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Monday, October 19, 2009

Not Just Any Ole' Chicken

Call it "Wild, Crazy, Stunning and down right Outrageous", but we're not just talkin' about browning any little ole' birdie here. This is my special tale about a bird that had all the reasons available in this world to believe, they would have a carefree life, and most importantly never become the mistake, of ending up on my dinner table. This is how it all happened.

One Day, not to long ago, I was encouraged or should I say challenged, to take my "Grill Master's skill to the next level. Although I've endured many grilling stories told by some of the best grillers I know, it was now my turn perfect the art of cooking chicken on the grill.

Growing up in the south, I became a true fan of what my family affectionately called the "Gospel Bird". That title was offered because thats what most southern families were accustomed to eating on not one, but practically on every single Sunday, after church services. We had it, fried broiled, boiled, baked, stuffed, dressed up, cut up..whew!! you name it, they cooked it and I ate it. It wasn't until I grew up and older, that I eventually learned to enjoy that featherless non-clucking wonder grilled.

Of course, like with any and most things in life, there is a process and everyone has their own little twist to its perfected prescription.
I'm no different, but if you've read one of my other, previous post on gilling steaks you already know I'm passionate about my connection with the meat I cook and eat.

Grilling the "Gospel Bird" is no different to me. I start out by dreaming the night before of choosing and meeting the most incredible chicken in the market available. That bird has got to posses character, and most portantly have a fragrance of  freshness that just stops you right in your tracks; so much so, you swear it was actually calling your name. After you get your newly found friend home, is when you must do everything humanly possible to keep that connection and freshness preserved.  I bathe my bird and gently pat it dry. By now the bird is just dying (no pun intended) to rest and get fully adapted to its new environment and temperature of the kitchen.  During this brief moment of separation, I begin to collect all of the special seasons and and utensils I need to make it all happen.

Introducing my favorite choice of BEER.

No it's not for me to drink. This special can of brew is selected for our guest star, who's still resting on the counter.

Today my friends, we explore and conquer the task of preparing the one and only, famous "BEER CAN CHICKEN".

The grill is set up early on in the process. I personally love the taste a flavor of using charcoal, so I've got a few extra steps to complete.  I'm also using a charcoal chimmney starter, because it allows be a bit more of safety while awaiting the coals to get hot and a proper start.  I"m also going to set up two separate heat zones in the grill, because I really like the use of indirect heat to cook the bird.  Additionally, I place a drip pan in the center of the zones, because one of the greatest attributes to this dish, is that all of that bad and unhealthy fat will have some place to go as it drips off the upright and yummy bird.

In the meantime, I've externally and internally seasoned the bird, but I bump it up a step by injecting some of the dry seasoning (mixed with a liquid seasoning), into the larger parts of the bird, i.e. the breast, thighs and legs. I only use half of the contents of the selected beer. This is imperative because a full or sealed can of beer could result in an explosion. The unused half of the beer can be consumed or poured onto any wood chips you're soaking, creating a flavorful smoking affect. The rest or any remaining portions of the dry seasoning I pour into the beer can.

Now take hold of the entire chicken and lower it onto the beer can so that it fits inside the cavity.  Next, I pull the legs of the bird forward, which now forms a tripod effect, so the bird can stand.  Oh, by the way, since this is also about presentation, I tuck the birds wings to the rear, which actually makes the bird look majestic and proud to stand tall inside your grill...... That's exciting!!!

Finally, I place my nameless friend onto the center of the grill directly over the drip pan.

WARNING: Provided you're not experiencing separation anxiety right now... Go ahead, It's ok, you have my permission, CLOSE THE LID!!!!!

Should all go well, you will be reunited in about 1-2 hrs. Let the masterpiece rest again for about 5minutes, then afterwhich using tongs, carefully remove the bird from the now very, very HOT can of beer, being careful not to burn yourself, then discard the can of beer.




  1. I'm hungry now! Sounds yummy! Can't wait for Thanksgiving!! :)

  2. My deepest regards go to the family of our dear friend "gospel birdie".."gospel birdie" was a good chicken. we used to facebook, and tweet about all of the finer things in life. never did i think i would be enjoying his company from inside my belly..god bless you birdie, god bless you..amen lol


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