Grilling Fundamentals: Cooking Chicken Over Live Fire | Zakary Pelaccio | Skillshare

Grilling Fundamentals: Cooking Chicken Over Live Fire

Zakary Pelaccio, Chef/Owner, Fish & Game Restaurant

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11 Lessons (54m)
    • 1. Introduction

      1:08
    • 2. Building Your Fire

      8:50
    • 3. Prepping Your Chicken

      9:52
    • 4. Spatchcocking

      4:02
    • 5. Seasoning

      4:15
    • 6. Grilling Your Chicken

      9:11
    • 7. Prepping Your Veggies

      3:50
    • 8. Grilling Your Veggies

      3:24
    • 9. Assembling Your Salad

      3:35
    • 10. Finishing Touches

      5:39
    • 11. Hungry for More?

      0:25
13 students are watching this class

About This Class

Learn the secrets of cooking over live fire! Join Zakary Pelaccio — 2016 James Beard Winner for "Best Chef in the Northeast" — to master fire, cook chicken, and plate a delicious meal for your next gathering.

This 50-minute class is a visual stunner that's packed with insights for every culinary level. Even if you're already cooking chicken on a regular basis, you'll learn some new ways to make the most of this humble meat, plus ways of bringing the great outdoors into your current cooking skills.

Key lessons cover:

  • Building your fire 
  • Separating your chicken 
  • Seasoning your chicken for the grill 
  • Timings and techniques for grilling your chicken 
  • Preparing a flame-kissed veggie salad on the side 

Plus, for those who want to go out and actually build a fire, you’ll learn best practices for which types of wood are best and other cooking safety tips. 

You’ll walk away from this class with the confidence you need to tackle a whole bird over the grill, and hopefully light a spark of your own to go out and cook! 

