First, I didn’t expect anyone to show up and I wasn’t surprised that I ate alone. Here are some thoughts on what went wrong and what went right.

I waited too long for the for the coals to warm up. I should have spread them earlier and started cooking sooner. The chicken was well cooked (the juices ran clear and the meat was dome in the center), but the internal temperature didn’t go high enough.

At Saturday’s family picnic

  • I’ll bring extra regular coals and extend to life of the fire beyond the first hour.
  • Perhaps I’ll throw about a quarter of the food on the grill, wait an hour and cook again.
  • It might be a good idea to use more coals. A small bag doesn’t quite cover the whole bottom.

The chicken came out fine, but I think I will set aside some pineapple juice next time. This time I put it all in the marinade, but dipping the pineapple slices in warm juice just after charring them on the grill should make them sweeter. I’ll also adjust the recipe by adding salt and pepper to the chicken while it cooks.

I was really disappointed that the chicken didn’t seem to reach 180 degrees and that it cooled so quickly. Perhaps I can leave the cooked chicken in a drip pan with a small amount of water on the bottom. That might keep it warm and not dry it out, but I think timing is everything. I need to cook it just as people are ready to eat.

On Saturday I have to come back in and clean the kitchen just after I light the fire. A spotless kitchen should allow more place to set things down when I clean up. Tonight I have things piled up precariously. I need make some room to store the stuff I generally keep on the counter. I’ll put that on my to do list for this week. A cleaner kitchen with plenty of courter space should ease cleaning up after the barbecue.

I need to work on a picnic checklist to manage my time better. I think I’ll try hot sandwiches for next week’s Sunday Evening Practice. Something with melted cheese, hot off the grill!