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Pete's Pantry: Purdue vs. Southeast Missouri State

Welcome to Pete's Pantry, your one spot stop for game day tailgating food recipes, preparations and techniques themed for this weeks match up. 

This week, our boys will battle the Redhawks of Southeast Missouri State. And just like you, I wondered what a Redhawk actually was. After much deliberation, and countless internet searches, I've come to the conclusion that the Redhawk is no different than a chicken disguised in a fancy tuxedo.  And that's exactly what we will focus on this week, Tailgate-friendly Chicken Recipes. 


The Quick and Easy:

Go to KFC near 52 and Salisbury.

(This column assumes you will have the appropriate cookware to make the dishes. Pete's Pantry is into cooking, not costs of items, prep time, or your willingness to try these recipes. It's about friends and family, Boilering Up, and cherished memories while visiting the serene and grand.)

The Painless and Much More Satisfying:

The weather forecast for Saturday calls for abundant sunshine. Lows in the mid-50's and highs in the mid-70's. To me, this is prime grill weather. 

What we will need in order to complete this grilled chicken recipe is some sort of chicken legs. I prefer quality over quantity and go for Tyson or Perdue when it's on sale. Normally you can get 12-14 legs around 4 dollars on sale. Before we cook, we need to marinade our chicken. I recommend the following:

For a sweet balsamic marinade - Check out Newman's Own Light Vineagarette Salad Dressing.

For world peace causing BBQ - go to old faithful and pick up a bottle of Sweet Baby Ray's.

Something a little more fun - Check out the rubs by Grill Mates. I'd recommend the Montreal Chicken.

To have a successful meal you will need of course need a grill to cook but also Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Minced Garlic, some veggies that will make you a hit in the stands Broccoli, Asparagus or Green Beans. Some fruit that make your wife let you buy that big screen for the man cave Pineapple, Mango or Peaches.  Spices you can use are Sea Salt, Pepper, Seasoned Salt, Nature's Seasons and Brown Sugar. We will also need Large Freezer-Capable Baggies.

Recipe and Prep:

Get the desired number of chicken legs into a baggie the night before cooking. I'd recommend no more than five legs per baggie. For the sweet balsamic marinade dump about half of the bottle of dressing into the bag such that the chicken is nearly submerged in the dressing. Liquid to chicken contact is important, the more surface area being covered the better. Close the bag and wash your hands. (Be sure to always wash your hands after you come in direct contact with the chicken.) These chicken legs are ready to bathe in the fridge for a while. For the BBQ chicken, add 1 cap full of olive oil to the baggie for every 2 chicken legs. Add a pinch of salt and a pinch of brown sugar for every chicken leg. Close the baggie and mush the baggie around and be sure the oil, brown sugar and salt have semi-equal representations on each piece of chicken. Open the baggie and pretend you're making your very own Wabash River Valley by blasting the Sweet Baby Ray's into the bag. Again, coat the chicken thoroughly. For the Chicken Rub add 1 cap full of olive oil for every chicken leg. Add a table spoon of minced garlic. Close the bag and mush it around. Now, the best way to do this next part is to just get your hands dirty, but if you don't want to, you can do the mush method. To apply the rub to the chicken, fill your palm with the selected seasonings, this is probably between 1 and 2 tablespoons. Grab a piece of chicken with the other hand, and choke your chicken with the spice hand. Rub that little gobbler until you've made an absolute mess of yourself and continue until all the chicken legs in the bag are thoroughly coated with the rub. Make sure all your chicken is sealed tightly and placed in a pan in the fridge. (I recommend cleaning up at this point to ensure that you haven't contaminated anything else in the cook place.) Now for the best part, the Fruits and Veggies. No matter which fruit and veggie you decide to use, they all cook great and taste great with their respective methods of preparation. For the veggies, rinse wash them and be sure to shake them out pretty good to remove some of the excess water that would dilute the flavor. Put them in a baggie, dump about 3 tablespoons of olive oil in for a full head of broccoli and close the bag. Shake the oil around to be sure it's in all the nooks and crannies. We are not saturating the veggies! We are simply giving the seasonings something to grab onto. Grab the Seasoned Salt and conservatively shake over the veggie. A little bit goes a long way and it's better to add later, than to try and subtract now. Once the seasoned salt is added, and if you are using the green beans or asparagus I recommend adding a teaspoon or two of minced garlic. Seal up the bag and toss it in the fridge. For the fruits, rinse wash them, cut them into large slices with the skin still on and remove the pits, if necessary. Dump a handful of brown sugar on a plate and make sure it isn't packed together. Gently cup the mango or peach, or use a fork to maneuver the pineapple, and squeeze gently to bleed out enough juice to make the fruit a little damp. Dip the fruit into the brown sugar as if you were coating a margarita glass rim, and place face up in a container or on a plate. Be sure not to knock off the excess brown sugar while in transit. 


Start your grill. Be sure the charcoal or gas is already nice and hot and emitting enough BTU's such that the chicken can reach 160-170 degrees Fahrenheit. (Generally I like to cook low and slow, but making sure the grill is already at temperature before cooking is a good habit to get into.) Use tongs to place the chicken on the hot rack of the grill. Be sure to rotate about every 3-5 minutes to ensure an equal distribution of heat on the chicken. I don't mind charred skin, but the more often you check up on the chicken, the less charred it should be. If you want to add excess marinade while cooking, or within the last 10 minutes of cooking you can, but you will probably make a mess. Since the chicken was already bathing for 8-12 hours, you should be totally fine in the flavor department. Let the chicken cook until 160+ degrees until you think about eating it, otherwise be sure to say hi to me when you're running to the bathroom every 3 downs in the second half.  

Once the chicken is done in 25-35 minutes, cover it and let it cool down to 120-130 degrees before trying to eat. 

While the chicken is cooling, clean off the rack of the grill and place your veggie on one side, and the fruit on the other. The fruit needs to be grilled on both sides. I'd try doing half brown sugar side down, and the other brown sugar side up to see which method you like the best. They both cook well, but if you're good you can caramelize the brown sugar, and that's how the cool Smorgasboiler's do it. 

Cook the veggies until they are less crunchy and more floppy, and cook the fruit until the sugar starts to caramelize. If you cook the fruit too long, congrats! You just made fruit jerky. Be sure to constantly check up on what you're cooking for the best result.

Once the grilling is done. Be safe, and extinguish your grill in the fashion that you choose. Be responsible. And clean up your mess.

Serve and enjoy!

The Confident Tailgate 'Chef':

Beer Can Chicken

Beer!? What!? I'll do it! - Exactly how I feel. Check out this detailed recipe by Bobby Flay. I may hate his personality, but I sure do love most of his recipes. I made this one over the summer. Be sure to watch the video in the second link to learn about how to position the chicken, and use/abuse the concept of indirect grilling.


In what will surely be an exciting game of side-splitting hits, bombs and runs, (hopefully not as a result from your cooking) I wish you all safe travel, joyful cooking, and I look forward to next time when the old gold and black face off with our adversaries from the North. Thanks for checking out Pete's Pantry. Be sure to stay tuned for a delightful column of Indiana Brews to enjoy while tailgating by your friend and mine, John "Brew Master" Wadas.