Test Cook Report – George Hamilton’s Smoky Chicken

Hot on the heels of Bethany B.’s report on Brenda Vaccaro’s T-E-R-R-I-F-I-C Italian Sausages, here’s what she thought of the George Hamilton’s Smoky Chicken recipe.  As we Brit’s can’t get hold of frozen juice for love nor money, I replace it with Cointreau which works like a charm.  I’m sure Grand Marnier would be good too.  Yum yum!
I am very pleased to have another opportunity to parade this excellent photo of George Hamilton pretending to be Colonel Saunders!
George’s recipe is at the end of this post, you’ll see that I did incorporate Bethany’s suggestions.  Thank goodness for her eagle eyes!  Not only did she spot the typo “chickened instead of thickened” in my transcription of the Brenda Vaccaro recipe, she spotted one in this recipe too – I’d typed “beat the bouillion cube” instead of “heat the bouillon cube”.  Butter fingers!  Thanks, Bethany, the cookbook is all the better because of your excellent attention to detail!
This recipe did work but it works better if you cook the chicken in batches to avoid over-crowding. A few things could have been clearer; the big one was what fricasse chicken is. I looked it up and I believe that it’s just chicken cut up as if to make fricasse, so chicken pieces. There is no mention of how much flour to use, I believe that 1/2 c. is about right. It didn’t say what size beer to use (how many ounces), I just used a bottle of Bud Light. Finally, I think there is a typo in the instructions. It says to beat the boullion cube but no matter how I tried it would do anything, so I believe that it was supposed to say, heat the mixture. That’s what I did and it worked great. I found is a little confusing the in instructions where it said to add the hickory seasoning, I would switch that to hickory salt as “seasoning” makes it sound like a different ingredient.
I used garlic powder instead of salt and then I seasoned it to taste. I had thought that I had smoked salt but it turns out that I was wrong or I just couldn’t find it, so I just used sea salt and a dash of liquid smoke. Also, I didn’t have a paper bag, so I just put the flour in a pie plate and dredged the chicken in that. I also increased the amount of oil I used. Perhaps my pan is bigger, but, I couldn’t get 1 tsp. to coat the bottom of it. I ended up using 2 Tbs. for the first batch and then added another one for the second batch.

I shared this with my mom. We both agreed that the flavor was great and we would absolutely make this again but we didn’t like the skin on the chicken, to us, it made it slimy. We would just use boneless skinless chicken breasts next time. It makes it a lot faster and a lot easier. I would definitely make it again though the flavor is just superb. I also recommend boiling the sauce down for a few minutes to thicken it. This dish also reheats very well and it results in a very tender chicken.

Thanks so much for your excellent and thorough feedback Bethany!  So glad you enjoyed this recipe and your photograph is great, makes me want to get in the kitchen and rustle some of this up right now!

Here’s the tweaked version of George’s recipe that appears in the Cooking With Columbo book, for George’s original recipe, see this blog post.

George Hamilton’s Smoky Chicken

5 lb / 2250g chicken, jointed
1⁄2 cup / 60g flour
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon olive or salad oil
1 can or bottle of beer
1 chicken bouillon cube
2 teaspoons honey
1 cup / 240ml undiluted frozen orange juice
1⁄8 teaspoon liquid smoke
1⁄4 teaspoon hickory seasoning salt
1⁄4 teaspoon garlic salt

Shake the chicken pieces with the flour, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1 teaspoon of pepper in a paper bag. Brown the chicken in heated oil in a large frying pan that has a lid. After chicken is browned on all sides, pour off all the oil and add the beer. In a separate pan, heat the chicken bouillon cube, honey, and orange juice together until the cube is dissolved. Add the liquid smoke, hickory salt, and garlic salt. Then pour over the chicken. Cover frying pan and cook the chicken over a low heat for about two hours or until done.

Serves 6 to 8

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