Pulled Achiote Chicken Sandwich – Start smoking it now!
While most Flemings have already stored their BBQ in the barn, for me the most beautiful time of the year is closing in. And fortunately I don’t store the BBQ because with the tropical temperatures at the beginning of September it would be more than a sin. So we don’t say goodbye to the summer flavors yet. On the contrary… We fly again to the North American states for a good portion of Tex-Mex. And as befits a good “Indian Summer” dish, with this Pulled Achiote Chicken sandwich we end up with a summery comfort food sandwich that seamlessly heralds the transition to the autumnal stews. But first we want to enjoy the beautiful Indian summer days.
Disclaimer: this post may contain affiliate links. All opinions expressed are personal and sincere.
Sometimes inspiration comes unexpected. Just at those moments when you least expect to discover something interesting surprise lurks around the corner. Last Saturday we had some “Bubble friends” over for dinner. Goal of the evening: “Celebrating Tineke van Heule @Home to cope with the lack of these glorious local celebrations“. To my big surprise a “BBQ” was planned. Chicken on the BBQ to be exact. Although I had already put the chicken in brine the day before, I didn’t really know what I was going to make exactly. Originally the plan was to keep it simple and make a basic BBQ sauce for the Pulled Chicken. Until around 4pm I was scrolling through the Belgian BBQ group at the checkout of the supermarket and saw a question by @Stijn Decl pass by.
“Where can I find Achiote Pasta in my region? A question that immediately reminded me that I still had a bag of Annato seeds at home that I had never used before. Just because I once wanted to make Achiote Pasta myself, I bought them at Truong Son (the local Chinese supermarket). It soon became clear that we were going to eat Pulled Achiote Chicken that night. Soon I found a recipe for Homemade Achiote pasta on “The Spruce Eats“. The sauce for the Achiote Pulled Chicken, on the other hand, was the inspiration of the moment based on ingredients I had available at home. During the preparation I had some reservations about how it would taste. In between it didn’t seem to work out right away. Only the braising of the smoked chicken legs in the sauce seemed to form a whole. The fats from the chicken when thickening the sauce completed the recipe.
That evening we served the Pulled Achiote Chicken with Turkish bread, tomato salsa, guacamole and pickled red onion. We also served a variant inspired on the Turkish Pita with fried minced meat, sour cucumber, a yoghurt garlic sauce and a salad of apple and celery. But actually all the parts fitted well together, with the fresh notes of the other sides also matching the Pulled Achiote chicken sandwich. Much to my happiness there were some leftovers for the day after so I could quickly make another Pulled Achiote chicken sandwich. With a basic coleslaw on a sandwich for a quick easy lunch.
The lack of the Tinekesfeesten may not have been completely taken care of… The ambiance was great. It was another pleasant evening among friends where we could enjoy the good things in life at ease. A nice beer for example, good music, quiet atmosphere and to make it all complete: Comfort food in the form of this Pulled Achiote Chicken. Something to make yourself? I’m curious! Keep me informed through the social media channels! Have fun BBQ.
- 12 chicken thighs or 8 chicken legs
- 16 sandwiches
- Coleslaw to taste
- 2 l water
- 150 gr salt
- 1 handful of thyme rosemary, oregano
- 2 tsp crushed mustard seeds
- 1 handful of dried kaffir lime leaves
- 1/4 cup Annatto seeds
- 1 tbsp ground coriander seeds
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 2 pieces of cloves
- 1 tsp black pepper bulbs
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 1/4 cup lemon syrup
- 5 lemons just the juice
- 1 dl water
- 70 gr white granulated sugar
- 3 tbsp achiote pasta
- 250 gr sour cream
- 250 ml vegetable stock
- 250 gr ketchup
- 30 ml tequila
- lime juice to taste
Mix the ingredients for the brine and heat until the salt is dissolved. Leave to cool and place the chicken in it for 1 night (+-8h).
Dab the chicken dry and in the meantime start your BBQ for an indirect session at low temperature (75-100°C).
Smoke the chicken to a core temperature of 74°C while making the Achiote paste and sauce.
Mix the dried herbs and Annato seeds and add them to a grinder. Blend these herbs and seeds into a fine powder.
Add the remaining (wet) ingredients and blend until you get a tasty paste.
Place a bowl on medium heat and fry the Achiote based pasta in it for +- 2 minutes.
Deglaze with the Tequila and then add the ketchup, vegetable stock and sour cream.
Let it simmer until the flavors are mixed. As soon as the chicken reaches a core temperature of 74°C, add the chicken to this sauce and simmer until the chicken falls apart.
Take a sandwich and add a coleslaw of your choice together with coriander and some lime juice.
Add the Achiote style pulled chicken to the sandwich and finish with some fresh coriander.