Monday, October 10, 2011

Red Neck Chicken

Remember when I promised photos of our newly landscaped flower beds?  I'm happy to report that this was the weekend that we decided to work on our yard improvement projects.  After a busy weekend of yard work, it's starting to look much better.  (It's amazing what 15 yards of mulch can do to spruce things up.)  We turned the mulching into a family affair so it went pretty quickly.  We also transplanted a couple of plants and pruned back lots of overgrown shrubs and roses.   By Sunday night, we were all pretty tired but we accomplished a lot this weekend.  Here are some of the highlights of our weekend work. 

Even though we were busy with yard improvements, I made Beer Can Chicken on the Big Green Egg on Saturday night.  My son though it was a very redneck way to cook a chicken but I've got to tell you - red neck or not - it was a beautiful chicken.

I made this chicken to give away to some friends but I had made the same chicken earlier in the week for us to eat.  (A test chicken)  This was one juicy chicken.  

Let me start by saying that I am NOT a beer drinker.  I hardly ever buy it so needless to say, I headed into the grocery store blindly.  The recipe that I was using recommended using a 16 ounce beer can to support the weight of the bird so I bought the first 6 pack of 16 ounce beers that I found.  Good thing my dad is coming for a visit soon to drink up the rest of the beer. 

This recipe came from the March/April 2009 issue of Cook's Illustrated.  I've never tried to cook a chicken like this before so I thought I would give it a try.  (hense the test chicken)  I modified the recipe a little so I could cook it on the Egg but I thought it worked out pretty well.  The hardest part was getting the chicken off of the can. 

Glazed Roast Chicken                               Glaze
1 whole chicken                                        1 teaspoon cornstarch
5 teaspoons kosher salt                          1 Tablespoon water
1 teaspoon baking powder                     1/2 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon black pepper                         1/2 cup orange marmalade
1 16 ounce can beer                                 1/4 cup cider vinegar
                                                                    2 Tablespoons butter
                                                                    2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
                                                                    1 teaspoon black pepper

Cut 4 1” incisions in chicken breasts.  Use metal skewer to poke holes in breasts and thighs.  Combine salt, baking powder and pepper.   Pat chicken dry with paper towels and rub with salt mixture.  Refrigerate uncovered 30-60 minutes.  Heat Big Green Egg or oven to 325.  Open beer and pour (or drink) 1/2 of the beer out of the can.  Spray can with cooking spray.  If using a Big Green Egg,  put the plate setter over the grate, upside down.  Center a disposable aluminum pan over the plate setter.  Put the can of beer in the middle of the pan.  Slide the chicken over the beer can.

Roast until chicken breasts reach 140.  (about 75 minutes)  Increase the temperature to 500.  Combine cornstarch and water.  Bring remaining glaze ingredients to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat.  Cook 6-8 minutes until reduced to 3/4 cup.  Slowly whisk in cornstarch mixture.

When Egg (or oven) reaches 500, pour 1 1/2 cups water into the bottom of the aluminum pan.  Cook until breast reaches 175.  (about 30 more minutes)

Brush chicken with 1/4 cup glaze and continue to roast 5 more minutes.  Repeat.  Remove chicken by sliding it off the can, transferring it to a platter and covering it with foil.  Let chicken rest for 20 minutes.  Brush with remaining glaze and serve. 

This chicken smelled and looked fabulous.  I can't give you my opinion on taste because I gave this chicken away but I can tell you that the test chicken that I made earlier in the week was delicious.  I didn't add the glaze to the test chicken because I ran out of time but after making this chicken with the glaze, I definitely think it was worth the extra effort.  The glaze really made the skin crispy and golden brown.  This recipe is definitely on my list of recipes to make again soon. 

Bon Appetit!

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