lunes, 23 de mayo de 2011

Beer Can Chicken

I realize that Beer Can Chicken has been around since the invention of the beer can. This is, in absolutely no way, an innovative recipe. Still, it's amazing that so many people outside the food blogging community have never tried it. Sure, everybody's seen pictures of it, some may have stumbled upon a cookbook devoted to it, but not one of my friends had tried it until a few nights ago. It's a shame, really, because this is probably the best way to cook a chicken on a grill; not only because of the awesome flavor, but because it demands the drinking of beer and it's as fun to make as it is to watch.

This is my own recipe, altough you can pretty much season it with whatever you like.

You start with 2 4lb whole chickens, rinsed and patted dry. It's important to not go above 4 lbs, as the chicken might be too big to fit your grill or, if it does fit, will take for ever to cook and most likely not cook evenly.

While some people go by Chef Jacques Pepin's dogma of never rinsing a chicken, I beg to differ. While it IS true that most bacteria will die with the heat, some produce thermo-stable enterotoxins that might not be destroyed with cooking, specially if you cook chicken on indirect heat. Also, some liquid from the bird might taste a little off if it's been sitting in the supermarket fridge for to long, and heating it will only accentuate it.

After you pat dry your chickens, make sure to air dry them throughly with a blow dryer. This will ease the crisping of the skin and also give your friends something to do so they leave you to your drinking. 

Once your chickens are bone-dry, place half an onion inside the big cavity (You can put half a lemon inside the neck cavit and cover it with the loose skin flap if you want). This will seal the steam from the beer can inside the chicken and allow the internal temperature to rise to face-melting levels. While you're at it, rub some olive oil on your chickens.

Next, drink half the beer in every can and place about 10 garlic cloves inside each one.
Carefully lower the chicken on the can, inserting it in the cavity. The can, the chicken's ass and its legs should make a stable stand. 

Chicken corpse defiling not compulsory, but highly recommended
Now make a rub. Chicken is a blank canvas, so anything will do. My chicken rub consists of 1/2 cup kosher salt, 2 tbsp Paprika, 2 tbsp chile powder, 2 tbsp ground black pepper and 1 tbsb cumin. This should be enough for 2 whole 4 pounders. Cover them well and let'em sit for a few minutes.

Now, some "BCC purists" (they are real, I swear) will lynch me for not using indirect heat, but I've found that a Gourmet Magazine-worthy brown skin does not, in any way, make up for the 2 hour cooking time. If you don't mind a little charring on your chicken's ass, proceed as directed here.

Carefully place your chickens on the grill, facing each other. Keeping the breasts close will prevent them from drying up too fast. Your coals should be white-hot right now. Cover your chickens with a big-ass pot to conceal the heat and the smoke and forget about'em for 20 minutes.

Since we're cooking on direct heat here, there's no dripping pan underneath the chicken. The fat will melt and drip on the coals, sometimes igniting a flame. I just squirt some water on the coals from time to time to keep'em down.

Make basting sauce with equal parts soy sauce and honey, and drizzle over your chicken on the 20 minute mark. Cover again and leave them be for another 20 minutes

Repeat and wait 5 more minutes.

At this point, prick the thickest part of the thigh with a knife, the juices should run clear. Take the birds off the grill and let them rest for 5 minutes before carving. This will makle the temperature uniform and allow more juices to remain in the chicken.

Also, don't forget t here's a f***ing beer can up your chicken's ass

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