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Blackened Chicken and the BBQ Rule of Thirds
April 08, 2009

Blackened Chicken and The BBQ Rule of Thirds.

Welcome to the latest issue of the Chargrill Chat.

This issue is going out to people 641 people world wide.

The first issue of the Chargrill Chat went out to just 5 people!

Today's issue:

1. What's New At The Barbecuehut
2. Recipe - Blackened Chicken.
3. Barbecue tip - Coat with a little oil.
4. Guest article - Barbecue Success With The Rule of Thirds.
5. Food trivia - America's Favorite Cocktails

What's New At The Barbecuehut?

I've had a busy month or so working on a number of projects so I've not had time to add much to the Barbecuehut website.

If you've been reading the last few issues of the Chargrill Chat you'll know that I was one of the winners of a competition to set-up an on-line business. So I've been working on completing some of the projects that I have related to that. One of the conditions when I won the competition was that I set-up an Ebay shop, which I did and I've been selling a few BBQ related items. I've now added one of my own items, a barbecue dry rub spice mix, and it's been selling quite well and I've had some good feedback from people that have bought it.. Take a look at my auction if you're interested.

I've also been working on a barbecue recipe book, which I hope to release in ebook format soon.

The weather over the last couple of weeks has been good enough to get the barbecue out and grill some food and as I've been making some batches of my barbecue rub to sell on Ebay I've taken the opportunity to put some to use myself. The recipe below is not exactly the same as the one I sell but it's good nevertheless. The sugar in the mix burns during cooking, giving a blackened crispy skin to the chicken. I use a spice mill for grinding the pepper and like to keep it quite coarse.

Recipe - Blackened Chicken

Serves: 6

Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 to 45 minutes
Marinating time: 2 hours, or more


  • One large chicken, cut into portions.

For the dry rub:

  • 1 tablespoon of coarse (sea or kosher) salt
  • 1 tablespoon of dark brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of paprika
  • 2 tablespoons of garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons of onion powder, or flakes
  • 1 tablespoon of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper

If you like your food you could add a teaspoon of chilli flakes.

  1. Put all of the dry rub ingredients into a bowl and mix well together.
  2. Put the chicken into a large shallow dish and then pour as much of the dry mix as you want over the chicken. You can keep any left over dry mix in an airtight container, in a cool, dark, dry place for four months or so.
  3. Massage the rub into the chicken, turning and massaging to ensure that it's fully covered in the spice mix. Cover and place in a refrigerator for 2 to 4 hours.
  4. Cook the chicken over medium hot coals for 30 to 45 minutes until the skin is blackened and the chicken is cooked through. Take care; the chicken breasts will cook faster than the legs.
  5. Serve with fresh salad and baked potatoes.

***Barbecue tip****

Coat the chicken in a little oil sprinkle on the spice mix, turning and sprinkling until the chicken is fully coated. Sometimes easier and less work than massaging the rub into the chicken.

Guest article - Barbecue Success With The Rule Of Thirds

Well, I'm cheating a bit here, this is one of my articles that I wrote five years ago when I first started the Barbecuehut it's hard to believe it was that long ago.

Author: Les Brand

Ever been to a barbecue party where the 'chef' placed as much food as he could possibly fit onto the barbecue grill, every so often stabbing the food with a fork and juggling it around so that it cooks evenly? Ever noticed how, within a few minutes, the flames start gently flickering under the food, the chef proudly standing back admiring the char grill effect that he's creating? Ever notice the panic that sets in when the flames suddenly leap up and around the food burning it black on the outside and leaving it raw on the inside?

The difference between great char grilled barbecue food and burnt offerings lies in a few small precautions. The chef that we've just described made a few fatal errors that could easily have been avoided. Before discussing the errors though, lets consider the equipment that we're talking about. Although the same can happen with gas as with charcoal, gas grills can be turned lower, or off, when the flames start getting out of control. The flames can also be controlled if the barbecue grill has a tight fitting lid, as with a Weber kettle grill. However most people seem to cook on an open top barbecue grill with the lid, if it has one, open. Note that we're talking about a barbecue grill here, where the food is cooked directly over the hot coals. True barbecue uses indirect heat with the food fully enclosed as though in an oven. So, the barbecue grill that our imaginary chef is using is an open top, charcoal, barbecue grill.

Now lets have a look at our imaginary chef's errors.

First, he filled the grate with charcoal along its entire length, providing a constant heat source with no area of lower heat to place food if it started to burn. A simple solution is to use the rule of thirds. Imagine the grate of your barbecue being in thirds. Fill two thirds of the grill with charcoal and leave the remaining third empty. Cook your food over the hot coals and when your food is ready, or starts to burn, or creates out of control flames, move it over to the section above the empty grate. The food will stay warm but wont cause any flare-ups. A further refinement can be had, if you've a large enough grill, by placing a double level of coals in one third of the grate, a single level of coals in the middle, and no coals in the final third. You now have three levels of heat!

A further mistake was to overfill the grill. Completely filling it leaves no room to manoeuvre the food. You're not able to turn it for even cooking and you've no space to move the food to a lower heat. Assuming that you're using the rule of thirds as described above, when you first start cooking, leave empty the area of the grill above where you've placed no coals. You've< then space to move the cooked food into. Secondly, don't pack the cooking part of the grill with food. Leave room to comfortably turn your food.

A second problem caused when over filling the grill is to use foods that require different cooking times. When the coals are first ready to use, they're at their hottest. This is the time to cook small, thin items of food that can be cooked in a short time with a high heat. These include items like sausages, burgers, kebabs and small pieces of meat off the bone. Don't forget that food, such as burgers and sausages, drip fat and juices onto the charcoal during cooking and it's this that causes flare-ups. So you'll need to constantly watch the items of food and move them to an area of lower heat if necessary. After the heat has died down somewhat, start grilling food that takes a little longer to grill like chops and steaks and meat on the bone. Finally when the heat is even lower, grill food like fruit kebabs that really only need heating through.

Last, but not least, our imaginary chef stabs his food with a barbecue fork to turn it over. Stabbing the meat causes the juices to flow out onto the coals, causing the meat to dry out and become tough, and producing a flare up which burns the food. When turning food, always use barbecue tongs.

With a charcoal barbecue controlling the heat is difficult. Instead you need to ensure that you cook your individual items of food at the most appropriate time and that you have separate areas of heat. Use the rule of thirds to provide separate areas of heat. When cooking your food, first grill quick cook food when the coals are at their hottest. Second, cook food that requires cooking at a mid temperature for a longer time. Thirdly, cook food that needs a low heat. Another rule of thirds!

Food trivia - America's Favorite Cocktails

According to bar sales across the U.S., here are the top 15 cocktails:
1) Dry martini
2) Manhattan
3) Whiskey sour
4) Bloody Mary
5) Gimlet
6) Daiquiri
7) Tom Collins
8) Old Fashioned
9) Margarita
10) Screwdriver
11) Bacardi
12) Stinger
13) Harvey Wallbanger
14) Gin & Tonic
15) Rum & Coke

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The Complete Illustrated Guide To Homemade Wine


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on a Shoestring Budget...

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Legitimate Cash Business You Can Be Proud Of…?”

Discover the step-by-step formula

That's it for this issue of the Chargrill Chat. I hope that you enjoyed it.

If you have any requests, or a recipe, or tip to share that you think other readers might like, or even if you disagree with anything in this newsletter, please email me at

Best regards,


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