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July 2000 Issue
Heat up your chicken
by Joseph Deinlein
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Some like it hot. If you don't, then for your own safety do not eat the chicken described below.

I like hot food. If I'm sweating after a meal, I know it was a good one. I'm not sure why. I don't know if it's because I like the tang of spicy food. Maybe it's the cool feeling of perspiration afterward. Maybe I'm just a glutton for punishment.

But if you're like me, then you'll like my grilled Damn Hot chicken.

In the Store

First things first. Get yourself a bag of whole, boneless chicken breasts. I usually purchase the bulk bag of 20-25 breasts for around $10, but you can get individually cut chicken as well.

While you're at the grocery store, also pick up a bottle of hot sauce. There are many different kinds to choose from. If you prefer more tang than heat to your chicken, a bottle of Frank's Redhot is recommended. If you desire more fire, Texas Pete or Crystal's Hot Sauce are good choices. If you're a maniac or have a death wish, then brews like Dave's Insanity Sauce or Endorphin Rush might do the trick (and possibly kill you, please read the warnings on the label before purchasing and using).

Head towards the spices and pick out a bottle of seasoned pepper. This adds a nice look to your bird, as well as a sizzling taste.

Finally, grab a canister of Old Bay Seafood Seasoning, produced by the McCormick Spice company. While originally used for seafood, this spice is very versatile and can be used on a host of other foods, including poultry.

In Review, The Ingredients and Tools

  • Whole, boneless chicken breast
  • Frank's Redhot or hot sauce substitute, depending upon heat preference
  • Old Bay seasoning
  • Seasoned pepper
  • Gas grill
  • Tongs
  • Plate

In the Kitchen

Once you get home, pick out a fine looking piece and, if not defrosted, pop it in the microwave on high for about 12 to 13 minutes. If your microwave has an auto defrost function, you might want to use this.

As always, be sure to wash your hands frequently to prevent salmonella or other bacteria from infecting you and making your life a living hell.

At the Grill

While thawing, run out and turn on your grill. Set the flame on low for now so as to conserve fuel. Also set your hot sauce, spices, a clean plate and tongs in a convenient place near the grill.

Once defrosted, dump the chicken on the grill and savor the sizzle. At this point, turn the gas up on high and grab your bottle of hot sauce.

Shake the bottle vigorously, remove the lid, and literally turn the bottle bottom's up. Then coat the chicken with the red sauce. Slop it on. Don't stop until every square millimeter of the chicken is covered. This is the first step to truly creating that "Damn Hot" taste. The hot sauce acts as a base and glue to hold all of your other spices to the poultry. Now grab the Old Bay and perform a similar action, completely covering the breast. Do the same with the seasoned pepper, though you might want to go a little easy with it as sometimes it can make you cough while eating and that's no fun.

Let the breast cook on for about eight minutes, or until it would appear that the sauce is starting to dry out a little.

Meanwhile, if you want a side with your chicken, now would be the time to start it. Noodles and sauce, potatoes, or stuffing work pretty well.

After eight minutes comes the tricky part. You have to carefully flip the chicken while loosing the least amount of spice mix possible. You'll need to grab the chicken at one end, without sliding it all over the bird and scraping off the sauce. Then, with a quick flip (and possibly some movement about the grill) put the chicken on its other side, exposing the unseasoned side for all the world to see. It should look cooked, meaning there should not still be any pink parts. If there are, then it hasn't been at least eight minutes or your gas isn't on high. If this happens, you'll have to flip it back in a similar manner and continue cooking properly until the poultry is cooked all the way through (for God's sake, don't eat uncooked chicken).

Assuming that the cook and flip were successful, repeat the steps for sauce and spice application. Allow the bird to cook for another eight or so minutes, or until the sauce looks like it's drying a little.

Again, a little dexterity is needed to put the chicken on the plate. You don't want much, if any, of the spice to remain stuck on the grill (it sucks trying to clean it). Carefully pull the bird up from the rack and put it on the plate.

If you have any seasonings stuck to the grill, take the metal part of your grill brush and carefully knock as much of it as you can into the flame below. You might want to leave the gas on for a few more minutes in an effort to either burn off or dry out any leftover grease and gunk.

Take your Damn Hot Chicken inside. Put your sides on your plate. A small bowl of extra hot sauce also adds just a tiny bit more heat for those whose digestive tracts can handle it.

To drink, I recommend a glass of sweetened iced tea or some sort of sugary drink. The sugar helps to counteract the burning sensation your tongue will be experiencing.

Good luck!

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