Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to participate in a smoking competition – and I’ve never even used a smoker before.
Thank goodness I had fantastic help.
The competition was called Big Green Eggs in the ‘Ham, a 5th year charity fundraiser for Easter Seals of Birmingham. It was a fun event featuring food, beer, and live music. They also had kids’ activities including bouncy houses and face painting.
The premise of the competition was basically to smoke pretty much whatever we wanted on a Big Green Egg smoker, give out samples to event goers, and turn in our submissions at allotted times.
We decided on two categories; Chicken and “Everything Else”. We made smoked chicken and leg of lamb boneless roast, and both were phenomenal.
I do think that the chicken was the best.
It was so off the charts tender. I rubbed it with a Caribbean spice blend and it was perfectly seasoned.
So pretty…all perched on a beer can. The small amount of beer left in the can infuses into the chicken as it smokes, helping to keep it moist.
We also smoked a leg of lamb rubbed with a ras el hanout spice blend recipe – both the Caribbean and ras el hanout recipes are found in Ally’s Kitchen- A Passport for Adventurous Palates. Ally is a good friend of mine; blogger, food sport competitor and food lover that is a consistent source of inspiration.
I changed the ras en hanout a little; I omitted the curries, safron, cloves and added more Hungarian paprika and cayenne. It was definitely spicy, but tender.
We definitely did those right.
One thing we didn’t do right, however, was keeping the damn lid from falling over and busting into about 50 pieces.
It wasn’t our fault…
Apparently, if the new “eggs” heat up too quickly the ceramic expands and can cause the hinge on the back of the grill to disengage. At least that’s what I got from the explanation given to us.
It wasn’t a problem; they immediately brought us a new one and we were able to wrap everything up on time.
Go here to find out more about Easter Seals of Birmingham and how to donate.
Here’s your printable –
Caribbean Smoked Chicken & Spicy Smoked Lamb (Big Green Eggs in the “Ham” Fest)
- Combine brine ingredients and place into large plastic containers or large freezer bags that seal very well.
- Place in fridge and allow to brine for 48 hours.
- Combine rubs in separate containers and store in fridge.
- Drain meats and discard brine; pat dry.
- Split vinegar in half and combine with each rub to make a "wet rub".
- Rub chickens (place a beer can into each cavity of the chickens and stabilize on grill) and lamb with rub and smoke over indirect heat at 275-350 for 3-4 hours. <---Use your judgment here; I'm no smoking expert.
Play around with the rub ingredients depending on your tolerance for heat level; the rub I used on the lamb is considerably more spicy than the Caribbean rub on the chicken.
You don't have to brine the full 48 hours; but I find that this length of time yields the most tender meat.