I burnt the chicken, and I mean burnt, charred, black charcoal burnt. I took it as a metaphor, as I often do. Granted the reason why the chicken burned was because I hadn’t cleaned out our grill in some time, some meaning a long time. I didn’t make time for it, I was doing other things I made time for, but not the grill. I use the grill on a weekly basis. but I hadn’t cooked chicken with skin on it in quite some time. Chicken skin has a lot of fat, it drips onto the not clean burners and starts a grease fire, a very large grease fire. This is what happened that day…
I came up with a super awesome idea for a marinade for the chicken I would be grilling that evening, I was so excited. I prepped it all, got it marinating. I asked Brian to turn on the grill for me while I got everything ready to go outside. I put the chicken on the grill on medium/high heat to sear the skin and get it crispy, I took a couple of photos of all the food on the grill, closed the grill, and I went inside to grab tongs. I came outside, there was a HUGE fire in the grill. HUGE. I immediately turned off all of the burners and gas. I went back inside quickly, passing Brian while he was doing homework, went to the kitchen to grab the baking soda, passed him on my way out and calmly said, “we may have a situation”. I went outside and the temperature of the grill was at one thousand degrees, maybe higher, the thermometer doesn’t go that high. Brian came out and we let it simmer down for a moment, opened the grill with long tongs to avoid backlash of flames. Removed the chicken from the grill to stop the flow of fat to fuel the flames. All logical things, to keep from having the deck burn down, or ruin our food by throwing baking soda on it or using the fire extinguisher, which yes we do have available.
I clearly would have done that if I had felt it needed to be done, I was prepared, but I don’t like to over react, I read the situation and go from there. It is how I do things in life on a day to day basis. If I am faced with adversity, I think then react. I have not always been this way, but over the years I have been through a lot that has made me adapt to adverse occurrences, so I choose to be chill and think it through. Being the person I am, I very calmly dealt with the situation. Another reason why I fit well in the kitchen and culinary world, I don’t freak out about much.
We had a saying in culinary school for situations like this, “that shit is burnt, period.” In this case it was very literal, but most the time it was a metaphor. Just another way of saying “toast” or “ruined”. Burnt with a bit a of an accent when you say it sounds appropriate when you just fucked up. Simple as that. But it never stops me, it never will. I will move on, just like last night.
If you see in the photos above, the char is so thick and perfect that it pealed off in one stroke. It also ironically locked in the juices, and cooked all the way through. I would never in a million years do this again, and please don’t try this at home.
But what I am getting at, we ate a lovely meal on the porch, still in tact, maybe a bit sweaty. I made grilled potatoes in foil that cooked nicely in the fire but were protected by the foil, and we had salad with some chicken, kinda burnt. All in all it was a better meal for what had happened. I can reflect on that moment and be grateful that I reacted in this way, as I do with most situations. I could have freaked out, as I am under a lot of stress as of late, but I chose not to, it just isn’t worth it to me.
The take away, clean your grill often, especially if you are going to grill something super fatty. And it’s all good. Really it is, trust me.
Thanks for listening…
1. Clean it often.
2. Keep baking soda and a fire extinguisher near by at all times.
3. Clean it often.