Spice-Rubbed Picnic Chicken and Easter Egg Peeling Tip

April 9, 2012

I promised that I’d post the picnic chicken that I took to the Natural History Museum. I have been making a barbecued version of this recipe for a few years (see here), but this is the first time I’ve baked it according to Chris Kimball’s original recipe. The results are delicious and the heavy spice rub is powerful enough so that I don’t miss the smokiness lost by skipping the grill. There are two main drawbacks to using your oven, (1) baking anything at 500-degrees will mean a smokey kitchen (instead of smokey chicken), and (2) clean-up was slightly more work as I had to soak my wire rack overnight before I could fully clean it. Still the chicken is 4-stars, both on the grill and in the oven. The chicken is delicious served either hot or cold.

Flavor-filled chicken still just as tasty when eaten cold

Also for everyone with a few dozen hard-boiled Easter eggs, I wanted to remind everyone of the best way to peel a sticky egg shell.  Two years ago I tested a three different methods, and it turned out that Chris Kimball’s method was the clear winner. “Tap the egg all over against the counter surface, then roll it gently back and forth a few times on the counter.” Then, “Begin peeling from the air pocket end.” I’d also add peeling under luke-warm tap so that water can help separate the membrane from the egg. The temperature of the water is unimportant, except for your personal comfort.

Rating: 4-stars.
Cost: $5 for 3-1/2 pounds of chicken.
How much work? Low.
How big of a mess?  Low.
Start time 5:00 PM. Ready at 5:50 PM.

Chris Kimball’s original recipe is here. My descriptions of how I prepare it are given below:

3-1/2 to 5 pounds bone-in chicken
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  1. Make 2 or 3 slashes in the skin of every chicken piece, but be careful not to cut into the meat.
  2. Mix together brown sugar, kosher salt, and other spices in small bowl.
  3. Remove ribs from chicken breasts and cut breasts in half for even cooking. Trim away any excess fat or skin.
  4. Coat the chicken pieces with spice mixture, lifting the chicken skin in order to rub the spices underneath. Use 2 or 3 toothpicks to secure the skin.
  5. Put chicken with skin-side-up on a wire rack over a foil-lined baking sheet. Tent loosely with foil, and refrigerate for between 6 to 24 hours to allow the spices to permeate into the meat.
  6. Set an oven rack to the middle of your oven and pre-heat to 425-degrees. Bake for 20 minutes until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the chicken reads 140-degrees.
  7. Increase oven temperature up to 500-degrees, and continue baking for 7 more minutes until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the chicken reads 165-degrees for white meat, and 175-degrees for dark meat.
  8. Allow to cool completely before wrapping and refrigerating.

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