Saturday, October 20, 2012

King Ranch Chicken

The past two weeks I have cooked a lot of comfort food, doing beans twice. I think because the cool fall weather makes me hungry for that type of food and a little because I don’t have to worry about pleasing the kids and grandson since they moved out. My wife doesn’t like beans so tonight I would do a chicken dish for her.

I decided on King Ranch chicken. This dish was named for the King Ranch in South Texas, one of the largest in the world 825,000 acres. It is not known whether this casserole recipe originated on the ranch. I first heard about Rotel tomatoes back in the 80’s on a visit to my sister in Texas. I sent to Rotel for a cook book called, “Snake, Rattle & Rotel”, by Crazy Sam Higgens 1986. I use Rotel tomatoes a lot in chili but don’t think I ever made the King Ranch chicken.

I smoked a whole cut up chicken and a spaghetti squash. I did this up early for using the two breast meat for the casserole and would reheat the squash when ready to eat. I did the chicken for 45 minutes on smoke then to 300 deg. to finish. I put the squash on just after the chicken, total cook time for the chicken about 2 hours and did the squash another ½ hour.

The chicken was brined for two hours in 1/3 cup kosher salt, ¼ cup brown sugar and 1/8 cup molasses in ½ gallon of water. I seasoned the breasts w/Penzey’s Cajun and the rest w/Lawry’s seasoning salt. I placed a hunk of butter in each squash half and seasoned w/Calif. Style garlic salt. The butter was nice to use for basting the chicken a couple of times. I like the squash better done in the oven, I place it cut side down over a pat of butter on a cookie sheet, 350 deg. about 1 ½ hours. It came out a little drier on the smoker but had a nice smoke taste.

When the kids came to get the grandson after school they decided to stay for supper, it sounded good to them. I cut up both breasts to use and used Rotel mild tomatoes & chilies. We had some Home Pride brown bread and butter with it. Everyone liked it and I was thinking I should have tried this a long time ago! I think it would be good with or over mashed potatoes too.

Link to the recipe I used

Casserole ingredients


Spaghetti Squash


On the smoker, after 1 hour


Chickens done


Molasses in the brine gave it a nice color


Peppers, onions and chicken simmering before adding tomatoes and soup


King Ranch Chicken


My Plate


Smokin Don

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