I am back from my odyssey to become a better chicken cook and I can report to you that I think I will be. So the $367 in airfare, the $125 in rental car fees and the more than $50 I dropped at various food establishments in the Washington,  D.C. area was well worth it.

I am happy to say that from the time I got to Mary Ann’s house until the time I left, we did nothing but talk about food, visit various restaurants and buy various exotic ingredients in ethnic grocery stores. I just love that girl. She knows how to have a good time. Mary Ann introduced me to Peruvian chicken at Edy’s. I would actually buy another plane ticket to D.C. just to return and have some more of that chicken. It’s roasted on a rotisserie and the skin just crackles in your mouth.

But, of course, the main event was the chicken cooking class conducted by Chris Capell, the pitmaster of the Dizzy Pig BBQ team and the owner of the rub company that helps make them award winners. The class was at Chris’s house and that was fortunate because his wife made the most sensational chocolate toffee things involving saltine crackers that I will pass along in a future post.

So I understand you want to know what I learned but you’ll have to take his class. That’s the unwritten rule when you are privy to a pitmaster’s secrets. No passing along secrets to the general public at large. However, I will tell you that I discovered that Chris’s rubs really will change the way you cook. They are made from totally fresh ingredients and they all have unique flavors that I have never tasted in spice blends before. Fortunately for me, he gave us some to take home. But when I run out, I will be ordering from him again. And if you want to know when his classes are, sign up for his newsletter here.

Oh, OK. I will tell you one secret. No I won’t. What am I thinking? I am now back out on my deck in 80 degree weather with a Bloody Mary after spending six hours in that class in freezing temperatures with occasional downpours and hail. I momentarily lost focus.  The next thing you know I’ll be giving out Johnny Trigg’s super-secret rib recipe from the Smokin’ Triggers BBQ team. I have that one, too.

You’d think with all the secret recipes I have, that I would be standing up every week at a contest to receive my next Grand Champion award. But here is the secret I will reveal. It’s not the recipe. It’s the cook. It’s knowing how to come up with a unique flavor that will be universally appreciated. It’s about practicing, sometimes for years, to get that perfect piece of chicken or that delectable rib.

I guess I’d better get started. Mary Ann and I boldly decided, after a few glasses of wine (OK, more than a few), that we will concentrate on cooking this year. We will not beat Chris Capell or Johnny Trigg at their own game if we don’t get cracking.

I smell smoke.

One Comment

  1. JoAnn
    April 4, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    Cute! My mouth is watering, even though I just had salmon baked atop fresh asparagus baked atop bulgur. Also good.

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