One of my first childhood food memories is when a friend invited our family and a large group of friends to visit at his country home to a wild boar which he cooked for hours over a fire on a spit. I loved everything about it, the fire, the company, many of my childhood friends came from some of the other families, the flavors etc.
When we bought our house in Pennsylvania I decided to buy a spit as well. We had a few parties cooking a hog with friends from church and from work.
We are getting on the road
I decided to bring the spit when we left for our trip through the United States. For the longest time I did not use it as a lot of the time we were not allowed to make open fires because of the drought.
When we arrived in Idaho we boondocked on top of Mount Coeur d’Alene. It was one of the most beautiful spots we ever camped. As it happened we had to shop at Cosctco and we grabbed two chickens.
We picked up fire wood which was lying all over the place and cut it up with a saw and Basti’s hatchet.
Then one day I decided the time was right and started a fire in the afternoon. I put the chickens on the spit, put some seasoning on that friends gave us in Louisiana and started cooking.
A word on the seasoning
The seasoning was a mix of herbs and spices that came in a package. Normally I don’t like prepackaged spices but it came from a friend so we had to try it out.
I would use fresh harder herbs like rosemary, thyme and maybe tarragon, sliced lemon, fresh garlic, cayenne or any other pepper, olive oil etc to make my own rub or seasoning. Store bought mixes usually contain preservatives, stabilizers, anti caking agents etc. It does not take much to make your own and it will always taste better.
Cooking the chicken
It is always fun to cook anything over open flames. You can hang out by the fire with some friends, chat and maybe have a glass of wine or beer.
You have to keep the food far enough from the heat or else it will burn outside and still be raw in the center.
I had the chickens relatively far away from the flames and knocked the stakes further into the ground as time went by.
After about two hours and a couple of cold brews the chicken was ready. It looked beautiful. Because it was cooked so slowly the muscles did not contract very much and the meat stayed very moist and tender. I would have maybe liked a little more color but everyone was ready to eat.
In Texas many of the State parks have grills for smoking meat. I picked up Mesquite wood but never got to use it because of burn bans. So I used some of that towards the end to get some extra flavor.
I am not sure if that worked because there was not too much smoke flavor on the chickens but it tasted delicious anyway.
Because we already had a fire going we wrapped up potatoes and baked them in the embers.
The broccoli we just threw into a cast-iron pan that sat straight on the glowing wood.
Andrea and I feel this is the best way to cook any brassica, whether it is cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower or broccoli, cooked hard with some color-even some black, seasoned with salt and pepper and maybe finished with some olive oil, delicious.
This is by far my favorite kind of cooking. It is nice to do it with family but even nicer if you can have friends around sitting by the fire with a couple of drinks.
I hope we can have this again very soon.
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