Sunday, March 9, 2008

"Guantanamo Chicken"

Almost nothing is more succulent or comforting than a perfectly roasted chicken. For years I swore that a chicken cooked on a rotisserie was as good as it got, but then I discovered "beer can chicken" Think of it as kind of a red neck version of a spit rotisserie roasted chicken. The advantage is this dish is much less equipment intensive and the end result is just as great.
Since I am a bit of a food snoot I have been trying to figure out a way to make this dish seem a bit more refined and a little less "hillbilly". Truth be told, the ingredients are the same, the prep is the same and the end result is just as good, whether you are eating this at a campsite or a country club.
Going forward, I am just going to be calling this dish "Guantanemo Chicken". Follow the illustrations below and this will ultimately make sense . To make this easy lets lay out the menu and the ingredients and then we will introduce the main course.

"Guantanemo Chicken" (Fire Roasted, Beer Can Chicken)
served with
Grill Roasted Asparagus
Roasted Corn, Cherry Tomato & Black Bean Salad

First things first, a little "water boarding" brining, go ahead and put the entire chicken into a large bowl with 3/4 cup of kosher salt and cold water. Let the bird soak for an hour before prepping for the grill.

To prep for the grill go ahead and pull the wing tips behind the bird. This is kind of a "put you hands behind your head" thing. The wings will stay without being tied up (bondage). Take a old time can opener (why is this called a Church Key?) and punch a couple of holes in a can of beer (on top of the can). The can is going to act as a stand on the grill for the bird. My feeling is that the quality of the beer is inversely proportional to the quality of the chicken, so Pabst is about as good as it gets.

Stand up the bird on the beer can (no cavity probe jokes....please) and apply dry rub spice mixture, go head and rub hard!. I use a spice mix of:

Spice Rub
1 Tbsp Coriander
1 Tbsp Yellow Mustard Seed
2 tsp Fennel Seeds
3 tsp Spanish Paprika
2 tsp Black Pepper
2 tsp Kosher Salt
(grind the seeds and add to remaining ingredients).

Personally I only cook with charcoal or hardwood and for this preparation take a chimney of coals that you divide into two piles (one on each side of the grill) after they are good and hot. As you can see the bird is not going to cook over direct heat. Cook the bird for 30 minutes and then rotate 180 degrees and cook for another 30 minutes (extra hot coals might bump down the cooing time to 25 minutes a side). (Okay chicken, veee havve vays to make you talk)

At 50-60 mins. pull the bird and let is rest for 10 minutes while covered with foil before you start carving.

Asparagus with a drizzle of olive oil and S& P and 2 mins per side on the grill.

A Southwest Bobby Flay-esque Roasted corn, Tomato and Black Bean salad with a red wine vinegar dressing and dinner is served.
In Season fresh corn is great for this and you can roast the whole ear with its husk and all on the grill.

This meal would go will with a Spanish or Portuguese wine. A
2005 Altano from the Douro region in Portugal scored an 85 in Wine Spectator and at Trader Joe's it will set you back all of $6.99 (this is the best bottle in the store for the price).


kittie said...

Lol - found this from Heather's Roast Chicken post - might have to give it a try! Think I would be able to cook it in a conventional oven??

Norm Schoen said...

I have tried this in a conventional oven and it doesn't seem to get hot enough. The kettle grill gives you the ability to cook over indirect heat, yet get the skin crisp from the high heat on the outside of the grill.
I am sure with some experimentation you could get great results indoors-
Good luck!