Follow by Email

Friday, October 7, 2011

Beer Can Chicken

   My husband must be crazy. Oh, do I hear some of you out there saying, "That's me!"? Last night the husband tells me that he's really in the mood for chicken. That is a little odd, he's a beef man. But what he tells me next is the real shocker. He tells me that I have two whole chickens in the extra freezer, and that I should take them both out and cook them for dinner tomorrow night. I ask him, "Both?" Who's going to eat all that chicken? We'll be lucky if its three of us. One will be more than enough." He then says, "but you make so many good things with the leftover chicken, you can cook the chickens tomorrow and use all the meat over the weekend."
   Did I just hear that right? He's telling me to purposely plan meals for the weekend with chicken? Days in a row, eating chicken? Either he's on something, or I am hearing things. I look at him, to see if there are any signs that he is having a stroke or something. Then I take my own pulse. I am neither sleeping nor dreaming, and I'm certainly not in heaven. He's standing there, straight-faced,telling me he's going to eat chicken all weekend long.
  Has he gone mad? I wonder what's come over him and mutter to myself that, come Monday, he is going to be a bear. He cannot go that long without beef.  Heck, I usually can't feel him chicken meals with less than two days between the meals. I shake my head and take out the two chickens, put them on my super speedy thawing rack in the refrigerator.
   Still shaking my head this morning I ask him how he would like me to prepare the chickens today. He responds, "beer can chicken, okay? Shoot, yeah, easy and yummy, and probably the best way to cook whole chickens, if you ask me. They stay moist and being on their little pedestals, its easy to carve them and strip the meat off. Works for me!
   I still have this feeling that something is not right with this scenario. Who knows if the eldest will grace us with his presence at the dinner table tonight? He has been MIA several times this past week. Okay Number two is off so he SHOULD be home, although he sometimes cuts out minutes before I get dinner on the table. Hrmph. "Kids."
   So after washing the chickens inside and out, and seasoning them with some chicken grill spice, and planting them onto their respective soda cans, as some of the residents here squawk at the "waste of perfectly good beer", and set in their own little racks they go into the convection oven. Convection ovens are king when it comes to cooking chicken. I had a small counter top version many, many years ago and learned that you can cook a whole chicken in and hour and five minutes, flat, crispy skin and moist breast meat. Oh, yeah, heaven in the chicken eating world.
   The convection oven I have now is my gas range, now complete with a little switch that says "speed bake". What that is, essentially, is a fan at the back of the oven that sends the heat swirling around the food, cooking it in one third less time. It takes a little longer for the chicken than the original hour and five minutes, but I attribute that to the oven being much larger than the compact counter top model of 25 years ago. And, sorry, but it does not work for baked goods, I've tried it. It may not hurt it, but it doesn't speed the baking, either.
   Inside the soda cans I had put a mixture of 3 ounces of water, 3 ounces of cider vinegar, and a tablespoon of the chicken grill spice. I greased the little babies and sprinkled some of the grill spice on top.

 Here's the little beauties on their pedestals:

  
   Into the oven, they go at 350°F. I am estimating about an hour and fifteen to an hour and half. I will test them to get to 175°F internal temperature, in the thigh, then take them from the oven, cover them with a foil tent and let the temperature go up to 180°F, which is a must for poultry. But let me give you a little tip--at 190° they're overdone and dry. It will take at least 15 minutes for the temperature to get up those last five degrees, and trust me, do not try to serve it below 180°F. Salmonella poisoning is not pretty. True, most adults probably won't die, but they will wish they could.
     Well, well. well. Someone pulled the wool over my eyes. Right after I popped the chickens in the oven I started scrubbing potatoes for the mashed potatoes also requested, when my oldest son finally shows up, asking if it was okay that he brought someone home for dinner. I thought to myself, "why not? I have much too much chicken, anyway." So I answer in the affirmative, grab a few more potatoes, and he calls into the other room for his company to come in and say hello to his mother. In walks someone who looks very familiar. Holy Cow, its my youngest son! What? How? Hey! How did you get home, wait, holy cow, you went to get him! Hey, did your dad know about this? Tears started flowing and I pulled my "baby" into my arms for a big hug and kiss.
   I was laughing and crying tears of joy; right up until yesterday Austin was telling me he had too much work to do, so he wasn't coming home for fall break. I was heartbroken, but accepting that he is serious with his studies, and grateful for that.
   As it turns out, he had contacted his brother a few days ago saying he wanted to come home, but he wanted it to be a surprise to me. They were all in on it, including my husband. Yeah, he wanted to eat chicken all weekend, and I believed that! Do I know my husband, or what? Beer can chicken is one of Austin's favorite meals.
   So as we did our catching up, dinner was cooking, but I failed to get photos of the finished product. The kitchen was swarming with my boys and husband, the aroma of roasting chicken, apple spice cake that finished just before putting the chickens in. It was like what those commercials say,
"Priceless."
   
   See you all tomorrow!