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Isan BBQ Chicken: Gai Ping
8-10
servings
Main
Course
Print Recipe
Ingredients
Directions
Brine
1 gal
water
Jump
½ c
kosher salt
Jump
½ c
granulated sugar
Jump
2
whole chickens, about 2 1/2 pounds each, split in half, backs removed
Jump
Marinade
¼ c
thinly sliced lemongrass
Jump
2 tbsp
peeled garlic cloves
Jump
¼ c
cilantro root or stems
Jump
1 tsp
coriander seeds
Jump
1 tbsp
yellow curry powder
Jump
tsp
MSG (optional)
Jump
2 tbsp
oyster sauce
Jump
1 tbsp
fish sauce
Jump
2 tbsp
canola oil
Jump
½ tbsp
kosher salt
Jump

BBQ chicken is everywhere on the streets and in the markets of Isan. You can smell it from afar, like a smoke signal commanding you to come and eat. Chicken, roasted or barbecued, just spells comfort. It’s easy and delicious. And with gai yang, sticky rice, and tum som, you’ve got a complete meal.

Directions

  1. Brine the chicken: In a large pot, combine the water, salt, and sugar. Bring to a boil to dissolve the sugar and salt, then turn off the heat and let the brine cool completely. Transfer to a container large enough to hold both chickens and fit in the fridge. Add the chickens to the brine and refrigerate for 24 hours.
  2. Marinate the chicken: In a mortar, pound the lemongrass, garlic, cilantro root or stems, and coriander seeds to a paste. Stir in the curry powder, MSG, if using, oyster sauce, fish sauce, oil, and salt and mix well. Remove the chicken halves from the brine and drain well; transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add the marinade and toss to coat. Marinate, refrigerated, for at least 8 hours, but no more than 16.
  3. COOK THE MEAT: Preheat a grill to low, using gas, charcoal, or wood. Grill the chicken halves over low heat, flipping and watching carefully— it will take about 1 hour. To help with even heating and create a sort of hot smoker, you can cover the chicken with a lid as it cooks. To tell whether the chicken is done, check the color of the flesh between the thigh and the breast: The juices should run clear and the meat look opaque. Once done, the chickens can be hacked through the bones with a Chinese cleaver. Serve with Hot, Sweet, and Sour Dipping Sauce for BBQ Chicken or Charred Tomato and Chile Relish.