Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Bossy-pants chicken

I mean really.  Don't tell me that you don't get the image of your big sister giving you what for.  I'm sure I'll get some flack from my readers (or perhaps even someone's big sister) for that comment, but beside the fact that this photo really does make this chicken look like you're about to get a good check-in at the smack-down motel, I think I've improved on its original moniker quite nicely.

Bossy-Pants Chicken's original alias is "beer can chicken."  It has other aliases, but you can look those up on the internet.  We try not to be in poor taste here, this is a family blog.

If you don't drink beer, it might be hard to figure out what to do with the five other cans in the six-pack after you use one to make the chicken.  To those of you struggling with this particular challenge, might I suggest beer can art.  This example of the famous John Milkovisch house in Houston, TX is rather stunning, don't you think?  I rather like the festive entryway.  Those are beer can tops hanging from the eaves like long, sparkly fringe.  It's what I plan to do with all my beer cans when I'm not making Bossy-Pants Chicken.  Really!

When I explained what we would have for dinner on a recent weekend night, my husband's reply was "WHAT??"  To him, cooking a whole chicken on a grill with a can of beer stuck up its, well, cavity was a bit repulsive.  I told him that I was sorry I'd explained the preparation process, something that often helps him make up his mind that he's not going to like something before he even tastes it.

Trust me, it's really good chicken.  I've cooked quite a few chickens this way but hadn't done one in about a dozen years.  And I had a really good spice rub and some hardwood charcoal, which pretty much makes everything on the grill taste great.

I hope you'll try Bossy-Pants Chicken soon.  You can season it with whatever you'd like, you can brine it ahead of time, you can even pour out all the beer in the can and use wine or bourbon or Crystal Light lemonade (just joking), but I still think that half can of beer makes a great chicken.  The meat--all the meat--is succulent, tender, falling off the bone, while the skin is crispy and totally addictive, and there's a slight malty flavor from the beer that complements the spices nicely.  Did I convince you?

Now, if you're worried about bisphenol A, an epoxy that has been known to sometimes line the interiors of beer cans, or the about ink on the outside of the beer can, you can use a vertical chicken roaster such this one and pour a small amount of beer in the receptacle on the bottom, or try to find a stainless steel cup to fit inside the center ring.  Or perhaps, if you're very clever, you can fashion something out of heavy duty aluminum foil to hold the beer inside the confines of the roaster.  Let's see who's the cleverest amongst you!  Send your ideas posthaste!

Here's the basic procedure for Bossy-Pants Chicken.  The seasoning in the recipe link is good, but I like my spice rub better (find that recipe below).  Brine if you wish for extra moistness.  And don't forget the hardwood charcoal!

Oh, and by the way: if you've been reading this blog for a while, you'll have figured out that I'm the original Bossy Pants.  No lie.

My Favorite Spice Rub for Grilled Chicken

This recipe makes about 1/2 cup.  Published November 1, 2006 in Cook's Illustrated.

2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons curry powder
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground allspice
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 Tbs. kosher salt (my addition)
2 Tbs. Penzey's BBQ 3000 seasoning or an equal amount of Tony Chachere's Creole seasoning or other Cajun seasoning mix (my addition)

Combine all ingredients in small bowl and seal airtight if you don't plan to use this rub right away. To apply spice rubs, sprinkle over the food and then gently massage in the seasonings to make sure they adhere. As a general rule, use about 1 tablespoon of rub per portion of poultry or meat and 1 teaspoon of rub per portion of fish. Although rubs can be applied right before cooking, we’ve discovered that the flavor of the spices penetrates deeper into the food if given time. Refrigerate rubbed meat for at least an hour to maximize the return (large cuts of meat can sit overnight for a spicier, more intense flavor).


Right before this post was to be published, I got a spice rub recipe via email from one of my trusted recipe sites that I want to pass on to you.  Although I haven't tried it myself, one scan of the ingredient list made me a believer.  Maybe you can give it a whirl before I do.  The recipe follows.

All-Purpose Summer Spice Rub

Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen

Yield: 1/3 cup


2 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds
1 tablespoon anise seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon celery seeds
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon sweet smoked Spanish paprika (pimentón)
1 tablespoon kosher salt


1. In a medium skillet set over medium-low heat, add the mustard seeds, anise seeds, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, celery seeds and black pepper. Cook, shaking the pan often, until the spices begin to smoke and become golden and fragrant, about 5 minutes.
2. Turn the spices out onto a large plate to cool, then transfer to a spice grinder or coffee mill and pulverize until fine. Pour into a medium bowl and whisk in the smoked paprika and salt. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark and dry spot for up to six months. Shake to combine before using.


What wine to drink with this chicken?   If you prefer white wine, you'll want one that's full-bodied and juicy, such as a domestic sauvignon blanc or a fume blanc; those will go nicely with the chicken in the basic recipe.  If you use the aromatic spice rub, above, be adventurous and try Charles' Smith's Kung Fu Girl Reisling, from Washington state.  A substantial, juicy rose such as Marques de Caceres Rioja Rose (Spain) would work too.  I prefer a red with this chicken.  A bright, young, lighter-bodied pinot noir (look for Forefront Pinot Noir, a Pine Ridge label from the Willamette Valley or Pierre Labet Ile de Beaute Pinot Noir) would be a great match.  You could also choose a fruity, lighter zinfandel or a syrah.  Ask your wine guy at Spec's to help you choose something you'll enjoy.

No comments:

Post a Comment