Dino's style Chicken Sous Vide
I rarely post my own recipes or ring my own bell but I had to share this. It is fantastic!
I recently saw a segment, on PBS I think, about an iconic fast food chicken place with several locations in and around Los Angeles, Dino’s Chicken and Burgers http://www.dinoschickenandburgers.com/. Read the reviews and you’ll see their patrons have a cult like devotion to their chicken. It doesn’t hurt that it’s only about six bucks for a half chicken and French fries. Living on the East Coast I wanted to see if I could duplicate their recipe. They precook the chicken then marinate it in their “secret” sauce then grill it to order. I’m generally am not a big fan of chicken breasts because they are blander easier to overcook than thighs but my local supermarket had bone-in, skin-on breasts on sale for .99 cents a pound, so I went with them for this recipe. The fact that I could pre-cook my chicken sous vide made me think I could get a juicy final product. After some online research for their secret sauce several people speculated it was a variation of Piri- Piri Sauce, which I had never heard of.
Piri piri sauce (used as a seasoning or marinade) is Portuguese in origin and "especially prevalent in Angola, Namibia, Mozambique and South Africa". It is made from crushed chilies, citrus peel, onion, garlic, pepper, salt, lemon juice, bay leaves, paprika, pimiento, basil, oregano, and tarragon.[6
]I used Emeril’s sauce with a few modifications.
This recipe is just a starting point and by no means a recipe that you need to follow closely. I’ve used fresh jalapeno, bird’s eye, habanero, really any hot pepper as well as Cubanal and sweet bell peppers. I just balance the sauce with more heat (pepper flakes, cayenne, bottle hot sauce etc.) or more acid (cider or balsamic vinegar, lemons or limes) or I add a little sweetness (sugar, honey or agave or artificial sweetener). I add ground turmeric and sometime annatto and a tablespoon or two of tomato paste to mellow and thicken. Saffron would also be a great addition, I bet. Dino’s chicken looks like Tandoori Chicken so they probably use red food color. I like fresh cilantro so I add it if I have it on hand. I’ve made this sauce two ways, raw and cooked. I prefer heating everything in a saucepan then processing it in a blender but raw is good too.
I salt and pepper the chicken breasts then add a little of the piri piri sauce to the bag and cook @ 60 degrees C. (140F.) for a minimum of 3 hours. I cool the still bagged chicken in running cold water until they are still slightly warm, then I add more sauce and marinade for @ least 1 hour but longer is better. Obviously, if you are marinating overnight you need to refrigerate. When I’m ready to serve I heat my gas grill and cook the breasts skin side up to start then flip them. I noticed that pre-cooked chicken skin does not stick to the grates as much as raw skin does. Remember, you are grilling only to warm through and get some tasty carmelization/charring of the surface. Do not overcook! That would defeat the benefit of pre-cooking them sous vide. I’ve never cooked them right from the refrigerator but I probably would warm the chicken first in the microwave @ a low setting prior to grilling. To serve: drizzle with more sauce , chopped cilantro or parsley and I like a big dollop of sour cream to offset the hot sauce.
I forgot too mention that I don't vacuum seal my bags. Unless you have a commercial grade vacuum sealer you cannot add much marinade to the bag. I use regular large freezer bags that I expel as much air as I can then I put a plate over the submerged food to weigh it down. The excess air then accumulates on top near the opening where I can easily let it out. FYI: I use a 38 cup Black & Decker rice cooker and a Sous Vide Magic temperature controller).