Bobby Flay has a new cookbook, “Bobby Flay’s Bar Americain Cookbook,” chock-full of recipes from his New York restaurant Bar Americain. We’ve never been to his restaurant, but we’re big fans of his recipes from his other books. He has a creative, yet no-nonsense and relatively simple approach to cooking that we find easy to adapt to our home cooking and grilling. Although many restaurant-based cookbooks can be quite intimidating, this first recipe we tried from Chef Flay’s book wasn’t difficult at all, and the result was restaurant-quality food at home. The chicken was perfectly roasted with a slightly smoky flavor, and the black pepper vinegar sauce was one of the best sauces for chicken we’ve ever tasted. The sauce is the star of this dish and it is crazy simple to make. It might also be good as a salad dressing. Heck, I could almost drink it, it’s so good.
Dan decided to do the chicken “spatchcocked” (backbone and sternum removed so the chicken flattens out), but you could also leave it whole, or just buy and cook chicken pieces. After flattening and rinsing the chicken, pat it dry, remove any excess fat, brush the chicken with canola or vegetable oil and generously season with salt and pepper.
One of the reasons I picked this recipe was so that Dan could try the “cold smoke” technique with his beloved smoker. Turns out that cold smoking isn’t really the ideal use for this type of smoker, oops. The cold smoke technique uses just enough heat to infuse the meat (or fish, or veggies) with a slightly smoky flavor, without actually cooking the food. Technically, cold smoke temperatures should be under 100 degrees, but it would be difficult to get our smoker down that low (at least we haven’t figured it out yet.) Instead, we decided to briefly smoke the chicken, then finish it by roasting it in the oven. We used hickory chips and smoked the chicken for about 30 minutes. Doing it this way resulted in a much more subtle smoky flavor than when we’ve fully cooked poultry in the smoker in the past. You don’t have to cold smoke the chicken at all — this dish would still be delicious with a simple roasted chicken.
Next, prepare the sauce ingredients: Dijon mustard, honey, rice wine vinegar, canola oil, olive oil and salt & pepper.
Start by whisking together the mustard, honey, vinegar, salt and pepper.
Dan heard a tip somewhere that if you warm the measuring spoon prior to pouring the honey into it, the honey will easily slide off the spoon into the bowl. Yeah, not so much.
Combine the canola and olive oils, then slowly add the oil mixture to the bowl with the other sauce ingredients, stirring constantly until the sauce is emulsified.
Remove the cold-smoked chicken from the grill and place it on a rack in a roasting pan (we used a cookie sheet), then roast the chicken in the oven preheated to 450 degrees until the chicken begins to turn golden brown — about 20 minutes.
After the chicken turns golden brown, reduce the heat to 350 degrees and continue roasting until the chicken’s internal temperature of the breast meat reaches about 155-160 degrees — about another hour of roasting time. Remove the finished chicken from the oven, tent it with foil and allow it to rest for about 15 minutes before carving.
Spoon some of the sauce into small bowls for dipping, then drizzle the remaining sauce on the serving platter or individual serving plates before plating the chicken.
We served the chicken with mac-n-cheese and green beans. We really enjoyed the subtle smoky flavor of the chicken, complemented by the amazing sauce with mustard, vinegar and sweet honey flavors. Whether cold-smoked or not, the next time you roast or grill chicken, whip up a batch of this sauce — you’ll be so glad you did!