So, we have this local butcher and my family has been going there for years. My wonderful grandparents, who have since passed on, would religiously go (together of course) to pick up meat for their Friday night burgers or get their awesome chicken dijons to fry up in a skillet. They would joke with my mom about ‘Mr. Smiley’ who ran the place. It was all sarcasm as even after years of loyal service this guy wouldn’t crack a smile at the repeat customers. Somehow though my grandparents and mom would continue to go. I guess the meat was just that good.
Since I’ve grown and prepared food on my own for my family there has been a turnover and the butchers actually great me with a smile. They would always ask how my grandparents are – with sincere concern since they hadn’t seen them in awhile. And I would have to tell them ‘not well’ and they would actually care. Now that time has passed they ask about my mom and if I don’t have the boys with me it’s always ‘where is the big guy?’ I always wonder which boy they are referring to.
This summer something new has popped up at the butcher, aside from their awesome prepared burgers. Hello, Green Big Egg. You’ve heard of this thing, right? It’s the grill to have. Charcoal flavor, without the fuss. I’m sorry, I love the convenience of gas but charcoal is the way to go and the from scratch and authentic side of me has been lusting after one of these glossy eggs for quite some time.
The guys knew, and began teasing me a few weeks ago whenever I’d walk in and practically begin to pet one of the eggs. ‘You only live once’ I’d hear over and over. You know what? It’s true. Yes that rationale doesn’t work on a daily basis for multiple huge purchases but here and there it is acceptable. My birthday is in August. M’s birthday is in August. B’s birthday is in August. Happy birthday, family. Here is one heck of a grill.
I think the best way to sum up is from a dinner party a few weeks ago when it was mentioned that you really don’t enjoy eating out after getting a Green Egg and I couldn’t agree more. We’ve had the best chicken of our lives. The burgers we grilled were ridiculous. There is just no comparison.
I realize it’s not an option most days to just drop $1000 on a grill but if you’ve been toying with the idea, well, you only live once…
Get one, and make this basil lemon pepper chicken.
- 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus 1/4 cup
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds, coarsely crushed
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
- 3 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
- 1 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves
- 1 large garlic clove
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
- Whisk 1/3 cup of oil, 3 tablespoons of lemon juice, fennel seeds, 3/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper into a resalable plastic bag.
- Add the chicken and seal the bag. Massage the marinade into the chicken.
- Refrigerate at least 30 minutes and up to 1 day, turning the chicken occasionally.
- Meanwhile, blend the basil, garlic, lemon peel, remaining 1/4 cup lemon juice, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a blender.
- Gradually blend in the remaining 1/3 cup oil.
- Season the basil sauce, to taste, with more salt and pepper, if needed.
- Prepare the barbecue for medium heat.
- Remove chicken from the marinade. Discard the marinade.
- Grill the chicken until just cooked through, about 10sih minutes per side.
- Transfer the chicken to serving plates, drizzle with the basil sauce and serve.