Still hungry? Find more popular food and beverage classes here

Transcripts

1. Introduction: I'm Zachary Bellagio and today I'm going to play with fire. Today we're cooking at my house in my yard. We're going to cook with live fire that is a wood fire grill. We're going to learn to cook chicken and a variety of vegetables over a wood fire grill. I love cooking with wood fire. My interest is to teach you how to get more from your grill, whether you're using charcoal or whether you're wood to it to actually learn how to listen to the fire, the nuances of cooking with fire from starting it, to maintaining it, to actually cooking the protein and the vegetables. One of the most interesting things we will be cooking today is probably what many people consider when the most pedestrian proteins which is chicken but what's interesting to me that chicken is that it is one of the harder, common proteins to cook. It's rare that you get a chicken that's cooked well, that is where the breast is moist and tender and the legs have a nice char on the skin but they're not overcooked as well. So, without further ado let's light the fire. 2. Building Your Fire: So the first thing you need to think about when you're going to cook with fire is your fuel. The most common fuels for live fire are charcoal and wood. Often, we like to start our fires at the restaurant with charcoal, because it catches easier and we don't bring in kindling to the restaurant. So, we light the charcoal, we let that heat up and get nice and hot then we put the wood on top of it. As far as wood goes, when you think about wood you want to make sure that you have dry wood. Working with wet wood is just simply a pain in the ass. It takes a long time to catch, it smokes, it doesn't burn hot, you're adding more and more wood to try and build a bigger fire and it's just sort of smoldering and never really gets to a point where you're happy with it. It just takes longer, becomes more of a chore than it should and it should be a joy. So, find a dry place if you don't have a covered area put a tarp around your wood, or cook with charcoal. The one wood you don't want to cook with is pine or anything that's really resonance, the resonal cook off and create a black smoke and really give an acra taste to your food, and if you're cooking inside and you have happened to have a wood burning on there or something like that old gum up your flu, open your ventilation pretty quickly. Since I do live pretty much out in the woods far from your local corner bodega or anything like that, I order a lot of things online and since I ordered a lot of things online they come in boxes and packages with packing material so I save then I use that to start my fires. Simple easy way to do it it's something we all have so, just like on a weber grill you have the grate on the bottom that elevates your charcoal or your wood, you have dampers underneath just as I have a damper on the column stand for this hemisphere. So, open up the dampers and it will allow maximum airflow, and put some paper underneath, this is a standard chimney that you can find in any hardware store for your charcoal. I use it because it holds the charcoal together and it makes for easier lighting. If you'd like to use a little lighter fluid go ahead and use lighter fluid, just makes sure that you've burned it off completely before you start cooking food. In lighter fluid it certainly can be helpful if you only have wet wood or wet fuel, but today we have a beautiful day and relatively dry air and this paper was inside so it should be dry. Once you know the charcoal is lit you're just going to have to stand here and wait, that's part of the deal too, is that cooking with fire requires a little bit of patience, it's not something that's immediate, it's not a gas grill you turn it on and wait about 10 minutes for the grill to heat up and you can just go cook away. You need a good, especially cooking with wood, you need at least 45 minutes to let your would come to temp. We've started our fire our charcoal is getting red hot we're about to dump it out, so to reiterate some of the points that we've discussed so far is first of all be patient, don't dump the charcoal prematurely wait till it's hot, that way you'll really ensure that your wood will catch. If you damp it too soon, your charcoal may not be hot and it may go out and you'll have to go through the whole process again, so be patient make sure your fire is hot. The second one is you have to be willing to be adaptable, you have to adapt to the situation whenever it is whether you have wet wood, whether you have dense wood, particularly large chunks of wood, small pieces of wood, whether the wind is really high that day, maybe the air is moist they're all different factors that come into play when cooking with wood in live fuel and you're never sure exactly what you're going to get unless you're cutting it down yourself. So you have to adapt to your situation. One thing that's important when you think about how do I avoid panicking if something really crazy or unpredictable happens is, try to be as prepared as possible, know your surroundings, know the dry spots, know space, know it's like, if you had to in an emergency and I can't think of one off the top of my head. But if you had to damp your grill run, have a landing pad, have a spot for both flare-ups when your ingredient may start burning and you need to move your ingredient off the grill, or if something is happening with the fire itself and you need to dump some of the hot charcoal or hot wood out of your grill. Know your surroundings and know before your fire gets hot what you're going to do in the event of an emergency so you don't panic, so you know where things are going to go. So we're going to go ahead and damp the charcoal. Use a towel or a hot pad of some sort this handle does get hot. Red hot, so what we've seen is that this wood that I was drying out or just queuing up for the fire here has already started to catch. So, it's obviously ready. Coal is very hot, so I'm just going to lay some wood across here, one on top of the other creating areas or pockets of air flow as we build a fire. This is a boy scout 101. As I am laying our logs on top of that hot charcoal you can see they're already catching fire breathes, it requires oxygen to grow, so, you don't want to throw logs