Many seek out their local farmer's market, farm stand or CSA for seasonal fruits and veggies. And while they may make up the majority of offerings throughout the summer season here in the Northeast, meat is a growing feature at these venues - and for good reasons!
- Consumers want to know that the meat they are buying is free of added hormones and antibiotics and the animals have been fed an appropriate diet (often times they are raised organically)!
- They also want to know the chicken, beef, pork (bacon!), etc., that they're buying has been raised in a kind and humane manner by people who prioritize the needs of their animals over producing as many animals as possible as quickly as possible.
- The quality is generally MUCH better than you will find at your local grocer!
In addition to our vegetable, egg and flower CSA's, we also belong to a chicken CSA at Square Roots Farm. I'll be the first to admit that eating farm fresh chicken has turned me into a bit of a chicken snob. We haven't purchased chicken from the grocery store since our chicken CSA kicked off at the beginning of June and I don't miss it one bit!
We generally get two chickens every two weeks (the day after they are processed, I might add). Occasionally, we grille one on our rotisserie, but more often I cut them up into parts - some to use right away and others to freeze for later. And nothing goes to waste - the remaining carcasses are either frozen right away or go straight into a pot for some of the best chicken stock you'll ever taste!
We use a lot of boneless chicken breast to make stir fries, salads or shish kebobs throughout the summer, with whatever fresh vegetables we have on hand. Bone-in drumsticks and things are great roasted (particularly on cold winter's day), but our favorite way to enjoy them is right off the Weber (preferably with some farm fresh corn and perhaps a sun-kissed tomato right off the vine)!
This summer, I've mastered BBQ chicken. While trying to avoid going to the store more than I absolutely have to throughout this pandemic, I've come up with a rub and sauce that is
as good better than any you find on a shelf. While I'll admit, this BBQ sauce has not (yet) won a blue ribbon, it IS that good, trust me!
Blue Ribbon BBQ Sauce1 1/2 cups brown sugar packed
1 1/2 cups ketchup
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup of molasses
1 Tablespoon Worcester sauce
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons dried onion flakes
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons sea salt
dash or two of red pepper flakes
Chicken and Rib Rub
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sea salt (kosher salt will work too)
1/4 cup paprika
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons black pepper
1/4 teaspon cayenne pepper
To make the chicken, I
apply rub (hence the name) a generous amount of Chicken and Rib Rub on each piece of meat about a 1/2 hour or so before I put it on the grille.
In the meantime, light your grille, but leave one burner off (we have a three-burner Weber, so I turn on the middle and right-hand burner and leave the left one off).
When I'm cooking legs (i.e. the drumstick and thigh together), I place them skin-side up over indirect heat (the burner on the left) and cook them for 20-25 minutes then turn them over for an additional 15-20 minutes. At that point, I brush each piece with a generous amount of BBQ sauce then cook for 5-7 minutes turn the chicken over and repeat the process. I do this a couple of times, until I feel like the meat is going to fall off the bone(s) if I turn it over any more.
This recipe also works really well on baby back ribs!
If you haven't had an opportunity to try pasture-raised, farm fresh meat, I encourage you to do so - it's not only better FOR you and your family, it's better for the land. If you live here in the BRK, both Forthill Farmstand and Square Roots Farm offer pork and beef, the latter also sells poultry (both chickens AND Thanksgiving turkeys).
'Til next time, happy BBQing.