How to Make Smoky Pulled Barbecue Chicken

With homemade sauce, this pulled chicken barbecue sandwich is the best version we have found. It works well due to dry brining the chicken overnight with a mix of salt and classic spices while keeping it juicy. Slow smoking the chicken itself over indirect heat allows for the smoky penetration of the meat. This recipe feeds 8.

 

  • ACTIVE TIME:2 hours
  • TOTAL TIME:10 hours

Ingredients

For the Chicken and Rub:

  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 whole chickens, halved and backbones discarded or reserved for another use

For the Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion (about 1 medium onion)
  • 2 teaspoons freshly minced garlic (about 2 medium cloves)
  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 fist-size chunk of light smoking wood, such as apple or cherry
  • Sandwich rolls, for serving (optional)
  • Coleslaw, for serving (optional)
  • Type of fire: Indirect
  • Grill heat: Low

Directions

  1. For the Chicken and Rub: Mix together salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne pepper in a small bowl. Season chicken halves all over with rub and refrigerate for at least 6 and up to 12 hours.
  2. For the Sauce: Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and browned around the edges, about 7 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in ketchup, apple juice, brown sugar, honey, vinegar, molasses, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, soy sauce, and hot sauce. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened, 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
  3. Puree sauce with an immersion blender, or transfer sauce to the jar of a standard blender, and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. If not using right away, transfer to a jar and store in refrigerator.
  4. Fire up smoker or grill to 225°F. Add wood chunk to smoker following manufacturer’s instructions, or set wood chunk on top of embers if using a grill. Place chickens in smoker or on grill over indirect heat, and cook until breast meat registers 160°F on an instant read thermometer, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Remove from smoker and let chickens rest until cool enough to handle.
  5. Using hands or two forks, pull chicken into thin strands, discarding skin, cartilage, and excess fat.
  6. Measure out 3/4 cup of barbecue sauce and set aside. Reheat remaining barbecue sauce in a large saucepan. Stir shredded chicken into hot barbecue sauce and cook until chicken is warmed throughout. Serve immediately on sandwich rolls with reserved barbecue sauce and coleslaw, if desired.

Barbecued pulled chicken is slow smoked, shredded, and then mixed with a flavorful barbecue sauce creating a bold yet not overpowering flavor that will have your family begging for more!

Boost Your Brain Power… By Eating!

We all know that diet is a crucial component of keeping your body healthy, but recently there has been overwhelming scientific evidence that eating the right foods can improve the health of your brain as well. Some effect your ability to focus while others might slow brain aging, but all of the foods on the following list are good for your mental capacity in the long run!

  • Coffee – It should come as no surprise that this wonder beverage is on the list. We’ve long known about the stimulus effect of caffeine, but new studies show that it also improves memory and mental decline (in older people).
  • In this vein, tea is also very good for your brain. In addition to caffeine, tea includes theanine, an amino acid that calms while also cutting fatigue.
  • Fish is a no-brainer here, for the obvious reason that they’re heavy in omega-3s, which help actually build brain cell membranes. If you don’t eat fish, flax oil and chia seeds are also an excellent source of omega-3s.
  • Turmeric – Champions of herbal remedies have long known of the benefits of this bright orange spice, which is an anti-inflammatory and also cuts your risk of dementia.
  • Chocolate – Don’t overdose on this one, but chocolate is actually excellent for your mood (shocker) and can help with mild depression and day-to-day uplift!
  • Blueberries are a wonder fruit. They contain high levels of anthocyanins, which help maintain brain function long term and boost the brain’s signaling capabilities! It also makes the fruit blue!
  • Beets might be an acquired taste for most, but they have a lot of benefits! These brightly colored roots boost blood flow and oxygen levels, which can help older people stave off frontal-lobe deterioration!
  • Spinach has a ton of good things in all that leafy greenness, including lots of vitamin K, which prevents hardening in arteries. One study of older people showed that those who consumed two servings of leafy greens a day had cognitive abilities that were those of a person 11 years younger than themselves! Now those are results!

