I’m three weeks into my TJ’s training, and I’m loving it! Am I sore in muscles I didn’t know I had? Yes! Am I unapologetically napping after early morning and late night shifts? Yes, again! But, the Crew has been so patient and generous during my training that I’ve pushed through the aches and pains to pull my weight unloading pallets, moving boxes, and stocking shelves as best I can. Their positive, dedicated work ethic has motivated me to absorb all their knowledge and experience from stacking apples to looking up speciality items to genuinely engaging with customers around the store and at the registers. It feels amazing to work in such a positive and supportive environment!
Admittedly, I’ve missed the outdoors a bit (and my precious pup!) the past three weeks. So, when the temperature shot up to 75 on Tuesday, I did not hesitate to hit the trails with Dixon and then fired up the offset as soon as we got back home. Knowing the perfect weather was being chased by a cold front (and in anticipation of feeling exhausted), I threw a whole chicken, turkey kielbasa, eggplant, and tomatoes on the smoker for the week. With my fridge full of smoky delights, I’ve really been able to focus all my energy on my last week of training before the new TJ’s opens. Wish me luck!
1 whole chicken, spatchcocked
1 can tomato sauce
1/4 cup mustard
2 tbsp white or rice vinegar
5 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp agave syrup
1/4 Gochujang paste
salt to taste
generous amount of black pepper
Hickory wood chunks
Prepare an offset smoker by adding lump charcoal to the fire box. Ignite the coals and allow them to burn until white hot, about 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl combine the tomato sauce, Gochujang, mustard, vinegar, brown sugar, salt, and lots of black pepper. Mix until fully incorporated, taste, and adjust seasonings as desired.
On a clean surface, salt and pepper the chicken on all sides then slather a thin amount of Gochujang BBQ sauce all over. Finish the chicken by drizzling the agave syrup on all sides. Set aside.
As soon as the coals are white hot, add a chunk of hickory on top of the coals and close the fire box lid. Be sure to leave the smoke stack and fire box side door fully open to allow plenty of air flow. Last, place the chicken in the center of the smoke barrel and smoke around 225-300 degrees for three to four hours. At every 45 minutes or so, slather the chicken in more Gochujang BBQ sauce. Once the chicken reaches 165 degrees remove it from the smoker and allow it to rest at least 10 minutes before carving. Serve the chicken with your favorite sides such as Jasmine rice, sautéed or stir fried vegetables.