There are some days where you put together a meal and sit back afterwards and think ‘Wow, did I just do that? That was one for the history books’. Then you have ones like I did last weekend. Total, utter fail.
I wanted to practice my chicken lollipops for the upcoming competition and thought I’d put together a lime & chili recipe using my smoked chilies. To accompany the chicken lollipops I decided to go with sweet potatoes with a lemon and chili dressing and a corn bake. Sadly, it wasn’t just the chicken lollipops that were lacking.
The first thing I did was put together a rub of smoked chili, lime, sugar, garlic, onion, salt and pepper. This, I am pleased to say, was delicious.
Next I had to learn how to make lollipops out of the drumsticks. After a lot of searching, I found this YouTube video to be a good one. Unfortunately this is where I started to run into problems. The first problem was when it came to trimming the knob off the end of the drumstick to make the handle. In the video she just puts her blade on the bone, slaps it with her hand and off it comes. When I tried to do it I cracked the bone almost all the way down the shaft, creating a very jagged end and a weak handle. When I tried using my kitchen shears it was worse. I think I might need a much better knife and/or have my butcher sharpen it.
That said, they still looked the part. The foil on the tips is to prevent burning but also dresses up those jagged, broken edges.
Season them up with your spice rub, in this case my lime and chili competition rub, and pop them in the fridge for at least two hours. If you’re going to sauce or glaze your lollipops, start preparing them now. Come the competition I will be saucing mine, but for now I just wanted to work on perfecting my spice rub.
The next part is ridiculously easy: just wrap your sweet potatoes up in foil nice and tight.
The corn bake is dead easy to put together. Take two cans of corn, drain them and throw them into a baking dish. Dice a large tomato, a red capsicum and a brown onion and add two heaping tablespoon of minced garlic. Drizzle the lot with extra virgin olive oil, season with salt, pepper and thyme and mix it all together ensuring that the oil is spread over all of the vegetables.
Set up your grill for indirect cooking by taking out the grill, moving the hotplate into the middle and setting the outside burners to maximum. Close the lid and let it heat for 15 minutes.
Load up the hotplate, close the lid and leave it alone for 40 minutes.
Once everything is done, put a pair of chicken lollipops on a plate, slice up some sweet potato and drizzle with a dressing made of extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and powered chili and spoon up some corn bake.
Looks good right? Well let me break it down for you. Firstly, my lollipops were only about two steps above raw. It would seem that my lollipops were thicker than the ones in the video. I had checked their temperature with my digital thermometer which told me they were cooked: I must have had the end of the probe too close to the bottom of the meat and therefore the hotplate. The sweet potato was only one step above raw. So they both had to go into the microwave to be finished off. I felt so dirty I had to take a shower.
However, as I said it wasn’t a total loss. The spice rub is just about bang on and the corn bake was delicious. Interestingly, it would also double as a cold salad if you decided not to cook it.
So what will I do differently next time? More time. Definitely more time. Instead of forty minutes I’d be looking at an hour and I’d be putting the sweet potato in at least a half hour before everything else although again that will depend on the size of the potatoes.
It just goes to show that there is always something new to learn!
Had any BBQ disasters? Let me know in the comments below.