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.