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International Barbeque: Smokey Tandoori Chicken Recipe

International Barbecue: BBQ Fusion

They say there’s no place like home and for the most part, I agree. But I find it’s also exciting and enlightening to look outside of one’s home, neighborhood, city, and state to find something tasty and unique. Many countries don’t have what Americans would call “traditional” barbecue. But that doesn’t mean we can’t find inspiration in the flavors and culinary practices offered by our foreign friends.

Today, I’d like to give you a dish that you can use or modify to add variety to your bag of Barbecue tricks. I hope you find it as interesting as I did!

Smokey Tandoori Chicken Recipe

The classic version of this dish is one of my favorites. The flavor profile found here takes you straight to India. But what if we changed things up a bit? What if we varied the recipe and added some more traditional barbecue flavors and cooking practices to the mix? Then you’d get an incredible fusion effect your friends will never let you live down.

Traditional Tandoori uses yogurt, red chili powder, garam masala powder, black pepper powder, salt, lime, and ginger/garlic paste. Some recipes also use cumin and mustard oil. For the cooking process, most chefs use a tandoor which is a form of oven that allows the drippings to fall to the bottom of the oven and be heated to release smoke back into the chicken. Sound familiar?

Here’s where the changes come in. Your new ingredients will be yogurt (about 1 tablespoon per 5 oz of chicken), ½ cup of brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of red chili powder, 1 tablespoon of cumin, ½ cup of paprika, salt to taste, pepper to taste, 1 ½ tablespoons of garlic powder, and 2 teaspoons of mustard oil. Depending on how many servings you are planning on making, your usage amount for said ingredients will change. Simply adjust your amounts based on your expected dining party.

Once you’ve settled on how many people you’re cooking for, mix the salt, red chili powder, cumin, paprika, black pepper, brown sugar, and garlic powder together to create your rub. Next, score the chicken several times so that the rub can seep into the meat. Apply this as you would any barbecue rub and allow the chicken to sit for about 30 minutes. Next, add 1 tablespoon of chili powder, 1 tablespoon of garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of cumin, salt to taste, and ¼ cup of paprika to the yogurt and whisk it together. Once done, add the mustard oil and whisk. A word on mustard oil: don’t overdo it. Cover the chicken thoroughly in the yogurt marinade. Now we’re on to the good part.

Smoke the chicken for 2 hours at 260-270 degrees. Wood choice here depends on whether or not you want a strong smoke flavor or something subtle. A fruit wood could add a savory but not overpowering flavor while a choice like hickory or mesquite would be a much more prominent “smoky” taste. The choice is yours. About halfway through the cooking process, some chefs will baste the chicken in salted butter to give it an extra savory taste.

Many of India’s dishes share similarities with American dishes. If it weren’t for the exotic curries used in their cooking, they might almost seem familiar. In any case, you’ll be enjoying a unique combination of two great world flavors. I found this recipe to be quite delicious and I hope you do too!

By: Joshua Rooks


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