Food Buzz

Because maybe you do care what I had for lunch...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Beer can chicken

Last week I posted on One Little Bite about beer can chicken. Well, we tried it this weekend and it was (mostly) a success. The March/April Cooks Illustrated had an article on doing this indoors that included a glaze recipe and tips for crisp skin. We grilled outdoors and skipped the glaze, but I did apply their skin crisping tips: making incisions into the skin for fat drainage, adding a bit of baking powder to the salt rub, and letting the chicken air dry in the refrigerator for an hour before grilling.

After an hour and a half of grilling we checked on the chicken and discovered that the fire had gone out. Blast! I forgot to ventilate. But the chicken was almost completely done. We took the bird off, got the coals hot again, and split the bird in half to expedite the cooking. The skin was still juicy and flavorful, and the skin was the crispest I've ever had from the grill! Perfecting this method is going to be my summer project.


Kate The Great said...

So I've actually got a question about cooking with alcohol. I know that if you reduce enough of it and apply enough heat, all that's left is the flavor of the alcohol and not the intoxicating effects, right?

But I was watching a really simple cooking show yesterday (scroll down to the Catapiana recipe, though all of it looked tasty and manageable), and it looked like the wine was added last; it didn't look like the alcohol had time to disappear before the mussels opened and the dish was ready to serve.

You know the Word of Wisdom thing, but you also know why we don't drink alcohol. I think it's fine to cook with it as long as the actual alcohol is cooked out. With regards to this recipe, what do you think? Have you encountered any suitable substitutes for alcohol in cooking?

Adriana Velez said...

I love Sarah Moulton!

You can actually dump out all the beer and fill the can with water or juice. Your chicken will benefit from the evaporating liquid, which is what's most at work here.

Beer can add some nice flavor, and since it's only the evaporated beer that makes it to the chicken I don't think much (if any) alcohol actually makes it into the chicken.

Okay, cooking with alcohol. No matter how much you reduce there will almost always still be a bit of alcohol left. However, you're using such small amounts that even if you don't cook out most of the alcohol there's not enough to have much of a physiological effect. Plus, you're combining that alcohol with food, which mitigates the effects further.

My own ObGyn told me she had half a glass of wine every once in a while with dinner after the first trimester--I'm sure if you asked her she would say that a little booze in your food is not dangerous. She might say skip the shellfish for other reasons, though.