COOKING WITH BEER
By the “guzzling gourmet”
This column will be for all you folks who have had the thought “Damn this beer tastes so good – it should be a food”. For the folks that consider beer one of the basic food groups. For all those people who can quote the nutritional value of beer as they explain their beer for dinner strategy.
This month’s recipe is a perfect match for those Sunday afternoon football games or “Hockey Night In Canada” nights when all the folks are over to cheer on their favorite team. A culinary work of art that appeals to the senses – it’s aromatic, it’s tasty and it’s visually unique. It excels as a conversation piece and your friends will think you’ve been attending some fancy pants cooking school when in reality your secret is your issue of Elephant Journal.
All that value from a chicken and your selfless willingness to relinquish a can of your favorite suds for something other than your desire to trickle that golden nectar down your throat.
We are talking this month about “Beer Butt Chicken”.
The first benefit of this recipe (it’s calls for 1 16 oz. can of beer to be sacrificed) is that you’ll have to buy at least a six pack to cook with and while one is cooking with the chicken you’ll be able to race the expiration date on the rest of the beer and make sure you use it in the traditional manner before it goes bad. Of course if the crew is over you’ll have a hard time just getting the pumps primed with a mere 6 pack, and would be better off getting a flat. You don’t want to appear cheap as you present your culinary masterpiece.
1st step – Off to the store you go – I know, I know – I hate shopping too. But remember after a brief stop at the meat store to get that large free range chicken (about 4 pounds) – not one of those one winged creatures from a chicken factory – you’re off to the one store you can tolerate shopping at – your local beer store. Remember at least a six pack of big boys of your favorite brand. Head on home to begin your work of art.
2nd step – Once you’re at home – pop the first can a take a big gulp (about a half of the can) for being such a good shopper. Set that can aside – pop open a fresh can (this ones for you – nobody likes being a thirsty cook) and gather your favorite spices and get ready to give that chicken the basting treatment. If you don’t want to put your own together use pre-made seasonings blend. We like some crushed garlic, salt and pepper, cayenne, paprika and butter.
3rd step- You’ve gathered the spices – you’re probably ready for a fresh can – pop one and go check the grill and fire it up. Get the temperature up to a low to medium cooking temperature. Back into the kitchen and mix the spices together.
4 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons of salt and pepper
2 tablespoons of cayenne
2 tablespoons of paprika
1 cup of butter
Melt the butter over low heat, add the spices and garlic, blend together well and of course have a drink. Take the blend off the stove and set aside.
4th step – Get the chicken ready for cooking. Remove the giblets – cook them on the side if you have a taste for them. Me, I think they’re perfect for keeping the dog happy. Oil up the empty cavity of the chicken. Use a can opener and open up the top of the beer you set aside. While you’re at it get yourself another can if you’re ready. Take about one quarter of your spice blend and pour it into the open can.
5th step – Take the chicken and set it down over the beer can – careful you don’t spill it. Sacrificing beer for food is a selfless act – spilling a beer is just unforgivable. Place the chicken – sitting upright on the beer can – on a disposable cooking roaster (hey if you’re cooking you want to minimize the clean up). Baste the chicken all around and thoroughly. Place the beer butt chicken and roaster onto the grill, close the lid and you’re cooking. Baste one or two times through the cooking. Cook between three and four hours – or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches (not against a bone) 180 degrees Fahrenheit. When done the wings should be loose and the skin clear.
Serve this delicious, mouth watering creation with fresh out of the garden spuds (cooked with garlic of course) and other veggies. It’s guaranteed to please all aspects of the culinary experience. Pop a fresh can and dig in.