stacked on top of each other without allowing for any airflow or else it's just going to be harder for those logs catching fire, the fire won't get as hot, it won't move as quickly and the idea is you want your fire to move quickly throughout all the logs you throw onto your pile so that you can get them going, and we can create a nice pile of hot embers. We'll talk about bringing the fire down to embers in a second. Now I'm going to continue to build this, some people are real purists and they do not use lighter fluid at all, and they feel like it has some negative connotation it's like everything's got to be this some sort of wholesome organic firewood and people have gotten out of control with the trends that they follow and sort of a misplace understanding of those types of things in general as it relates to food in general. Lighter fluid helps especially if you don't have charcoal and you don't have kindling and you just have wood use some lighter fluid it's going to make your life easier. Use some paper and lighter fluid. The lighter fluid burns off, it burns off pretty quickly and so people have this misconception if you use lighter fluid then it's going to make your food tastes weird. Well yes that's true if your food is on the grill and you're squirting lighter fluid on the fire underneath your food, sure it's going to make your food taste different. You're going to get some of that burn off. But if I put lighter fluid on right now it's not going to make any different it's going to burn right off, you want to see what would happen? I mean just because it's fun. See it helps, right? I mean that'll burn off in a matter of seconds, if you're going to use lighter fluid as a tool, we didn't really need it we're just showing how it can obviously quickly increase the size of your flame, which is pretty groovy and it's fun to look at and it's a good party trick. The idea of using lighter fluid as a useful tool it's at the beginning of making your fire and you should saturate the wood with it, let it soak into the wood a little bit before you light it so it actually helps the wood catch fire. But like I said it will burn off if the difference is maybe between 10 to 15 seconds and a minute if you let it soak into the wood. Unless you are not grilling correctly you're not going to cook your food a minute after the logs lights on fire. So right now this fire is going strong and I want these flames to simmer down a bit and the first round of wood that is, to cook down into some nice embers. So while that's burning off and heating up our grill in preparation for cleaning, we're going to butcher our chicken and prepare it to go on the grill. 3. Prepping Your Chicken: There are two ways I like to grill chicken. One is called spatchcocking where you just cut the back out and you open it up and you cook the whole chicken without its back. That is a great way, it is a fun way to cook chicken but sometimes the result is the breasts gets a little overcooked by the time the legs and thighs are ready. So, for today's lesson and in order to talk about different temperatures and moving different pieces of protein or about around the grill to areas of higher temperature and lower temperature, we are going to take the chicken into multiple parts. So, I am going to cut off this little bit of the neck sac. I will just throw that on the grill. The chicken has a little bit of chili pepper left on it. It was in a brine for about 12 hours. A light brine basis level is a salt solution. There is salt and a little bit chili, garlic and some onions in this brine overnight. So I sort of pull in, I have my fingers on the breasts here and I pull in a little bit. Because if I were to cut right there where the skin is, I might leave the breasts somewhat exposed. And if I pull in, I am guaranteed to sort of get more of the leg skin and keep that skin around and covering the breasts here. So, I flip the chicken over so I get that cut. I flip the chicken over, go around the back, cut right through and then what you do is you pop the soc. So there is the thigh bone there, you pop it and you can see it exposed. Once you pop it and you can go right in nice and smooth and easy and cut off your thigh, save your leg and your thigh. And what we are going to do today is, we are going to serve it sort of imagining we have a group of people so we can cut the leg and the thigh from each other. And that way you do not have to cut it once it is cooked. You can just serve it. And if you want to get really fancy, what you can do is we can take this and actually french it. So, we are cutting off a little knob at the end of the drumstick so that when it cooks the skin will shrink back a little bit and expose the bone and be more sort of a lollipop. Which is completely unnecessary but still a little bit of fun. So, we can leave it like that. We have our leg and our wings, and we have a thigh. Always cooking it with the bone in, this is drilling outdoors and if somebody does not want a bone in their thigh, they do not get a thigh. So, always have side towels around. The chicken came out of brine and I did dry it off with some paper towels. But it is still a little bit wet. You do not want it sliding around your butcher block or your cutting board. So, if you find that it is, an easy enough thing to do is sort of just fold up your side towel and you can cut your chicken right on top of the side towel just like that. So again, I am going to pull in that skin from the leg a little bit and flip it over. Exactly. This is a perfect example of a home knife, this is not my restaurant knife. This is a home knife which is about as sharp as most people's home knives. So, I pop that up. Right, there is the thigh. Just run it right along and you sort of run your knife right along the backbone. You cut right in between where the bone pops right out of its socket. Right at the hipbone. Right there. Again where you cut the leg from the thigh, it is another nice little lesson, you can see the fat, the fat gives you a little line at which to cut. So it is just like a perforated line and just follow that. You will cut right through. You do not need to bang, knock, hammer, cleave, it just cuts right through. So, right at the joint. We have our thigh again, bone-in, we go to breasts. So, I cut right in here to cut off the back, okay. And I am going to cut