By Colleen Walsh Fong
Summer’s here! Well, not formally. The season officially begins with the summer solstice, which usually falls on June 21st. But Americans tend to use Memorial Day and Labor Day to bookend those lazy, hazy, crazy days.
Memorial Day honors soldiers who died during U.S. military service. Since 1971 it’s been observed on the last Monday in May as part of a 3-day holiday weekend. But it was originally celebrated on May 30th, 1868 to honor Civil War troops of both sides. Soldiers who died in all U.S. wars were included after World War I. During the 20th century it evolved further. People began using the occasion to remember nonmilitary loved ones by leaving flowers on their graves. Over the years a host of traditions for the holiday have developed, including parades, retail sale events, picnics and parties, and annual auto races including the Indianapolis 500. Today citizens mark the holiday by displaying the stars and stripes, wearing red poppies and decorating ancestral grave sites with flowers before beginning festivities.
Are you entertaining guests this Memorial Day? Or making a picnic to enjoy in the backyard, park or beach? If you’re in need of a main course idea, try making this grilled chicken recipe. Grill lots of it and use the leftovers for chicken salad the next day. I use applewood chips because their smoke infuses a rich bacon-y flavor into the meat. Since it’s intended to be served cold, go ahead and make the chicken up to 24 hours in advance and keep it cool until you’re ready to serve it.
Smokin’ Chicken Drumsticks
• 2 C Applewood Smoking Chips
• 24 Chicken Legs,
• 2 Heads Garlic, cloves smashed and peeled
• Salt and Pepper
• Extra Virgin Olive Oil
• Soy Sauce
• 18”-long piece of Aluminum Foil
• Grilling Basket or rack, lightly greased with olive oil or olive oil spray
· Soak applewood chips for 30-60 minutes.
· Heat grill to highest heat. If using a gas grill with 2 burner controls, put both controls on high. If using traditional charcoal, mound coals over to one side of grill.
· Drain chips and wrap in foil, leaving a 1” opening in top of packet. Place foil packet on grill rack, over to one side and directly over hot coals.
· Pat chicken dry. Season with salt and pepper and brush lightly with soy sauce and oil.
· Spread garlic cloves over bottom of grilling basket. Lay chicken legs on top of garlic.
· When chips start smoking place basket on the opposite side of grill from chip packet. Turn off the heat on that side of gas grill.
· Grill chicken about 45 minutes. Check to be sure juices are clear. Skin should be deep brown in color and crispy to touch.
· Move the basket to a cooling trivet and rest the chicken for 30-40 minutes. It will be moist and very tender.
· Refrigerate chicken until cold and serve it when you are ready.
Got leftovers? Make chicken salad.
Smokin’ Chicken Salad
• Left-over Chicken Meat, boned and minced
• 1 Scallion per cup of meat, minced
• 1 Celery stalk per cup of meat, minced
• Salt and Pepper
• ½ C Mayonnaise per cup of meat
• ½ tsp Dijon Mustard per cup of meat
• Pretzel Rolls
· Mix all dry ingredients.
· Mound mayonnaise on top of mixed ingredients.
· Fold mustard into mayonnaise, and then fold mayonnaise blend into dry ingredient mix.
· Spread on rolls and serve.
How do you plan to celebrate Memorial Day?
Image courtesy of piyato / FreeDigitalPhotos.net