I love cooking outdoors! However, summertime cookouts can fall into a routine of burgers and hot dogs. I have been dreaming about Mesquite Baked Chicken & Apples for awhile, but I’ve been putting it off because it has been so hot lately. Ultimately, my craving for adventure won. So, here it is!
Mesquite Baked Chicken & Apples for Outdoor Cooking
Let me apologize for not having any equipment recommendations to share with you. My outdoor baterie du cuisine is cobbled together of odd bits of iron that I found around the ranch. The grill belongs to the hubs, the massive 20 qt (20lt) Dutch oven belonged to my late cuñado (brother in law) God bless him. The fork I bought for $5 in New Orleans about 3 years ago.
I regret not dressing fancier while I made Mesquite Baked Chicken & Apples, but it’s 98°F (38°C) in the shade. If you ever doubt that gold and silver metal are the best conductors of heat on the planet, try cooking over a live fire in the summertime. Your fancy jewelry will char your overheated skin.
How I Cook Over Live Fire
Perhaps there are easier ways to cook over live fire than working with a large fire and a small fire simultaneously. But this is the way that I manage live fire. Stoke one big fire and then have a practical fire on the side that you can adjust by adding or subtracting embers. For me, it’s the best way to stay in control of what I am cooking. The grocery store is 40 miles away, so there is no room for culinary mistakes at the ranch. And yes, I did this in one take.
Obviously the one thing missing from this video is an ice chest of cold beer. Ah well…an ice chest would have been one more thing to carry. And since most of my work is selfie-produced, it seemed like a sad scene – me drinking a beer alone. But I will make Mesquite Baked Chicken & Apples for the family soon, and beer will definietly figure into our plans.
You can round out this meal with a big salad and maybe some cornbread or tortillas. A fiery hot salsa would be good too, especially on the apples. BTW I am using Opal apples (http://www.opalapples.com/) for this recipe which have the right balance of tart and sweet.Print
Mesquite Baked Chicken & Apples
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Total Time: 55 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
- Category: Main Dish
- Method: Outdoor
- Cuisine: US
1–1½ cups vegetable oil, depending on size of Dutch oven (240ml-360ml)
3 onions, sliced
1 whole chicken, cut into halves (about 2.5 lbs./1.25kg)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 lbs. fresh apples, cored and quartered (about 1kg)
Build a mesquite fire and let it burn for at least 45 minutes before you begin your cooking process. If you don’t have mesquite wood, use what can be found locally.
Place the Dutch oven on the fire and add the desired amount of vegetable oil to the pan. Using a paper towel and a long fork or spatula, rub the interior of the pan to coat it with the vegetable oil. Heat the pan for 2-3 minutes over the fire.
Add the sliced onions and allow to sear for about 2 minutes. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, and then place the chicken in the heated pan with the onions. Cover and carefully remove the heated pan from the large fire.
Move coals away from the large fire so as to make a smaller fire. Place coals underneath and on top of the Dutch oven to create a gentle heat (approximately 350°F – 400°F / 176°C – 204°C). Bake for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, add more logs to the larger fire if needed.
Remove the lid of the Dutch oven and check the doneness of the chicken. Add more embers to your small fire in order to raise the temperature of the Dutch oven. Add the prepared apples and sear until tender, about 10 minutes uncovered.
When the apples are tender, remove the chicken, onions and apples from the pan and serve immediately.
There is not a safe way to test for the internal temperature of the Dutch oven. Infrared thermometers can read the outside temperature of the pot, and probe thermometers can measure the internal temperature of the chicken.
Chicken is completely cooked when the internal temperature reaches 165°F (73°C)
Personally, I love the adventure of just winging it. If you bake the chicken for 30 minutes, the only danger of overcooking is if you add too many embers. If your chicken is undercooked, you can simply sear for a little bit longer along with the apples.