Editors note - please forgive me if this article is somewhat truncated. I lost the first version when it didn't save...ARGHHHH!
It's October 2, the air is crisp, football has started, baseball is entering the drama of the Postseason...and I'm smoke-tissing on my Alfresco ALXE42SZ grill.
Before we get started let me throw a definition your way:
smoke-tissing - cooking on a rotisserie using a combination of the grill's smoker and infrared burner.
You can see another video that I created last winter where I smoke-tissed on the Alfresco ALXE42 grill.
Now I've decided to approach it from a different angle.
Using Alfresco's incredible SFI-POD (solid fuel insert), I'm going to smoke-tiss-roast the bird. Translation:the chicken goes on the rotiss spit, the solid fuel box will be placed below it with lump hardwood charcoal and two pans of root vegetables who will bathe in the luxurious drippings of the turning bird.
I tried this around one month ago and it was a mess - I didn't place the drip pans underneath the chicken, the chicken dripped directly on the lit hardwood charcoal and that resulted in a massive flame shooting out of the back of the grill and a chicken that was burnt to a crisp (at least exterior was, the inside was still pretty moist as it wasn't over 170 F).
So I had a few key changes this time around - first, I would use a drip pan filled with root vegetables, drizzled with olive oil with a nice sprinkling of coarse Kosher salt and cracked pepper. The drip pan would negate the flare ups and the root vegetables would accent the dish both visually and turn into a flavor bomb after absorbing the drippings from the chicken on the rotisserie.
Secondly, I would lower the amount of lump charcoal that I used in the SFI-POD. If I have learned anything from using the box in the last 9 months, it's that it gets incredibly hot...as in 1000F + hot. Aside from running the risk of incinerating your food, it has the potential to act as a detonator when fat drips on it. So again, drip pan would be placed under the chicken, and less coal would be used to cook with. And this leads to one of the great features of the SFI-POD - it is so easy to load more coal in it during a cook. Try doing that with a kamado which will require you to move the food on the grate to get access to remove grate in order to load more coal. Awkward.
Third difference is that I decided to limit the amount of wood that I used in the SFI-POD and instead generated my smoke from the integrated smoker box/herb infusion system in the grill. I had been reluctant to use the smoker box in the past bc I didn't think it was generating enough smoke and it was too-far away from the chicken. However due to the heavy flareups I have experienced, I wanted to focus on controlling the heat to a manageable level in the SFI-POD. Wood (even soaked) would undoubtedly raise the temperature in the box, so the smoker tray was in play. This was a great move as the tray gave off controlled, even amounts of smoke and was incredibly easy to refill as needed.
I used a Bell & Evans 3.5 lb chicken stuffed with lemon, garlic rosemary and sage. The exterior was brushed with olive oil and Adobo seasoning.
I used Royal Oak hardwood lump charcoal (not my preferred choice but I was in a bind. Kamado Joe charcoal is much better as the pieces are larger and not as much dust) and Kamado Joe Apple wood chips.
As you can see from the pictures below, the results were astounding. The bird was cooked on the rotisserie for 1.5 hours using only the SFI-POD for heat. For the last 15 minutes of the cook I activated the infrared rotisserie burner to achieve that dark crisp skin that solely smoking will not deliver. The bird was crispy on the outside and incredibly moist inside, with a kick from the seasoning and a light smoky touch to it. And the root vegetables - wow. I used red potatoes, scallions, yams and carrots. The yams were otherworldly. The sugar from the yam combined with the crispiness of the skin, the moistness of the interior and the smokiness created a taste that sent me into a reverie. Brilliant!