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Friday, November 10, 2006
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1 whole chicken, cleaned, washed, and patted dry
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 Tbsp. Frank Davis Poultry Seasoning
2 tsp. salt and black pepper mixture
1 beer, 12-ounce can
1 very small whole potato
1 upright chicken holder*
1 large baking pan
One of those recipes you can do at home in the oven, or
outside on the barbecue grill, or even on the smoker at a tailgate party,
drunk chicken (also referred to sometimes as "tipsy chicken") probably
produces some of the most intense flavor the slow-cooking process can
produce. The inside comes out unbelievably juicy because of the steaming
effect of the beer (which also adds rich, but subtle, flavors because of the
barley, malt, and hops), and the outside comes out super, crunchy, crispy
because of the dry heat that surrounds the bird as it cooks. Oh, yeah…this
is done uncovered! And here's how it's done:
First fire up either the barbecue grill (heat source on one
side, no heat on the side the chicken will cook on) or the kitchen stove
(the proper temperature setting is 350 degrees F). Then after cleaning the
chicken extremely well, taking care to remove all the debris left inside the
cavity and washing the bird inside and out, pat it dry with paper towels.
At this point, rub down the chicken - again, inside and out - with the olive
oil. Then, by gently loosening the skin on the breast with your fingers,
slide two sprigs of the fresh rosemary between the skin and the breast meat,
one on either side. Then liberally sprinkle on the poultry seasoning and the
salt and pepper mixture and briskly rub it into the chicken with your hands.
Next, open the can of beer and either drink or pour out [!]
about a third of it. Then place the chicken on top of the beer can so that
it "squats" in place. In the old days, even back in the days of the
Depression, aficionados who cooked drunk chicken regularly would have to
proceed with caution, since often times the chicken would topple over, the
beer would all spill out, the flames would be doused, and the chicken
sometimes never cooked. These days, though, there are special "holders" you
can get which are designed to support the can as well as the chicken and
which keep it from toppling.
When the chicken rests atop the can of beer the way you want
it, set the chicken, the can, and the holder into a baking pan (which will
catch the natural drippings). Then plug the neck hole of the chicken with
the potato to keep steam from escaping. And finally, slide the pan into the
oven or onto the grate of the barbecue grill. From this moment on, do not
open the oven, lift the BBQ cover, or peek at the chicken in any way
The next thing you'll do is remove the chicken from the oven
or barbecue pit in 1-1/2 to 2 hours (depending upon the size of the
chicken), take it off the beer can and the holder, and cut it into serving
size pieces. You're going to find that it's magnificently flavored,
virtually maintenance free, and very low in cholesterol and fat (unless you
fold a batch of poached veggies and creamer potatoes into the drippings!).
Just one little note-if you have always made do with one chicken for your
meals, you might want to cook two whenever you fix "Drunk Chicken!"
1-A great accompanying vegetable side dish mirepoix - and one that is also
hassle-free-could be concocted with a combination of A-size creamer
potatoes, fresh green beans, bias-cut peeled carrots, and quartered baby
Portabella mushrooms. The mixture can either be steamed in a deep-sided,
covered skillet in chicken broth until just tender or poached in light
seafood boil seasoning until tender crisp or smothered down until done in a
crockpot. Whichever way you decide to prep them, when they are almost done
transfer them to the baking pan holding the chicken so that as the chicken
roasts its natural juices drip into the veggies to season and flavor them.
Add a little butter to finish off the vegetables just before serving and
sprinkle lightly with extra salt and pepper if necessary.
2-Salt and black pepper mix can be homemade by combining two
parts of salt to one part of coarsely ground black pepper and stashing it in
an airtight container.
3-To prepare this recipe properly, only regular beer should
be used. Do not use "light" beer as a substitute. Of course, you can add
whatever special flavors you like to the beer-soy sauce, Worcestershire,
liquid crabboil, you name it. And, of course, if you'd prefer to go with
alcohol-free alternatives, you can substitute your favorite cola, lemonade,
ginger ale, apple juice, etc. in place of the "brew."
4-If you're really, really careful, you might be able to
"balance" your chicken just on top of the beer can. But several principal
sources supply holders and racks for cooking drunk chicken. They can be
found on the Internet and range in price from $10 to $180. I got the one I
used on the show from Cajun Chickcan, c/o Flip-N-Fry, Dept. CC,
1-800-615-5740 (cost was $10.50 plus tax and shipping) and it works just
fine. Actually, since I usually cook for a crowd, I bought three. You might
want to pick up at least one extra one.
5-If you plan to do the recipe on the barbecue grill, light
one side of the grill but not the other, and cook the chicken on the
unlighted side to utilize "incidental heat" and to minimize flare-ups. This
is not a problem when doing the recipe in the oven. But again, do not wrap
the chicken in foil!
6-To make certain the chicken is cooked to perfection, I
recommend you use a meat thermometer and continue to roast the bird until
the internal temperature reaches 180 degrees [F].
7-Oh, yeah. . . and be very careful how you handle the can
after the cooking time has elapsed. The beer (and the can) could still be
extremely hot! Don't get burned!
Gigi's Baked Chicken
with Wine-Soaked Vegetables
Index - Poultry Recipe