Thursday, July 28, 2011

I Don't Know How That Beer Can Got Up That Chicken's Butt, Mr. Officer.......

Any old fool can cook a chicken. It takes only marginally more effort to smoke one. However, if your smoked chicken doesn't have a can of beer crammed up its toot, you just aren't even trying.

!!!!Warning!!!! Explicit Content!!!!
!!!The Sight of Chickens With Cans in their Butts Might Be Offensive to Some Viewers!!!

Beer Can Chicken is no new thing. It's been around for a while, but how many people really do it? I know this was my first time. Why is that? Everybody always says that it makes the most perfect, lusciously moist, well seasoned poultry you'll ever have. So why aren't people doing it all the time?
Allow me to show you why...

People like to eat well prepared food, but Pregceratops is right at the top of the list of those people who would never eat it again if they ever saw it in this type of compromised position. Well I say, get over it. (I said it without all caps and any emphatic punctuation, because I don't want Pregceratops to hear. At 7 1/2 months pregnant, she is easily roused to anger. I want the chicken to be the only one with.....well, you get the point).
It's just like anything else. If you want the reward, you have to put in the grunt work. If you want an omelette, you have to break a few eggs. If you want a teardrop tattoo, you have to find some foo who wanna be a gangsta and fade him befo' he fades you. If you want to be a male Olympic figure skater, you have to install a testosterone drain and abandon all masculinity whatsoever forever and ever. And if you want to smoke a perfect chicken, you have to stuff a beer can south to north. It's just part of the deal.
I picked up an apparatus at some store or another a couple months ago specifically designed to beer can chicken, and it really made the preparation a cinch. It is basically a wire frame with a 12 oz. can sized hole in the middle, and it makes a perfectly stable base for the can and the chicken.
The chicken I used was the one I picked up at the farmer's market last week. Here's a note about farmer's market chicken. The guy explained to me all the benefits of this bird for like, two hours. It was free range, organic, hand fed by a Hungarian leprechaun who only emerges from his cave in the peaks of Afton mountain on the night of a full moon, massaged daily by a Swedish Robot Masseuse from the Future, and read bedtime stories nightly by Charlottesville's mayor, Dave Norris. Sounds great, right? Wrong. It was the sickest, saddest little bird I ever saw. I'll take my birds jacked to the gizzard with hormones, antibiotics and butter any day. But that's neither here nor there...
I pattted the bird down with a cajun rub that we used on fish once, and assembled the frame.
When shopping for the perfect beer can, I found this awesome kit, specially designed for beer can chicken.

Who knew that they came packaged with one for cooking, and five more for drinking? I mean, way to go food marketers! Wowzers, Harris Teeter officially has everything.

After rubbing the bird liberally with a store bought cajun rub, I poured out half the beer (into a glass, which I drank), poked some holes in the top of the can, and poured about 1 tbsp of the rub inside.

Then...well, I took the see, you have to put the can in......okay, this shouldn't be this spread the chicken's legs, and.........what I'm trying to say is, you've got the cavity, and then you've got the can, and....
Okay, if you can't figure it out from here, you need to have a long talk with your parents.
It should look like this
It went into the As-Yet-Unnamed Smoker, which was preheated to about 300 degrees, and I threw on a scoop of mesquite wood chips that had been soaking in water for an hour.
I maintained the temperature and added wood chips as needed for about an hour and a half, until a meat thermometer read 170, which is "won't kill you" for chicken.

When she came out, she was perfect! All that proctology paid off big, because we had a perfectly moist, perfectly flavored chicken! But it needed a side, worthy of its sacrifice.....

I read something recently about grilled corn on the cob with lime butter at a restaurant in Australia, and I had to make it.

The Lime Butter was one of the best tasting things I have ever cooked. When The Pregsident of the United States bit into one of the ears of corn, she gave me a look of pure, pleased-palated bliss that said "This food can save lives. It can heal the sick. It can change the world, one child at a time. good corn."
I will never grill corn again without some kind of flavored butter.
Though we had barbeque sauce, I ended up dripping just a drop of the garlicy lime butter onto the chicken, and it made for some perfect bites. Just a couple though, because, like I said before, this chicken was runty.

So, the moral of the story is this. A chicken can have the most natural, pleasing life a chicken can lead, but should it end up in my reusable grocery bag at the Charlottesville Farmer's Market, it might be subjected to all manner of indignities before it makes it to the Jacked Up Grill's table. Now that I know I have the mettle for this kind of food preparation, all kinds of doors are opening......
I'm having thoughts about a whole cow and a keg........

Grilled Corn with Lime Butter
However many ears of sweet corn, shucked
4 tbsps butter
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 lime, juiced
6 lemon sage leaves, chopped
salt to taste

Melt butter and stir in all ingredients. Brush over corn while turning on a hot grill for 7-10 minutes.
Allow sauce to cool until slightly thickened and serve at the table for more basting.

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