Sonic Unveils Next-Level Mushroom Burger

Mushrooms and ground beef are a winning combination. From beef casseroles to mushrooms on burgers, there’s just something about the juicy, well-cooked beef and those tasty fungi that is magically delicious. Fast food chain Sonic agrees, because they’re about to start testing a new burger called the Sonic Slinger, which has mushrooms actually mixed in with the patty itself! The burger chain says that each Slinger is about 25-30% mushrooms, which sounds like a tasty mix to us!

However, Sonic didn’t just create this burger to add yet another delicious option to their menu. They actually did it as part of the Blended Burger Project, which began in 2015 as a way to bring awareness to the amount of carbon that beef creates, and which challenges chefs to create their own mushroom burgers of at least 25% mushrooms. Cows produce high levels of methane, which is a greenhouse gas that affects the atmosphere 23 times more than carbon dioxide. Beef is also not terribly healthy for people to consume because of the levels of saturated fats and it’s link to heart disease. Thus burgers with mushrooms in them, even if it’s only 30%, are healthier for you and for the environment!

Sonic is rolling out it’s new Slinger in a few test markets across the country starting in August, and we predict that if it is received well, more and more burger joints across the country will join in! They’re the first major chain to join the Blended Burger Project, but plenty of restaurants have attempted the challenge on their own, and the results look delicious to say the least! This year’s challenge is going on all summer, so check out their site to see if there’s one near you!

https://www.jamesbeard.org/blendedburgerproject

Square Watermelons Corner the Market

At this point, we’re pretty used to strange and wondrous things coming out of Japan. Somehow, the island nation always seems to surprise the rest of the world with an inventiveness mixed with offbeat charm that both impresses and delights. This summer is no different, because Japan just announced their largest ever crop of square watermelons! Yes, perfectly natural, non-GMO, cube shaped melons ripe for eating!

But, how? And… why? Both answers are so surprisingly simple that it’s shocking no one has thought of them before. It turns out that square watermelons are much easier to store and cut! DUH! In a crowded nation like Japan where people often have to adjust to less space, any way they can cut corners (if you’ll forgive the pun) in the storage department is good news. Plus, we’ve all tried to cut a watermelon only to have it roll dangerously at the last second. Imagine being able to set it down and KNOW that it’s not going anywhere!

But how exactly did they get fruit to grow that way in the first place? Why, put the seedling in a box, of course! Fruits (and melons in particular) are surprisingly durable, and they’ll grow around whatever barriers they can as long as they get the proper nutrients. In this case, Japanese watermelon farmers put the buds inside a firm mold (a box that won’t break) and as the watermelons matured, they grew to the sides and then upwards for a nice, easy-to-handle square shape! In this way, it’s not unlike the art of bonsai, another Japanese plant cultivation where trees are grown in containers and are trained to stay small. This melon trick is a lot easier to pull off in your own garden, however – check it out here and let us know the results!

http://www.instructables.com/id/Grow-a-square-watermelon/

Make Your Mornings Out of This World With this Galactic Bagel

Mornings are tough if you’re not… well, a morning person. Everyone has days where you sit down at the breakfast table, gaze unseeing into your soggy bowls of cheerios, and ponder the great meaninglessness of existential reality. Usually, a healthy dose of caffeine can snap you out of this, but for truly dark days when your morning joe can’t help you claw your way out of the feeling that the world is an empty and hollow place, you need GALAXY BAGELS!!!

That’s right, folks – it’s a bagel that looks (kind of) like a galaxy! The Bagel Shop in Brooklyn, which went viral last year for creating the Rainbow Bagel, is at it again with this colorful confection that uses a swirl black, blue, and purple dyed dough to create an otherworldly-looking bagel! We’re betting this is more of a sweet breakfast than bagels are usually; it’s topped with blue or pink sugar that really makes it seem too sparkly to eat!

If you do want to attempt these tempting treats, New York locals and visitors can stop by The Bagel Store at 754 Metropolitan Ave in Brooklyn, and if you can’t make it to the brick-and-mortar, all of their bagels are available online at RainbowBagel.com. If this beautiful creation isn’t enough (sugar) to get you up and moving in the morning, at least you’ll be staring down this representation of a black hole on your plate, instead of those sad cheerios. Hey, if the metaphor fits…