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Mar 12, 2011 04:19 PM

slow cooker+organic free range chicken legs+good bbq sauce+ whiskey?+cacoa nips? *general advice needed kinda long

So I am not a cook by any stretch of the imagination but lately Ive actually been able to afford to try things out (rare luxury for a college student). My boyfriend is on a aktins type diet (though not as strict and with attention paid to fat content etc) so I have been learning how to cook meat lately. Easy foolproof slow cooker recipes have been my best friend! I made some bbq pulled pork and it turned out soooo good that I really want to explore this bbq/slow cooker thing.

I would have to say that my biggest issue "cooking" wise is I try to do too much. I tend to put things together that sound good individually and end up with a funky mess. I am so very intrigued by all the spices and herbs out there! So I am hoping you can stop me before I make that mistake.

I picked up some cocoa nibs and some whiskey (jacks) can I put both of those in the slow cooker with the bbq or would that be overkill on the sweet? Also what can I do to add heat- I have jalapenos and crushed red peppers available.

Here is a rundown of what I have. Any advice would be VERY welcome. Btw "limbo" is a local store famous for its "wall of herbs" they carry over 1000 herbs and spices and they sell all sorts of mixtures for .50$ a bag- so I have a bunch of exotic sounding things=)

*staples- garlic/onions/jalapenos/green peppers/your typical spices and herbs

-what sounds bbq related?
*some good bbq sauce
*bbq spice rub
*yakima smoked salt (smells like smokey bbq)
*durango smoked salt (smells like bbq)
*tons of different chilli powders
*curry powder
*bere bere (ethiopian spice rub)
*cocoa nips
*jack daniels whiskey

Thank you SO much in advance.

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  1. It sounds like you want a southwest type chicken. I would drink a shot of the Jack Daniels and then leave the cocoa nibs and the rest of the Jack on the shelf.

    I would brown the chicken legs in a pan then add them to the slow cooker. Throw some bbq sauce, chili powder, onions, bell peppers, garlic and a jalapeno in there. I would add some chicken broth if you can get it. If not just some water.

    The other thing you could do is chop up the chicken and brown it and then make some kind of chili. You could probably use all your ingredients then. Be sparing on the cocoa nibs but I have heard of people using cocoa in chili.

    Look up some chili recipes and use those as a guide. Also look at some chicken cacciatore recipes and use those as a guide to the first dish I described. Just rememeber that you are going for a southwest flavor instead of Italian but the technique similar.

    1. I picked up some cocoa nibs and some whiskey (jacks) can I put both of those in the slow cooker with the bbq or would that be overkill on the sweet?
      one of the best pieces of advice i can give you is to TASTE ingredients *before* you think about using them in a recipe so you understand what the flavors are like. cacao nibs are far from sweet. in fact, they're rather bitter and tannic.

      don't over-think the BBQ, and keep the curry powder and berbere out of it if you're going for traditional BBQ flavors.

      if you want to use the JD in the sauce:

      you could toss in some of the crushed nibs if you want to add a slightly bitter chocolatey note.

      as for the smoked salts, they're best used in dry rubs, or as finishing salts - the subtle flavors tend to get lost when you cook them in sauces for long periods of time.

      this may sound silly, but do a little research about each ingredient. whether it's a Google search, or any ethnic cookbooks you have at home, or cooking magazines, or a visit to your local library to check out the reference books on food...and of course you should search the Home Cooking board here on CH - we've all been yammering endlessly for years about every ingredient and technique you can think of!

      anyway, learning about the history or source of an ingredient and seeing examples of recipes it's traditionally used in will give you a good understanding of how you can use it with other ingredients.

      3 Replies
      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

        As usual, ghg, outstanding advice. A CH whose name escapes me gave the same good advice of tasting individual components. So simple yet probably very neglected.

        1. re: c oliver

          and as usual, your praise is very much appreciated :) and yes, regardless of how experienced or knowledgeable we may be, i think we can all benefit from getting back to basics sometimes.

          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            It was revelatory (is that a word?) to me to actually taste a leaf of thyme, for example, all by itself. Or fry a bit up in some oil. Just one example.