off the whole back, and you can see I am using two knives, one is more of a slicer and this is a boning knife. You could also use a cleaver, any knife from home. I just sort of use this for harder work, for cutting in any bone. So I am cutting off the whole back, I am cutting through the rib cage here and I am going to grill it because I like to eat the back. That to me is one of the best parts to snack on. So, I am going to cut through the whole back here, do that. Then cut the rib cage again, right through, then stick my knife out through there, make sure I am in the right spot. All the good stuff and then basically cutting right through the wishbone. So, I have got an entire back now, I have got this whole chicken back. Which is a piece that a lot of people when they are cooking at home they forget about. Now I can trim off some of the fat, but this has all this good meat in the redder and the neck too. It is great for picking and like I think I said earlier, that part by the bone is the most tender and the most flavorful. And as a cook, and all my colleagues would agree, that that is the best part to eat, and eating something on the bone is always preferable to eating something that is filleted and which would otherwise be dry and relatively flavorless. Relative to the alternative. So now we are left with our breasts and we have plenty of skin covering them so they will be protected when we cook them. The breast is the part we have to watch the most because it is easiest to overcook and it is easiest to turn into something dry and sawdust like as opposed to tender and moist and wonderful which breast can be and generally if you are cooking it properly. So, we have the wishbone and I leave the bone in when I cut up chicken just because, like I said, the more bone the better as far as I am concerned. I am exposing less flesh to flame. If once you cut into bone or pull out a bone, you are opening up the chicken or whatever protein it is to the heat and it'll end up drying out or even if you watch it and protect and manage and make sure that it does not dry out, it is more prone to drying out. So you are giving yourself an advantage by not taking out the bone. That is if you do not mind eating around bones. There is a breastplate in there, which I go right into and I cut right through. So again, if you have a knife that you do more delicate work with, do not use it when you are cutting through the bones. Use a more durable knife, a knife you are not as concerned about. If you have a veg knife, a knife you would like to use for fine cuts, do not use that when you are cutting through the bone of the chicken or anything else for that matter when you are preparing it. So, then we will just follow that cut right through the end of the breastplate. And I have to hold my hand over it just to stabilize, right. I cut right through. Sometimes getting there, do not forget the skin. So, then we can trim it up a little bit, maybe the little excess skin. I happen to like the skin a lot so I never consider skin excess. There is rib cage over here, that doesn't have that much meat attached and I can actually cut that out because it is not super flavorful. Now, we are not cooking stock today, but I always save these pieces for stock. You should do so. You do the same thing at home. Actually after you eat your grilled chicken, you save your bones. The way I do at home, Jury and I save our bones and we throw them all into the stock pot. We make stock out of the bones from the chicken that we just ate. And you continue, it still gives out flavor and there is no reason not to use and maximize the use of the bird. You are paying for it. The bird lived and died for your pleasure. So, maximize your pleasure. It is honoring the bird. What we are going do is, I am going to grab a bowl and we are going to oil up the chicken and heat it with some salt pepper and some garlic. We are going to do a little bit of paste with oil and garlic and some vinegar when we use that as a mop. Then we are going to brush on the chicken as we cook it or spoon on the chicken as we cook it. We have our breast, we have our wings, we have the back, with the neck going forward, we have the thighs. We have the legs. So we have cut it all up and all these pieces are edible and we are going to throw them all on the grill. If you feel like getting intimate with your food and understanding it and try to understand the anatomy, it will help you cook the chicken, it will help you understand the different textures and the different colors of the meat. It gives you a relationship you do not have if you are buying something that is already boneless, already cut up and it is just going to make you a better cook at the end. 4. Spatchcocking: So, we're going to cut this chicken up, and we're going to cook, cut it up in style called spatchcocking. Which is essentially just taking out the back of the chicken, and then, folding everything forward so, the legs and the thighs and the breasts are all on the same side, and you're cooking, the skin side of the chicken and the backside of the chicken. But you're cooking the skin side, all skin side at the same time, all together as one piece. So, again I'm going to take off the excess neck fat and thrown on the grill. And we have are our neck from the previous chicken that was cooking. It looks pretty good. As I mentioned before, I use a slightly heavier duty knife. This is a boning knife. When I cut through bone. You can also use a cleaver for this, or for that matter you can use strong scissors if you have strong scissors. So, you can cut right down the back. We cut down, one side of the neck, using the neck as your guide and cut down the other side. You can see. That's neck right there. I can do it this way. So, you can actually see me cut down the other side of the neck. Pretty simple. Pretty basic. I've got just this wishbone right here, and I have to cut through. So, when you're cutting through any bone, don't do it how I was doing it before, which was cutting like this. Don't try and saw through a bone. Get yourself a piece of real estate on your cutting board and press down and crunch through it. So, the bits and pieces you can see coming out of the chicken here, are a little bit of liver, that wasn't cleaned out of the chicken when it was processed. Which is just fine because liver is delicious. But