Buccaneer ChickenSteven Raichlen
You’ve heard of pirates called “buccaneers.” What you may not realize is that they take their name from the French-Caribbean word for smoke, boucane. That’s the origin of this dish, Buccaneer Chicken, and it uses a smoking fuel that may surprise you: sugar cane. The result is a much herbaceous, lighter-smoked flavor.
More Chicken Recipes:
- Cornell Chicken
- Rotisserie-Smoked Chicken With Drip Pan Root Vegetables
- Wood Hearth Chickens With Salsa Verde
- Yield: Serves 4
- Method: Hot-smoking
- Equipment: 7 one-foot sections of sugar cane pressings or whole cane
- 2 chickens or 4 Cornish game hens, spatchcocked
- 1 tablespoon coarse salt (kosher or sea)
- 1 tablespoon cracked or freshly ground black peppercorns
For the marinade:
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed with the side of a knife
- 1 bunch of chives or 4 scallions, thinly sliced crosswise
- 2 to 6 scotch bonnet or habanero chiles, halved, seeded, and thinly sliced (for spicier chicken, leave the seeds in)
- 2 medium onions, thinly sliced crosswise
- 3 branches of thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice berries
- 1 cup fresh lime juice
- 1 cup white rum
- 1 cup vegetable oil
Step 1: Generously season the chickens on both sides with salt and pepper.
Step 2: Make the marinade: Place the garlic, chives, chiles, onions, thyme, and allspice in a large bowl and stir to mix. Arrange half this mixture over the bottom of a baking dish just large enough to hold the chicken. Arrange the birds on top and top with the remaining garlic-chive-onion mixture. Pour the lime juice, rum, and vegetable oil over the chicken. (Alternatively, marinate the birds in a large resealable plastic bag.) Marinate, covered, in the refrigerator for 8 to 12 hours, turning the birds a couple times so they marinate evenly.
Step 3: Set up your smoker following the manufacturer’s instructions and preheat to 275 degrees F. If using a charcoal-fired smoker, place 1 sugar cane section on the coals. Arrange the remaining sugar cane sticks on the grate in parallel rows (3 rows). You’ll smoke the chicken on top of them.
Step 4: Remove the chickens from the marinade and drain well. Arrange them on the sugar cane sticks on your smoker. Strain the marinade into a saucepan and boil for 3 minutes.
Step 5: Smoke-roast the hens until bronzed with smoke on the outside and cooked through (to an internal temperature of 165 to 170 degrees F). This will take about 2 hours. Start basting the hens with the boiled marinade after 30 minutes; continue basting every 10 minutes.
Serve with Sauce Chien (“Dog Sauce”) spooned over it.
You can buy fresh sugar cane sticks online here.