I've taken into account that commercial Mojo Criollo may be difficult to find in some areas, and included a do-it-yourself recipe in “Low & Slow” on page 59 (and below). You may also substitute the basic brine from Lesson #2. However, even if you use the brine for Lesson 1, please do not skip Lesson #2. The 5 Easy Lessons are not about the brine, rub or marinade. The real focus is learning the basics of fire control, smoke preference, using your five senses to determine when the meat is ready, and building confidence in one’s ability to produce authentic low and slow barbecue.
DIY MOJO CRIOLLO
Using a commercial mojo criollo is easier—which is what you want for the first cook—but you’ll never go back to the bottle once you’ve used this homemade version. Look for sour orange juice (a.k.a. bitter orange, Seville orange, or bigarade orange juice) in Mexican markets. It’s called naranja ácida, naranja agria, or naranja amarga. In season, you might find fresh sour oranges in Southeast Asian markets. The WSM and offset recipe makes enough for four chicken halves and the kettle recipe for two chicken halves.
2 1?2 cups canola oil
2 garlic heads, peeled and crushed
2 medium white onions, sliced
3 ?4 cup sour orange juice (or 1?2 cup orange juice plus 1?4 cup lime juice)
1?4 cup water
1?4 cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
1 teaspoon grated orange rind (optional)
Heat the canola oil over medium heat in a saucepan. When the oil is warmed, approximately 2 minutes, add the garlic and onion to the saucepan. Cook until fragrant (not browned), about 30 seconds. Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow the oil to cool, 5 minutes. Stir in the juice, water, vinegar, and spices. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat and allow it to boil for 1minute. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let the marinade cool to room temperature. Pour the mixture into a blender. Blend until smooth.
For the WSM or offset, divide the marinade between two one-gallon zip-top bags.
For the kettle, pour all the marinade into one zip-top bag. Add two chicken halves to each bag and press the air out of the bags and seal. Place the bags in a large bowl or on a rimmed baking sheet to catch drips. Allow the chicken to marinate for 4 to 6 hours in the refrigerator, turning the bags once or twice to redistribute the marinade.