we will clean that out before we cook it. So, you heard that I just pulled the breasts, apart a little bit right at the top of the breast bone and you can see that it opened up the skin right where the breast plate is. You can see that everything here is opened up completely. If you turn it over you have this bird that is ready to go in the grill. What's really nice about this in terms of grilling is that you only manage one big piece of protein. You're not managing a bunch of smaller pieces of protein moving them around. You might not get as much difference in terms of the cook time on the breast. Then when you cook the breast separate from the leg and the thigh. So, we may have to cook the breast a little bit harder. They may be a little more cooked through, and normally I would cook breasts slightly pink almost, because I know where the chicken comes from and I'm not worried about the dangers that sometimes may be concerning. These may have to cook all the way through before the thighs and legs get cooked. But it's really fun. It's really easy. We lay it right down on the grill press it down. You know you can even drop a brick on it or even a stone or something like that, whatever you have around the house and to help flatten it and cook it as it goes. Or you can just leave it as is and cook it that way. So, we'll start it on the skin side and then we'll flip it over and we'll cook the back as well to get the radiant heat through the rest of the chicken. You can hear in the background our neck fat popping on the grill which is cool. We'll also cook the back as well because like I said before, the back is great for nibbling. I think that spatchcocking is a great way to cook chicken if you're cooking a bunch of chicken. You know you have a bunch of people coming over and you don't want to manage a whole variety of pieces. You have a few spatchcock chickens you can lay them on the grill, you can let them go, and you're flipping fewer things, you're managing fewer variables. It's also I think, a lot of people like if the drama but they love seeing a whole chicken come off the grill. So, it's a fun way, it's fun presentation as well. 5. Seasoning: So, I'm snacking on my grilled chicken neck. Yum. The chicken's on the grill. So, what we're going to do is make a little bit of a sauce, sort of a mop for the chicken. Once it's further along, we're going to brush this on the chicken, this mop or this vinaigrette once it's through. So, we have some garlic. This is what's cool about this garlic is that we grew the garlic. We grow a garlic every year for the restaurant. We planted in October, and it comes up in July. We pull it out of the ground, and we clean it and we cure it. We cure it in the barn and dry it. So, we have these nice firm garlic, and I'm just crushing on the table here just to peel the skin off. I'm not worried about it falling apart. I'm not going to slice it in any pretty fashion. I'm going to just mash it in the mortar and pestle. Cooking outdoors, cooking over fire, you're outside, you don't have your blender and your Cuisinart or your Vita-prep, et cetera, is readily available to you. It's nice to use something that mirrors the primitive beauty of a wood fire grill, and that's the mortar and pestle. It's something I have been fond with for most of my life and I'll continue to use. Also, they way you mash things up, talking before about having the connected quality to your food. This is, again, it's sort of you get to understand the ingredients and you're more tuned to the measurements, the quantities you're throwing into your mortar and pestle, and you're mashing it in rather than just throwing things into a Vita-prep or some kind of blender and purifying them. This is a little more intimate. It also gives you a more textured sauce. So, you notice, I just have this big stone mortar and pestle. Stone is great for grinding and making sauces, smooth marble is good for pills, and wood is good for light salads. Well, any time I use a mortar and pestle or at least a heavy one, even if it's on a wood surface, but particularly if it's on a marble surface or a soapstone surface or something like that, I put a towel underneath. It just dampens the noise and also softens the blow on whatever surface you're working on. So, start out. Sometimes I'll take a little bit of salt, throw it into the mortar and pestle to start because it'll help add a little friction especially if you have something slippery like chilies, chili skin is pretty slick. So, I'm just going to knock this around. The smell of garlic. Okay. So, we'll take some oregano flowers, just pull some oregano right off here. I just picked this from the garden moments ago, literally. This one I made for TV comment. It's fresh and a little bit spicy. Really nice. My fingers are a little sticky from the garlic. So, then I am going to put in some olive oil and we'll add the vinegar. This is a red wine vinegar that Jory made with our red wine scraps from the restaurant. So, wine that we sold by the glass, if it went off, if it wasn't a particularly good wine or whatever's left at the end of the week, we bring home. You have this nice sort of chunky emulsified vinaigrette which is really cool, which is very simple. It's just using really good ingredients. A few simple ingredients, our homemade vinegar and you could use good store bought red wine vinegar, good olive oil, some nice sea salt, garlic and some fresh herbs. We used oregano. 