If you want to try some exotic new flavors on the grill this summer, you will enjoy this recipe. The secret is in the sauce. At risk of sounding like a food writer for the Ladies Home Journal in the 1950’s, the sauce can best be described as zingy and zesty, packed with intense Asian flavors. It’s got a nice little burn going on from the gochujang sauce, but it’s an easy recipe that starts with prepared barbeque sauce as a base. My husband loved this recipe, and since he’s the grill master at our house, nothing goes on the fire that doesn’t meet with his approval.
You can find the recipe on myrecipes.com, with a helpful little video.
1 cup of bottled original-style barbeque sauce
1 tablespoon gochujang ( you should not have any trouble finding it. It’s the new catsup.)
1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger (confession: I used the Spice World ginger purée in the squeeze bottle. I’m sure fresh ginger would be even better. I found the ginger taste a little overpowering, so next time I make it, I will probably dial it back to ½ teaspoon to start, if I’m using the ginger purée.)
6 ounces shishito peppers ( good luck finding them in a pandemic)
6 twelve inch skewers
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 whole chicken, approximately 3 ½ pounds
1 bunch of scallions, trimmed
Lime wedges, cilantro, pickled ginger to garnish
Combine all ingredients through the grated ginger in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Splatchcock the chicken. Cut the backbone out of the chicken, open it like a book, and give it a good, sound “thwack” in the middle to flatten it as much as possible. Splatchcocking allows the chicken to cook quickly and evenly. It’s a skill worth mastering.
Secure the chicken with skewers to make it easier to turn on the grill. If you don’t, the chicken will flop around, defying your best efforts to subdue it. Rub the chicken with 1 tablespoon of oil and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon Kosher salt. Grill, skin side up, covered, for 10 minutes. Turn the chicken, and continue to grill until a meat thermometer registers 160 degrees. Brush the skin side of the chicken with 1/3 cup of the sauce. Grill skin side down, uncovered, until slightly charred, about 2 minutes. Remove from the grill and allow it to rest for 10 minutes
The recipe recommends grilling shishito peppers on skewers for 4 minutes after you take the chicken off the grill. I shopped for this recipe using instacart, and my shopper was unable to find said shishito peppers. I requested a bag of mini bell peppers instead. These were red and yellow and very cute. I cut them lengthwise, cleaned out the seeds, etc. and grilled these instead. They were delicious. After two minutes, we laid the trimmed scallions right on the grill and cooked the veggies for an additional 2 minutes.
The chicken was juicy and succulent with its yummy barbeque sauce coating, and the flavors perfectly complimented the peppers and scallions. When life as we once knew it returns, I may be willing to scour every Asian market in town in search of shishito peppers, but that day has yet to come. One does what one must in these trying times. If that means I have to sacrifices shishitos, so be it.
Garnish with cilantro, pickled ginger and a squeeze of lime. I didn’t have any of these ingredients on hand, but it was still delectable. I did drizzle the chicken with a little extra sauce. So yummy! I’ll get the garnishes next time if my instacart shopper has better luck.