After a full day of eating “high on the hog” yesterday, we’re thinking we need some lighter things for Sunday dinner. Chicken and salmon on a pellet grill are about as easy as it gets, and the great news is that they don’t take a lot of time.
One of our favorite ways to do chicken on a pellet grill is to just do whole chickens. Prep could not be easier – take them out of the package, make sure the giblets and anything else is cleared out of the cavity, season them up, and put them on the grill.
Our favorite seasoning rub for poultry is yet another Meathead Goldwyn fave, “Simon and Garfunkel Rub”. At the risk of dating ourselves, think of their famous song … “parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme …” The recipe has a few more things in it, but it’s one of those things that we make in bulk and keep in our pantry all the time.
Give the chickens a good rub down with a tablespoon or two of olive or other vegetable oil, then sprinkle well with salt, and add the S&G rub generously over the skin. Then all you need to do is put them on a pre-heated 350-degree pellet grill, and grill for about an hour to 90 minutes, depending on size.
We like to buy smaller chickens as they cook more evenly. Chicken is done when it hits 155 degrees in the thickest part of the breast. Don’t go much beyond that as the breast will dry out very quickly. We like to serve one chicken per two people as wood-roasted chicken makes amazing leftovers. For extra fun – serve it “caveman style” – put a chicken on a plate between two people, no utensils, and let them have at it!
The pellet grill fueled with Griller’s Gold pellets is also a great way to cook salmon. Buy a large whole salmon filet – again, the warehouse clubs are great for this – either farm-raised or wild-caught – your choice. There are a myriad of rubs and preparations but one we find that’s an easy go-to is 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper. Mix well and spread over a large salmon filet – you don’t need to use it all.
There are two ways to do this – hot and fast and low and slow – they get different results.
If serving the salmon hot off the grill, we prefer the hot and fast method – with this, heat the pellet grill to 400 degrees. For fish, a light to medium smoke is good – Griller’s Gold Competition Blend is great for this or for a nice sweet touch, Griller’s Gold Cherry. Drizzle some olive oil over your filet and rub it over the fish evenly, then spread the rub on your filet. Put directly on the grill, cook for about 8 minutes, then turn the filet. You may find it easier to cut the filet into 2 or 3 pieces, but if you can manage it with a couple of large spatulas, or maybe a metal pizza peel, it looks very impressive for your guests to serve the whole filet. Cook the filet until it separates in layers and the layers are just past opaque. Internal temperature is about 135F.
For low and slow, you’re making a much smokier product, and it’s great served cold on a salad, on crackers, on bagels like lox, etc. Same techniques as above with rub and all, but instead of a 400-degree grill, you want 225 degrees.
It will take an hour to get to perfect doneness with the low and slow method and it will be more done than the ideal stop point for hot and fast. Now, this all said, you can definitely eat this hot off the grill, but cooling it overnight and serving as a cold appetizer or main course will have your guests holding a coronation as the king of the BBQ.