6. Grilling Your Chicken: Our fire is nice and hot, and the first thing we're going to do is clean our grill off a little bit with this grill brush. Works a lot better when the grill is hot, all these little particles come right off because they are all baked. Let's get it nice and clean. Right now I am taking this tool and I'm adjusting the fire, sort of even it out among the whole area of the grill. Sort of an even heat throughout, since we have two chickens that we need to throw in the grill. We're going for a somewhat even heat, and if that proves to be a little too hot, we can adjust accordingly. So, if I throw the chicken on, and I realize, "Chicken, you're too hot." I will pull it off and put it on this wooden board, which I have next to the bowl in which the chicken will be marinating, and this is the raw chicken. So, I have a raw chicken drop, and I have the cooked or partially cooked chicken landing pad. The first thing I'm going to do is oil this brine chicken, I'm going to toss it all around in the bowl so that all sides get oiled. Tossing our chicken in olive oil here. We could salt and pepper first but I find pepper and any sort of chili or something like that, which we'll add later on, works best a little later. The pepper will lose flavor as you cook it, or just burn in the grill from the heat of the grill, so easier to just add the salt in the oil, get the chicken on, let it cook, and then we can add our seasoning at a later stage, and that's what the vinaigrette that we'll make is for. It's definitely hotter over there, and so I'm going to throw the chicken on, so that the legs are toward the hot side and the breast is on the cooler side, because the legs can take hotter heat, higher heat, and need more time to cook, and the breast needs less time to cook. Backs can go on higher heat. We have our individual breast, and the breast will go at lower heat over here. Wings can take high heat, legs can take high heat, so can thighs. If you can hear the fire, you know it's cranking, right? So, that means we'll probably have to check the items that are all closer to the high heat area of the fire, which is this area. We're going to have to check those sooner than later and just see how fast they're going, how black the skin is getting, or hopefully not black but brown, that is, and just pay attention to it. But you can hear that just the listening phase, right? You can hear, you can see the flames coming up, but you can really hear the sizzling of the chicken. So, I'm checking each cut just to give me an idea, and I have a pretty good sense that the breast here is not even close because it's not, yeah. The one thing that I could do, though, is I put the breast on the wrong direction, which is a good thing to mention. The tip of the breast obviously cooks faster than the top part of the breast, and since it's hotter over there, I cook the breast with the fat part closer to the heat rather than the thin part. So, I just get a sense of how things are moving along. Things can go from golden brown to black and burnt pretty quickly. So, you walk around your grill and get a sense of where things are going, how fast they're going. As it goes, what I will do, for instance, is I may move the thighs even closer in, sort of concentrate the heat, and I may leave space elsewhere on the grill here for me to maybe grill some vegetables while this is going on. As we get closer, as the chicken comes a little closer to being ready, I'll be able to feel it and know if it's ready. Right now, I'm just letting it go to a point where I feel that the skin looks beautiful, and if the skin looks beautiful, which will hopefully take about five more minutes so I know that it is getting a good amount of time on that side, I'll then flip the pieces of protein. Once I flip them, I'll try to move them to an area that's slightly less hot and I'll consolidate all the protein in one area of the grill. So then, I can let the chicken cook a little more slowly and thoroughly, and make sure that initial sear and coloring wasn't too quick and didn't just kept cooking the outside, but I'm cooking the food all the way to the bone. Certain signs, when this protein starts to shrink, you can see already on the breast. If they go too fast, they'll just cook hard on the outside; the outside will be a little bit sort of dried out, and the inside will still be raw, and that's not what we're looking for. So, in order to prevent that, one thing that we can start going about doing now, I see some flare coming up on this side, so I'm going to check before we do this, I'm going to check my thigh here. Looking beautiful. Chicken looks great. But one thing I can do now, I think it's probably pretty safe to do, is to move some of this wood over, and push a lot of the heat of the fire over to that side, and ensure that this side here is at a more comfortable temperature. So, I can hold my hand here, and it's not super hot, but it is hot. Over there, so it's maybe, right here maybe it's 200 degrees or something along those lines on the grill, a little hotter. But over there, it's ripping hot, and I can see all of my protein is already shrunk down. The thighs have tightened up, the legs have tightened up, you'll be able to see when I turn this over, they've gotten some color, all right, a really pretty color. We'll give them a couple more minutes on that side, maybe a minute or two, and then we'll turn them over and pull them back. Sometimes what I'll do is, I'll cook for example, having the chicken backs, that are great nibbles, but you can also use them to elevate other pieces of protein. So, if you have a chicken back cooking, and something else needs to stay over the grill but doesn't need direct heat, you can place it on top of your chicken back and allow it to go slowly, nice and easy. As we get closer, and we're not there yet, but I'll talk to it to this point and also when we do arrive at it. When I touch the chicken, I'll be able to feel it right now, I push in and it's pretty flabby still, and it responds with a little bit of elasticity, but it's certainly far from firm. When it's ready, it should feel firm to the touch; there should be no give in it whatsoever. The breast, you're a little bit in between; you want a little bit of give on the breast, not a lot, but you want a little bit of give. You don't want the breast to be too hot. The breast I would even turn over and start pulling back right now and cooking over here, because I can see some protein coming out, the albumin coming out of the wing, and just the touch of it. You can see I'm pulling the tips further and further away, really just going to let this cooks this nice and easy, nice and mellow, and I think that I'm about at the point where I can probably flip the wings as well. I will just do it with my fingers. Beautiful, huh? They're really getting a nice crisp golden brown. I'm going to move our legs, actually back here because they've been going pretty hard, and they could probably take a little rest. This might be a good opportunity for me to show you why I built the grill the way that I did. I can pull everything out, I don't have to stand over the fire. I can move things around, adjust them, and I'm not doing it directly over the fire. So, I'm not making myself miserable and burning myself. Then we can take our Spatchcock chicken, take a look at it, looking quite beautiful. We'll turn it around this way first, before we go the other way, before we turn it over completely, then we will return our grill to its previous position. 