Quest for Fire

Quest for Fire Santenello’s Snack

Days are growing longer as that burning ball of fire in the sky nears its apex.

Rides are becoming glutinous in length. For me, nothing feels better this time of year than a full day of shred followed by food cooked over a primal fire. Although highly effective, some Gucci-expensive smoker filled with rabbit poop shaped pellets with the Soul of Strava will not do. Instead, we need the blue-collar sensibility of a grill. The “Char-Griller” at $69 with a removable drawer, hood, and cast-iron grates is my favorite, though any charcoal grill will do. Paired with a simple yet lethally tasty recipe, you’ll be on your way to the top box of the culinary podium. Enter your own personal Smoked Chicken Chamber with sides of pumpkin seed pesto and pickled blueberries. And when you’re done cooking, add more wood to the fire to enjoy while you eat!

Grill Prep: In a covered grill, build a substantial fire of lump charcoal and wood. I use Kiawe
(Italian Mesquite). Yes, I mean wood, not chips or Rabbit Pellets. Let the fire burn down a bit and spread the coals. The amount of wood and charcoal to use for proper cooking heat is a finesse thing. You can always pull chicken if too hot or finish in an oven if too cool.



  • 1 whole chicken split in half lengthwise or bone in skin on breasts and thighs. (Fish, Veggies,Tofu all great substitutes)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Splash of olive oil
  • A couple lemons Pumpkin Seed Pesto
  • 1 large bunch basil, rough chopped
  • 1 large bunch Italian parsley, rough chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and white ribs cut out, chopped (use some seeds to add spice)
  • 1/4 sweet onion, rough chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, rough chopped
  • 1 cup roasted and cooled pumpkin seeds
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • Salt to taste

Pickled Blueberries

  • 1 pint fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar 
  • Salt to taste


Chicken: Season chicken with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Place chicken bone side down on the
grill and close the lid fully with vents kept open for about a half hour. Open grill occasionally to
keep coals hot. Flip chicken skin side down and close the lid again. After 20 minutes, check to
make sure chicken is fully cooked through, adding more time if needed. If substituting with fish
or veggies, adjust cooking time. When fully cooked, remove chicken to let rest and splash with
lemon. Taste and season again if necessary.

Pesto: Combine all ingredients in a blender, adding pumpkin seeds and herbs last. Blend until smooth. Add water and olive oil if too thick to blend.

Pickled Blueberries: Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Let sit to allow flavors to blend for a bit. Slightly mash with fork for more intense flavor.