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Bob Hart’s Recipe for Chicken Maryland


Now I have a favourite cut of chicken, and this is it: magnificent marylands – the joint that encompasses both the drumstick and the thigh of a bird, still joined.

Yes, this is dark-meat ? which means, simply, that it will always be moister and far tastier than any form of breast meat which, more often than not, will be dry and tasteless. And is overpriced. And often over-cooked, also.

Regular listeners will know I am not a fan of marinades which, at worst, can obliterate the natural flavours of things you marinate and, if the marinades have a high sugar content, which many do, will make a terrible mess of your grill. So ? forget marinades.

On this occasion, however, I place the chicken in a mix that some may see as a marinade. Perhaps it is, but I regard it more as a dressing It is simply something that will enhance the flavours in the joint, and do no harm to your grill. It is a method of preparing meat as we should always prepare it for the grill ? with olive oil, salt and pepper ? but also includes some juice and fresh herbs and gives them time to work their magic,

So, to put all that together, try this approach, which is similar to one used in the American south by Alabama chef Chris Lilly who recently visited Melbourne for our barbecue festival:

Buy a couple of marylands from your butcher ? free-range, skin on, of course. And big ones, ideally ? say, from a size 20 chicken.

Prepare the marinade by starting with plenty of EV olive oil ? ? cup is about right ? and the juice of half a lemon. Mix these in a bowl with plenty of sea salt and pepper (you will know much much as you prepare it), a couple of pinches of cayenne pepper, a couple of crushed garlic cloves and plenty of chopped flat-leaf parsley, basil leaves, oregano and coriander leaves.

I then place all of this in a large, resealable plastic bag after having worked over the chicken joints with a sharp fork to allow the flavours to penetrate the meat. Then, add them to the plastic bag. Close the bag and move the joints around in the bag to ensure they are evenly coated with the marinade, and them pop then in the fridge for at least four hours and, ideally, overnight.

To cook these beauties, fire up your barbecue to low. Around 140-150 deg is ideal. And if you are cooking over charcoal, add a few hickory chips or chunks to the fire. Sit the marylands on the grill and leave them in peace for 30-40 minutes or so. Then, flip them and cook them for about 20-30 minutes more, or until your instant-read digital thermometer registers an internal temperature of around 80 C. Lift from the grill and eat, slicing the meat from the bone if you like, or caveman style, which I prefer.

Note: It’s also helpful to make more marinade then you need, or to reserve some before you add the chicken, and to brush this over the marylands when you flip them.

This dish, like most roasted chicken dishes, goes with white barbecue sauce which, if you have never made, you should.

Try this:

2 cups mayonnaise (Best Foods is ideal)

1 cup apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup apple juice

2 tsp bottled horseradish

2 tsp fresh lemon juice

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste, and a pinch of cayenne.

Combine and blend well.