7. Prepping Your Veggies: Our corn salad starts with grilled corn, but that's not the only thing we're going to use the grill to warm up. So this is a salad that can be served in room temperature. However, we're going to grill several items. We have chilis all summer, super summery items, chilis, zucchini, and the almighty cherry tomato. That's cool. On top of the fact that we're using livers and hearts, on top of the fact that we're in the middle of summer, we have these great product is that we're going to grill the tomatoes and grilling tomatoes like these, I've made the mistake several times of just dropping them on the grill and you lose like half of them. They burst and you lose all their water and the water of the tomato is what's going to mix with olive oil. With good olive oil is going to create the vinaigrette, the liquid for the vinaigrette for the salad. So I have a cast iron pan on the grill heating up to burst the tomatoes. So we are cooking all over the grill, but we're not going directly on the grill with these. So to know that when you're cooking something like a tomato, if you're using a pan on the grill, you really don't use your nice stainless steel or copper cookware. It's going to get black and if the grill is really hot, it's going to melt any of the welding and you'll pop a rivet. Some of the handles are riveted into the pans and a then pop a rivet if it's really hot. So I'm going to take out my veggie knife and we're going to cut this garlic in here and this is home cooking, so we can be a little rustic. When I cook for myself, I'm not as fussy about whether my chunks of garlic are super small. When I'm cooking in the restaurant, cooking for the public, and especially since I'm not cooking every dish, and I have cooks doing it and I have to instruct them to cut it down to a very precise size but here at home, it's like, "Hey man, it's just food." So I'm preparing all the vegetables right now to go on the grill. Zucchinis, there's an old adage. It's if you grow zucchini, you better have a lot of friends. It's because when you grow zucchini, it grows like crazy and they grow quickly and they grow to quite a large size. I'm going to show two ways of doing the zucchini. One is I'm going to cube it now and cook it with the tomato and the other way is we'll just set it on the grill and we'll get a little char on it. Okay. These can go in there. These will go up here. I'll get oil. I'll get salt. This is finishing salt here. This is a nice sort of reddish-colored sea salt. You can see I'm pretty liberal with the oil. There's a good reason. Oil is delicious and it just transfers heat so wonderfully well. So we have all of our good veggies. We've got our liver and our hearts. Our garlic is in the bowl and one thing that I know I forgot to do is cut some bread. I'm going to grab a bread knife and cut some bread. We're going to have some grilled bread with our chicken too because when you have a grill and you have fire going, if you have bread, just grill it. If there's bread in the house, just grill it because a fire as it dies, it's sort of like lost fuel. It's spent fuel. Bread is the thing you can put on after everything else is cooked and it's just a delicious addition to any meal. So I'm going to take this over to our grill. We're going to put this on as we look at our chicken and probably pull our chicken off while we're finishing this then our chicken will be allowed to rest. We'll finish our corn salad and we'll eat everything. 8. Grilling Your Veggies: So, I have some of this fine sea salt by the grill, and I was using it for the chicken. You always salt from up high, so you get a nice radius, right? You're not salting a specific part of the vegetable, you're showering it with the salt. So, the corn is going to go on just quickly, get a little char. This is something you can do while you're cooking the chicken if you are good at multitasking, and you feel confident in your skills. It's also something that you can do before you cook the chicken. We have our chicken just finishing up, going nice and slow and started resting. So, we're going to let that chicken rest, and we're going to cook right around it. Now, I've pulled most of the fire over to that side, where we're doing the vegetables, so that they have more heat in order to get a char. As I said, you can hear it. That pan has been on there. For the tomatoes, that we're going to get a little burst on. I'll pour a little bit more oil over the corn and over the chilies, get that heat transference we look for. Then, we will tend to the fire. The last thing we will do is put the liver and heart on. Those take no time at all. So, I just added another log to the fire. I'm okay with getting the heat. Nice and hot here. Even if one wanted to, as I may here. Stick my pan right down there, right on top of the flame. I'm going to let those go down there just really soft and gives us even more room here. Get our zucchini, corn, and chilies. Nice and hot. We got some color on our tomatoes here. That's all we want out of that. I'll just pour our tomatoes right in there with the garlic. We're about there on this. I don't want to cook these things too much. You see here our chicken. That's the skin. Our chicken is firm. When I touch this, it's firm. It's cooked. I'm going to do two things here. I'm going to take our vegetables and throw them in our bowl. Let them hang out for a sec, and then we're going to cook our livers and our hearts. I think we're in a position where we can pull our chicken off. So, as the livers are cooking, we'll pull our chicken off. That beautiful spatchcock chicken, right? Cool all these goodies off. Let that fire keep moving. We're going to pull our grilled vegetables out of the bowl, cut them up and toss them all together. The landing pad bowl for the vegetables that has all the oil in it, we'll rub our bread in that, and we'll grill our bread up. 9. Assembling Your Salad: So, the corn we cooked on the grill just lightly. I'm just cutting this lightly warm corn. So, I said the corn is super fresh. It's