Monday, November 21, 2005

My Famous Beer Ass Chicken

While I'm on a cooked poultry rant, allow me to share with you a crowd favorite - beer ass chicken.

I was introduced to this by a native of West-by-Gawd-Virgina. He said they would line up dozens of such birds across barrel grills to feed the annual family reunion.

It's really simple. Take a nice chicken. Rub it all inside and out with your favorite rub - I tend to go with some Old Bay or any local crab spice. Do not be afraid to overspice, for it cannot be done.

Get the grill fired up and hot. Make sure you put a drip pan (or fashion one from aluminum foil) and place under the grill where the bird will go. Otherwise, you will have major flame-age on your hands, as well as a charred bird.

Here comes the fun part: crack open a can of beer, and drink half of it. Mmmmmm...there.

Now, dump some more spice into the can. Now, gently, gently, ease the bird onto the beer can. Place it on the hot grill, and make sure it's balanced and standing straight up (see above). Turn the heat down to medium on the chicken's side, but keep the other side on high. (You want a high heat, but you don't want to scorch the thing). Cover the wing and leg tips with foil if you want to avoid it getting too dark. Keep a spray bottle of water handy. Seriously. Melting chicken fat + heat = raging fire.

What will happen is that the outside of the bird will get crispy and dark, the inside fragrant and juicy as the beer and spices steam it from the inside out. Perfect. Take it off the grill once it hits 180 in the thigh or 170 in the breast.

Like all grilled meats, let it sit for at least 10 minutes before carving. You can also slather it with some nice BBQ sauce during the last 10 minutes on the heat.

This is always great for guests since it's simply funny to look at - and will make the best damn chicken you've ever eaten. And perhaps we will still have a few good grill days before the snow starts coming down.

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