Posts Tagged ‘poultry’


Tearing it a new one. (BEERCAN CHICKEN)

June 6, 2009


I finally did it! And it was just as easy as I thought it would be, or as everyone said it would. What we’re talking here is a grill-ready, party-starting, (hilariously photogenic) dish called beercan chicken. The concept is to stick a half-full can of beer into the cavity of a whole chicken. The chicken, now supported by the can and its own legs in tripod fashion, is placed upright on the grill (or in the oven) and cooked to absolute perfection with beer basting the meat throughout the process. You probably know all about beercan chicken already and I am the one that is late to the party. But, I am late to every party and this chicken is damn good!

A dry rub seems to be the best method of seasoning for this because it sticks! The spices get nicely toasted while infusing their flavor inside and out. I splashed the birds with a very light coat of canola oil and a touch of lime juice before the spice-rub pat down and covertly slipped a few cloves of crushed garlic into the beer cans. For these party chickens we used the Salt Lick Dry Rub straight from the great state of Texas. (See Grandma, they did do something for us!) Since the rub does contain salt, I went very lightly on additional salt and pepper. It’s important to test how salty the spice mix you are using is, especially if store-bought, so as not to over season in the end. Tony Chachere’s, for example, is so salty that no extra dusting is needed. Brent’s Blacken Spice is lighter on salt, so ample salting will make it just right. Take a little taste of your chosen rub before the raw poultry gets involved.

On this new grilling venture J9 advised me to use tall boys, which made the half-can-of-beer-drinking contest slightly more substantial but unfortunately our little grill was not tall enough to replace the lid once the chickens were assembled and vertical. Since a firmly closed lid* is vital to the cooking process and I had lots of hungry people milling about, I thought fast and made the cavity a bit wider by cracking the breast bone with my bare hands. It was easy to jam the chickens a little further down onto the cans which adjusted the height, worked fine and prevented a reckless waste of beer. (Beercan chicken is foolproof!) For the first half hour or so the chicks grilled beautifully on the Weber, but to make room for some Arthur Avenue sausages, we moved them to the oven to finish them off (400 degrees, 30 minutes more). The smoky goodness of the grill was locked in and the Salt Lick spices made it especially addictive. After the mandatory resting period, we savagely carved pieces right off of the cans. The chicken quickly disappeared in a frenzy of smmmmmacking… and the sausages barely made it off of the grill.

*close the lid to keep in the heat, yes, but leave that little air-hole thingy open or you suffocate the fire. Ask me how I know…

The menu:
Sun-dried tomato hummus and pita chips
Olive tapenade + smoked mozzarella flatbread
Quinoa with roasted mushrooms and carrots
Marinated roasted peppers
Parsley and cheese sausages
Salt lick beercan chicken
…and grilled pizza dough handled in various creative ways

1 whole chicken, about 3.5 pounds
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 lime, juiced
1/4 cup chikken grillin spice rub of yo choice
1 can of beer
2 cloves of garlic crushed

  • Prep your grill or preheat oven to 400F.
  • Place whole chicken on a foil covered tray and remove gizzards. etc.
  • Mix oil and lime juice in a small bowl and rub it all over the chicken, inside and out.
  • Sprinkle chicken evenly with spice rub, inside and out.
  • Drink 1/2 can of beer and drop garlic into the can.
  • Place chicken onto can.
  • Grill or roast until clear juices run out of pierced flesh (pierce several spots, thigh, breast, leg)
  • Let rest ten minutes before carving and beware, the cans will still be very hot.


beercanchix_firePhoto by Stan


I love a good fridge challenge. (POTATO HASH)

November 1, 2008


Miss S. and I, in the extremely rare instance that we are home at the same time, like to cook things and pretend to smack each other in the face as a gesture of ‘this is so good, I can’t hold back’. Our favorite theme of the bread we break together is: ‘fridge-challenge’. That is when you create an impromptu meal with the current contents of your fridge because…

a.) they will soon bite the dust (and no one likes to waste food).
b.) you want to show up someone who looks in the fridge and says, ‘there’s nothing to eat’.
c.) it is the time of day when one is soooo hungry that waiting another minute to eat is impossible, so one must make do.

On this fortuitous evening it was a combination of a.) and c.) that inspired our meal.

With our aforementioned CSA box coming in weekly, there is always some interesting seasonal produce hanging around, though this happens to be the time of year when the harvest is like a broken record repeating squash, potatoes, squash, potatoes… I refuse to complain. There are 1001 ways to use squash (more to come, Look out!) and I happen to be quite fond of making potato hash. Not only because of the name:

hash 1 |ha sh |noun a dish of cooked meat cut into small pieces and recooked, 
usually with potatoes.• a finely chopped mixture • a mixture of jumbled incongruous 
things; a mess. verb [ trans. ]1 make (meat or other food) into a hash.
• to chop (meat or vegetables).2 ( hash something out) come to agreement on something 
after lengthy and vigorous discussion,

but because it can be a two-ingredient dish or twenty. And everybody likes it. At least in my experience so far. To make great hash, although easy, requires a few things such as a reliable casserole or skillet, a non-quit spatula and elbow grease. It is a great little number to have down in the mental recipe file. Hash your potatoes with some other exotic root veggies, celery, onions, peppers (let imagination run wild here). Crumble in some cooked meat or drape a slice of cured salmon over… with a carefully poached egg on top, a champion could have his/her breakfast. A perfect party breakfast item or light supper, a hard-earned hash can be made the day before and reheated in the oven. The most memorable hash I can think of (besides the variation we recently concocted with leftover smoked ribs, potatoes, turnips and scallions) is from Kate’s Kitchen in San Franciscoxoxox. Upon eating it, the notion of adding other veggies dawned on me. They sneak parsnips, carrots, celery as well as classic corned beef in there.

The best way to handle a fridge challenge is to pull out your ingredients, see what goes well together and give each one a role. The previous CSA box presented us one last tomato. Summer waved us goodbye as the radiators in our apartment began to hiss and snarl. The tomato got sliced thickly, drizzled with great olive oil (a staple), some white balsamic, a squeeze of a half lemon that was sitting in the fridge, big chunks of freshly ground salt and pepper, and a crumble of feta cheese. First course done! Quick, easy and we were tided until the main event.


Also found in the fridge, a snapshot of autumn; potatoes, an onion, garlic, some turnips and an acorn squash. The squash was halved and roasted*. It was then stuffed with a whole incongruous mess o’ potato hash, which successfully included all the rest of our fridge ingredients with some roasted chicken diced up in there. I put the usual condiments (salt, pepper, hot sauce) out on the table along with a little container of real maple syrup for some reason. I didn’t try drizzling it on until my last few bites of the meal and it was pretty outrageous. Miss S. thought we’d invented a genius dinner with dessert built in. Then she fake-slapped me in the face.

1/4 cup canola oil
1 onion, chopped
2 pounds potatoes, scrubbed and chopped into 1 inch pieces
1/2 pound turnips, scrubbed and chopped into 1 inch pieces
1 cup broth or water, plus some extra
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper

  • Heat canola oil in a skillet or casserole (Stainless steel or enamel is best. I do not like to use a non-stick here because you will want to scrape the lovely bits of browned potato from the bottom of the pan. You will!)
  • Toss in the onions, potatoes and turnips. Add some salt and pepper. Allow to cook for several minutes until you can see some of the edges browning. Using advised elbow grease and spatula, scrape browned bits from the bottom and overturn the vegetables so new spots can get brown.
  • Continue this process for about 15 minutes. Add stock or water several times throughout, scraping the bottom each time. Adjust the heat so you get brown, not burn.
  • Add garlic, mix well.
  • Cook hash until potatoes are cooked through, adding more stock, scraping and overturning as needed, about 40 minutes total.
  • Season well. They are potatoes after all and need some help to be fabulous.

(This is just a basic recipe, add additional assorted veggies when adding the potatoes, etc.)

  • Stir in cooked pieces of meat toward the end, leaving enough time to heat them through.

If you want to roast a squash like we did, it couldn’t be easier. Cut your favorite type (butternut, buttercup, acorn, sunshine, kabocha) in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, rub with a little oil and roast at 400F until you can easily pierce the flesh through to the center. Cooking will vary depending on the size of the squash….acorn squash is a smallish variety, it takes about 40 minutes.