L.C. Greenwood-Smoked Chicken with Apple Ginger Coleslaw

I don't know about yinz, but I am thanking Saint Myron that this week is the Steelers' bye. The bye week is usually a bummer on the schedule and simply means that there isn't a game to watch or a team to root for. With how stressful the 2013 season has been thus far, this bye week is a much needed break. It seemed fitting to take on a challenging recipe in the interim. More on that in a bit.

Last weekend, legendary Steelers' defensive end, L.C. Greenwood, passed away. I would be remiss if I did not mention and honor him here. Of course, Greenwood was an integral part of the Steelers' front four, alongside "Mean" Joe Green, Dwight White and Ernie Holmes during the 1970s. 

"Mr. Greenwood played for the Steelers from 1969 to 1981 and earned four Super Bowl rings. Selected to the Pro Bowl six times, he registered 73 1/2 career sacks, which ranks second in franchise history behind Jason Gildon. 

At 6 feet 6 inches, Mr. Greenwood eventually played at 245 pounds and was a menace to opposing quarterbacks. If Mr. Greenwood didn't sack quarterbacks, he often batted down their passes." (Ray Fittipaldo, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

This recipe is an all-day event and is best suited for a day when your team is not playing (and when you have a full afternoon free to butcher, season and smoke a bird). As I always say, it was well worth the extra effort. We had a lot of fun in the process too! Kate joined me for a full afternoon of sitting by the grill and listening to her Giants play our local Eagles - though it was the Giants who got smoked by the birds. 

Sudden downpour! Crisis averted...

You too can convert a $15 hibachi grill into one serious smoker!

Prepare to smell like a camp fire for a while after your chicken is smoked. P.S. This was my first time attempting some basic bird butchering (halving the whole chicken) and smoking food on the grill. Thank you, YouTube, for helping me figure out how the heck to hack through that chicken. Though time consuming, it really was pretty easy and if I can do it, so can you. Let's get to it!

L.C. Greenwood-Smoked Chicken with Apple Ginger Coleslaw
Chicken recipe from the Neelys

For the chicken
1 whole chicken, halved
2 tbsp light brown sugar
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp cayenne
2-3 cups wood chips for smoking, soaked in water and drained

For the coleslaw
16 oz cabbage and carrot mix, shredded 
2 small Granny Smith apples, finely cut into strips
1 red bell pepper, finely cut into strips
1 cup mayonnaise 
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp mustard powder
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/8 tsp cayenne 

Mix chicken rub ingredients together in a small bowl and rub all sides of both chicken halves in a dish. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. 

Mix cabbage, carrots, apples and red bell pepper in a large bowl. (I used my mandolin slicer to get really fine strips of apple.) In a separate bowl, combine mayo, vinegar, sugar, salt and spices. Pour over the cabbage mixture and stir together thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Soak your wood chips in a bowl of water for at least 30 minutes, then drain. Create an aluminum foil package for the chips, leaving it a little open on top. Once your grill is lit and charcoal is ashed over and hot, place the wood chip-foil package in center of grill, directly on coals. Place grill grate over coals and chips, then place chicken on grill, meat-side-down. Grill covered for 30-40 minutes. Turn chicken over and continue to grill covered for another hour. Serve with slaw!

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