the season. There's no reason to cook it too hard. Squirting it says so juicy yummy. It's a very simple way to cut the corner off the cob and put it right into the salad and then we'll go ahead and we'll cut up our chilies and the rest of our zucchini, I've got a ton of flavor. So, this will open up and we'll take out the seeds top, put that to compost, open them up. Just take out the top, some of the seeds. You don't have to be too fussy again about having some seeds, seeds are good. It's just you don't need to be eating all seeds as they sometimes are not the best texture. Try that, very tasty. Now chilies, you can use this as a Fresno chili. You can use Anaheim. You can use Serrano. You can use cayenne. You can use whatever. If you like sweeter, you sweeter. Again, this is all to your liking. Ooh that's just came out. So, we're going to finish this with a little bit of telidon. Pick a few telidonn leaves. Telidon hasn't nice fresh and its flavor. Again just a rough chop. Touch of the vinegar or upper house vinegar. The red wine vinegar and just toss it like this. To finish this salad, I like a little bit of sweetness sometimes and the cell in my salads and so when we make a little bit of honey just mashing down these tomatoes creating some of that liquid and finishing it with a little bit of good olive oil here. We have the chilli in there, we have the vinegar in there, we have salt in there, we have teridon, we have the liberty. We have all these yummy stuff. Sometimes I also use maple syrup. So, typically, I'll use maple syrup and honey as the sweeteners in the kitchen if I want to balance out a dish, get smoky flavors in three flavors, off-flavors. That's good. 10. Finishing Touches: So, as part of our finishing touch for a grilled lunch, should be the finishing touch for every grilled meal. Just going to throw some bread on the grill. I'm going to drop it in the bowl of olive oil and salt here, that we use with the vegetables, of course some more on it, sprinkle some more salt on it, finish it with a little olive oil. The reason being is, you still have that heat, I think I mentioned this. You still have that heat going. There's no reason they shouldn't have something cooking if you have the heat. That wood is valuable and the heat is there, and really isn't anything better than some good chicken and grilled bread, a little bit of salad especially, on a day as hot as today. Of course, a tall glass of cold wind too. So, this is a couple days old, so is perfect time to go on the grill. You save your old bread. What do you do with it? You toast it or you put it on the grill, or you turn into panzanella, to some kind of salad. So, we'll let this go for a few minutes. I'll pull it off and bring it over there and go over to the table, cut up the chicken, we'll finish our chicken dish, we'll plate it, we'll serve it with a salad. At that point the bread should be perfect, and we'll pull out the bread and we can have a meal. So, we're going to plate our chicken two ways, which is great and it is indicative of one of the components of drilling and the ways to approach drilling that I talked about earlier which is, be adaptable. We decided, we cut up one chicken, and we decided let's cook the other chicken in a different manner and cut it a different way. So, we have one in the side that's called Spatchcocking where we took the back off and we grilled it nice and slowly. Then we have our little pile of wings which I did not eat although, I was tempted too. We have legs, my personal favorite, the thigh, and we've got some breasts here. Cooked beautifully. You can see. How beautiful that is, the grain and the tight grain you can get, how tender that is when you do that on the grill, the super hot grill. That's what you get when you pay attention and when you listen to the grill, when you focus your energies, you be patient with the grill. You can actually achieve a product from a very rudimentary and primitive heat source. You can achieve a really fine product which is really hard to believe and it still amazes me to this day that I can produce such a delicate result from something that's so intense and then you've got the chef's special. The thing that you never see coming out of the kitchen because it usually goes into stock where you have cooks cooking it, eating it. Speaking to that, one second while I grab the bread. Speaking to it being my house, me doing what I want, I think that's another good rule that we haven't talked about in terms of grilling. We talked about patience, we talked about adaptability, talked about not panicking, what I didn't mention was that this is your drill. These classes are designed to teach you skills to improve your cooking technique, and it's not designed to tell you what tastes right and what tastes wrong. That's for you to decide. So, you can play with the flavors, you can play with the temperatures, you can cook things longer or shorter. If you like really well done chicken, then cook your chicken until it's really well done. That's your prerogative. If you prefer cooking with charcoal, cook with charcoal. So hopefully, this class has inspired someone or some of you or a few of you to get outside and cook over some live fuel, to make a wood fire and make something beautiful, something simple or something complex, whatever it may be. But if it did inspire you, I'd love to see a photo or a video, a shot of even the fire itself or the finished product or both would be super coo. If you took away anything, whether it's just the idea of having patience while working with the fire, or maybe something more technique driven about how to manage the heat and move your items around the grill, listening to the fire and watching the items, looking at them to see how far they've come, touching them, feeling them, becoming intimate with what it is you're doing, which is cooking. If it's as complex as that or as simple is just understanding the idea of patience or adaptability. If any of those are taken away, I'm going to feel extremely proud. I appreciate it and if you do want to try some interesting food that's cooked over wood fire grill and cooked in a wood-burning oven and that's really focused on that primitive method of cooking, come see us at Fishing Game in Hudson, New York. I'm pretty much always there, unless I'm here. Thanks a lot. 11. Hungry for More?: