Yes, these are crappy camera phone shots.
But this isn’t about the photos!
It’s a Recipe for my friend Chris and the rest of the internet!
What is in the photos was done with Chicken Leg Quarters, but you can use any meat that is less than about three inches thick for this.
Here’s the the details:
Grill - This can be an indoor grill, gas grill, charcoal grill, whatever. I have one of the big floor standing indoor grills, which you can see part of in these crappy photos. If you are using gas or charcoal, you will need the fuel too, obviously.
Foil - You need the really good heavy duty non-stick stuff. Reynolds Heavy-Duty Non Stick in the yellow and blue box is what I use. Cheap foil will not cut it here, as it will rip and make a nasty mess of things.
Sharp Knife and Cutting Board - To cut up the veggies, and do any trimming of fat or other prep you need to do on the meat. Just a good paring knife will be fine.
Meat! - You need about 1/2 to 1lb of meat for each serving, unless you are eating light or don’t want leftovers. Remember that 1lb raw will be way less cooked, especially with anything that isn’t very lean. And leftovers are great for midnight/mid-day snacks. Meat can be anything really, but I don’t like to do fish and hard veggies in the same packet due to differing cooking times, so for this, use beef, chicken, pork, rabbit, turkey, unicorn, etc. I haven’t tried this with something like Mussels or Clams, but I imagine it could work?
Lubricant: Butter, Margarine, or Olive Oil, Bear Fat, etc.
I prefer butter for this, and don’t really like olive oil due to the way it can sometimes burn right through the foil if it gets really hot in one spot. Haven’t tested Bear Fat personally. I suspect Coconut Oil might have the same problem as Olive Oil. The lube keeps things from burning and makes them tasty and more nom worthy.
Veggies: I like to use New Potatoes, Yellow Onions & Garlic. (Elephant Garlic if I can get it, as shown) I also like using Carrots, but the hubby doesn’t like it if they happen to get a little overdone so I skipped them this time. You could also use red onions, parsnips, or any other hard veggie. Soft veggies like peas, beans, squash, broccoli, bell peppers & asparagus work better with fish or thinner meats, as they get done at about the same time. You need about the same amount of veggies as meat, unless you just want to do veggies for some reason that involves not wanting to eat meat.
(weird, but fine as long as you don’t try to make me do it.)
Herbs & Seasonings:
All of this is presumed to be dried, though you can use fresh. Remember that some herbs are stronger or weaker fresh.
Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme - What I like to call Scarborough Mix. It’s not just a song lyric, it’s a recipe. Seriously.
Lemon Peel. You can also use fresh Lemon Zest if you have a lemon and a zester and know how to make the two interact properly.
Chicken Bouillon - I crushed up cubes for this with my mortar 7 pestle, but you can also get it in a shakeable bottle. You won’t need to crush up three cubes worth like I did unless you are making a lot of packets. *derp* If you are using beef, you can obviously switch to Beef Bouillon. Chicken is best for just veggies if no meat.
If you are grilling with charcoal, go start it first. It needs to burn down until there aren’t any flames, generally about 30mins, so you’ll want that doing it’s thing while you prep the food.
Next, cut up your veggies. You want about 1” cubes as your rough template. Small garlic cloves can be left whole after peeling, onions work well in wedges. New potatoes can generally be halved or quartered. Use larger chunks if the meat you are using is thicker.
Prep your meat after you sit aside the cut up veggies. Do the meat second so that you don’t have to wash the knife and cutting board in between. If you end up with too many veggies they can go in a container in the fridge if the didn’t get meat bacteria on them from the knife and board. At this point in prep, I decided to not only skin my chicken leg quarters, I also separated drumsticks from thighs for greater ease in cooking and eating logistics. If you bought something like a small roast, this is the time to make sure it is cut to the right thickness. Remember, several chucks will cook faster than a solid piece.
Get out your foil. Now is when you can decide how big you want the packets.
You can choose to make a bunch of small ones, wrap the meat and veggies together or separate, etc. For the meal I photographed, I did meat and veggies together. What you decide to do affects how you make the packets. For big packets like I did here, you will need to seam two sheets of foil along one edge. FOLD, carefully on a flat surface. Smooth tight folded seams leak less than messy swished seams. Make sure you fold at least three times to get a good seam. If you are doing this on a grill that is kinda rough, you might want to just go ahead and add an extra layer of foil to avoid tearing.
If doing meat + veggies, put the meat in the middle, veggies around the outside. This gets the veggies done more evenly than mixing some between pieces of meat. Garlic can go nestled in between to impart the most flavor.
Seasoning: You will have to eyeball this. I used about two tablespoons of the rosemary & sage for two packets the size pictured, but that was a rough uncrushed measurement, before I crush it up by hand. You want about an equivalent amount of parsley and thyme, but allow for them being finer so it will look like less. It is easier to measure if you are using all crushed rosemary & sage and thyme & parsley leaves. Be careful if the thyme is fine ground, as that goes a LONG way. The lemon peel needs about the same amount, though that is really flexible. You only want a few pinches of the bouillon. You can also add black pepper at this point, but don’t add salt. Salt added during the cooking can soak in too much and make things way too salty.
Also, if you are cooking for others leaving out the salt and pepper allows everyone to do that at the table and saves you getting complaints about too much salt/pepper.
Make sure you put the seasonings fairly evenly all over the top of both meat and veggies.
Add about two tablespoons of butter or one of oil to a packet about the size I show in the photos. Less for smaller packets. Unmelted pats right on top work great.
Now, close up your packets. Use a neat seam folded down the top, and then fold the ends up. If you have enough foil, make a spot to grab those ends for lifting. Be sure you are as neat as you were with any bottom seams. Make it snug, but not tight around the food. It will puff a bit as steam is released from the food during cooking, and overly tight packets will pop.
This part is pretty simple. Put it on the grill, cover, cook. It will take about 20 minutes for the amount I showed, less for smaller packets. Take into account how cold your ingredients were - if the potatoes came out of the fridge add some time, same for nearly icy meat. Listen to it and pay attention to smell.
When you are pretty sure it’s done, carefully pull one packet off the grill (Use mitts!) and carefully open it to check. If you are careful, you can rewrap it if not fully cooked. Poke any meat with a fork, if chicken make sure juices run clear.Be sure the potatoes are done too.
Now, plate it, and enjoy!