Loving the Whole Bird
by Amy Hunt
Is it just me or is the price of chicken increasing every time I go to the grocery store? My favorite way to buy chicken is the convenient way--- boneless skinless breasts. However my grocery bill tends to reflect my desire for convenience, due to the fact that my choice of chicken can be pricey. But yet I still shy away from purchasing chicken whole, with bones, skin, and all.
However, Dan has recently cured me of my phobia by intruding me to what he calls “Beer Can Chicken,” only it’s made with Sprite. Dan knows this recipe by heart, and is always excited to talk about it, and better yet to eat it. I am now in love with the whole bird, and my husband is thrilled to help out when we make it.
I am now preparing roasted, and even rotisserie chicken. Yes it’s true that when you buy the whole bird you pay for the bones and all, but those things don’t need to be thrown out. Use them to make a rich delicious stock. Plus when you cook chicken on the bone it tends to be moister, and in my opinion have a better flavor.
Beer Can Chicken
1 whole chicken, rinsed and patted dry
3 Tablespoons each: pepper, salt, paprika, and brown sugar
1 can Sprite – or any other carbonated beverage in a can
This chicken is cooked using an indirect heat source on an outdoor grill. Using a grill with a double burner, turn only one side to high. The chicken will be cooked on the opposite side in an upright position. Make sure that the gill is tall enough so that the chicken can sit upright.
While grill is heating prepare the chicken. Mix all spices together. Thoroughly rub down chicken with spices (really rub it in to the bird both inside and out).
Pour out half of the can of Sprite. Mix some of the spices in with remaining Sprite.
Place the can of Sprite on the grill – on the opposite side of the heated burner. Place the chicken over the can of Sprite. I know it sounds unorthodox – but put the can right up the chickens back side. Position the legs of the chicken to help it balance with the can inside.
Let the chicken cook for 1 ½ hours. Rotate the chicken after 45 min. so that both sides will have faced the heat source. Check for doneness. Cut up and enjoy!
** The more spices the better! To really get the meat to soak up the spices, I not only rub the spices on the skin but underneath it too. By using a rubber spatula you can separate the skin from the meat. Do this gently! The skin should be kept intact as much as possible to hold in moisture.
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