I made this super simple Grilled Buttermilk Chicken just to prove a point to myself. The point being that I know a thing or two about cooking. Which I suppose is supposed– because I spend so much time pecking out recipes on this keyboard.
But the thing about writing a cooking blog is this: sometimes the cooking gets lost. It happens to the best of us. There’s a lot to think about, a lot of it isn’t even cooking. SEO. Social Media. Links.
Which is why most blogs (these days) have gorgeous photos. But if you look closely, sometimes the gorgeous you see is not the food– but the props. The gorgeous props make the food seem great looking, it’s true. I’m not saying gorgeous props aren’t part of the fun of a food blog. But sometimes I find myself focusing on the great forks and knives and hardly noticing the food. Maybe that’s just me. I’ve been known to obsess.
So to prove to myself that I’m not at all like that (no, not at all), I sometimes like to present simple food. The kind of food that requires no recipe and no props at all. The kind of food that proves that I know a thing or two about cooking.
Grilled Buttermilk Chicken
Take this Grilled Buttermilk Chicken. It demonstrates two things I know about cooking. First it proves that brines do more than impart great taste– they change the chemistry of food. Second, it proves that if you don’t know your way around a backyard grill then you need to learn a thing or two about cooking. Now I’m not saying I’m a grill-master, I leave that to the big boys like Chris at Nibble Me This. But when the weather warms– I know a thing or two about grilling. Just enough to keep me out of the kitchen.
Watch me combine what I know about cooking with what I know about grilling.
Grilled chicken is an American summer classic; perfect for a picnic or a backyard dinner. Buttermilk chicken is also a classic. Southern cooks use buttermilk as a brine for fried chicken. One of the things I know about chicken is that buttermilk chicken need not be limited to the frying pan. Buttermilk has a certain magic known as lactic acid that comes from being a dairy product. This principle is not just limited to America either. Mediterranean cooks use yogurt to improve the texture and flavor of goat and mutton, because its chemistry works much the same as buttermilk. Many folks will say that the acids in buttermilk and yogurt tenderize the meat, which is a simplistic way of explaining what actually happens. You see, the lactic acid in dairy products trigger “aging” enzymes within the meat, which loosen the proteins that bind muscle fibers together. It breaks them down. Much the way that too many reps at the gym does. Leading to that day after muscle-ache we all know and hate.
So when it comes to grilling don’t forget everything you know about cooking. Grilling is cooking. Here’s the other thing I know about grilling (I said I knew a thing or two…). Nobody wants to be stuck in the kitchen with their head in the fryer on a sultry summer night. So get outside and get to know your grill. Oh, and take your buttermilk with you. I did. GREG
I have been brining chicken in buttermilk/spices for frying and this fine spring morning was thinking about grilling. So I thought I’d check to see if this would be a good option — and came across your blog. Excellent timing! Tonight’s it’s buttermilk-brined grilled chicken with fresh greens and corn on the cob.