bridging' flavors which enhances you ability to taste the flavors.