As a word monger and all-around nice guy, I hate that phrase. I think it became commonplace with the show "Cops" on Fox. 'Until' implies a definite and inevitable outcome. The original phrase was innocent unless proven guilty, but no one seems to care to use that anymore. I know. I know. Of course, Saif al-Islam is guilty. But still . . .
The weather this fall has been pleasant, a welcome change from the unbearably hot summer. I've kept busy with the house and yard: garden work, scraping old paint, winterizing the pool, repairing the mortar at various places around the house, mostly on the east side, cleaning the garage. Cleaning the garage means clearing out twenty-thirty years accumulation of various building materials and auction and flea market impulsive buys. We sold the 1992 Mercury Grand Marquis that had clogged one of the bays for years. I now have room to sort through the odd lots of lumber I have left over from house building and other wood working projects. I wonder what I'll find at the bottom of that pile.
I've also done some smoking: brisket and lately chicken. I did chicken halves this time rather than the split breasts I usually smoke. Smoking with a wood fire is such an effort, but the result is delicious and healthy food. Because of the effort, we like to smoke and freeze the meat in quantity for quick meals later. Both brisket and white chicken stand up to being frozen, but that's not the case for chicken leg quarters. We've avoided smoking them, except when we have plenty of eaters around.
I like dark chicken meat and I know that buying the whole chicken is the most economical, so several days ago, I decided to try them in the smoke. With meat scissors, I removed the backbones and tossed those along with the necks into a pot of seasoned water, one onions, two carrots, two stalks of celery, and a half dozen smashed garlic cloves. We'll use the broth for chicken and noodles tomorrow. I split the opened-up chickens in half. The halves went into a brine for several hours, were rinsed, and dried then dusted with garlic powder, chile powder, red and black pepper. Afterward, the halves were refrigerated overnight. Next morning we rubbed them with canola oil and the birds were in the smoke by 7am. I maintained the exit-smoke temperature at 200 degrees and it took six hours to arrive at an internal temperature of 170.
We had help consuming the leg quarters and wings; the white meat, we froze for later.