and happen upon a drunk Kiwi chef grilling chicken on the side of the street, don’t be alarmed; foreigners haven’t started taking menial jobs, and food standards haven’t yet dropped that much. Rather, Hock and I simply wanted to make frango no churrasco, Portuguese-style grilled chicken.
You see, my new place doesn’t allow coal-burning stoves, so we asked the streetside Isaan restaurant downstairs if we could use their grill. They were kind enough to oblige, and the next day we brought down two small Thai free-range chickens that I had marinated overnight in my own homemade molho de piri-piri (dried phrik kariang chilies from Mae Hong Son, olive oil, garlic, vinegar, salt):
After removing the birds from the marinade, Hock spatchcocked them two different ways: one he cut down the breastbone and the other down the spine:
After a few minutes of grilling, it appeared that the latter seemed to work better, as it meant that the thicker breast meat was in the centre of the chicken, directly above the fire. Hock also pointed out that, whereas Americans and Australians happily go about spending hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars on complicated barbecue systems, this guy, like many other Thai street vendors, gets by with an enamel basin and a wire grill. This is really all one needs, since we were grilling, not smoking, and a lid isn’t even necessary.
The coals were hot but not flaming, and it took a good 45 minutes to cook, all the while we drank our beers and received strange looks from passing Thais. Our kind sponsor helped us pass the time with shots of yaa dong, a bright-red, sickly-sweet Thai herbal liquor. In return, we gave him some chicken, our recipe and money for new coals.
The result was so tasty we forgot to take a pic of it.