“Everybody says, ‘I have problems overcooking steak on the grill. Just take it off earlier!” – Bobby Flay
I know Bobby. Grilling isn’t rocket science but there seems to be a fine line between slightly under cooked and incinerated.
Not to belabor a point that I have made before, and despite what your favorite dictionary might tell you, barbeque is a noun not a verb…or an adverb…or adjective…maybe. My English teachers are looking down from heaven shaking their heads.
Okay, after much thought, it is okay to say you ate barbequed pork or chicken. That denotes it is a type of chicken or barbeque, not an action. I am belaboring a point, but one prepares barbeque. One eats barbeque. One does not say “I’m going to a barbeque for chicken or steaks in the backyard.” That is grillin’.
Moving along, my subject is grillin’. My subject is not serving succulent meat slowly cooked over wood coals for most of the day before the meat succumbs to gravity and falls off the bones. That is barbeque, usually pork in my part of the world. I didn’t move along far, did I?
My subject matter today is the rapid roasting of meat, hamburgers, or hotdogs…or in my case chicken. I do try to feed my obsession with food in a healthy manner…not really. I also like to prepare it slowly over indirect heat out of regard for my Southern, slow-cookin’ roots. Indirect heat allows me a margin of error.
I rarely grill beef. A man must know his limitations. I can’t seem to get it right. Goldilocks I could never be because nothing is “just right.” Beef requires perfect grill marks on the outside and a pink juicy middle. I blame my grandmother and mother. To them steak wasn’t done until it was crisp. Honestly, I never ate steak anyway other than crisp until I was out of college.
To defend my mother and grandmother, I grew up in an age when round worms could still be found in beef and pork. Yuck. Round worms cause trichinellosis, a parasitic disease that is muy malo. Don’t hear of it much in the United States because we have standards…FDA standards. We also didn’t cook many “premium” cuts of meat. Cubed steak, Chicken fried steak, or hamburgers were about the best we could expect.
Hamburgers on a griddle I can do but the grilled ones end up over cooked and dry, hotdogs that are exactly right suddenly become crispy critters as I look for my misplaced tongs to remove them from the grill. Do I have to give up my “man card?” Laud help me if I decide to grill expensive cuts of beef. Have you eaten filet de ash covered splinter?
For some reason, chicken seems to be more forgiving. Maybe because I didn’t ring the poor creature’s neck myself. Fact is, chicken should be served over done rather than underdone…that is a salmonella fact. So how do you keep it from drying out and becoming tough? Brine it, marinade it, pound it with a mallet, use dry rubs, or cook it over indirect heat…or all.
I find the perfect way to prepare grilled chicken is whole, roasted over the indirect heat provided by my thirty-year-old Weber Kettle grill. The grill is really that old. The legs rusted off a decade ago and I built a stand for it. I’ve contemplated a new one but decided to wait until the bottom rusts out of the old one.
Here is my favorite recipe for whole chicken. Note, you may brine it, use your favorite marinade, or dry rub. You can’t pound it. You must use indirect heat.
Don’s Beer Butt Chicken- File under grillin’ and I didn’t create the recipe, I just perfected it.
1 cup butter, divided (I guess you could use vegetable oil, but I’ve never tried.)
2 tablespoons of your favorite rubbing spices, divided
2 tablespoons of paprika, divided
salt and pepper to taste
1 (12 fluid ounce) can of beer
1 (4 pound) whole, washed and patted dry chicken
Put on your favorite grillin’ apron. Mine says “I like my butt rubbed and my pork pulled” but then this is about chicken not pork.
I am a traditionalist or a “charcoalist” I use charcoal. I don’t use starter fluid and start it with a tower. There are no unwanted chemicals affecting the taste of the chicken. I set the heat vents on both the top and bottom to barely open. You may use a propane grill, just heat on one side, and cook on the other. You may have to adjust the time.
While my charcoal is catching fire, I combine half of my spices, salt and pepper, and paprika while drinking half a can of my favorite beer in a can. Set the remaining beer aside for later.
I rub down my washed and dried chicken with half of the butter and then sprinkle half of my spices over the chicken, on all sides and inside, and pat them down into the butter.
By now the coals should be caught and I divide the coals leaving the middle of the grill clear of charcoal. If you want to add wood chips, now is the time. I would suggest pecan or apple wood.
In a small sauce pan I melt the remaining butter and when melted mix in the remaining spices. When combined, I CAREFULLY add it to the beer can with the remaining beer. BE CAREFUL, the beer will foam.
On a grill pan, I place the chicken with the beer can stuffed up its butt forming a tripod with the chicken’s legs. Carefully place the chicken on the grill pan, in the middle of the grill and cover with the grill lid. Note, there is a stand that you can purchase to hold the chicken and beer can in place but as I said, I’m a traditionalist.
I cover the grill and then walk away for forty-five minutes, about two to three beers in time. Don’t peek, that just allows the heat to escape.
After forty-five minutes, using a meat thermometer, I check the breast, which should be 165 degrees F. and the thigh which should be 170 degrees F. If not at the correct temperature, drink another beer and check again. If chicken has reached the correct temperature, remove it from grill and wrap in aluminum foil and let rest for ten minutes. Drink another beer if you want but remember you might not want to pass out before eating your chicken.
Read more at https://www.amazon.com/stores/Don-Miller/author/B018IT38GM?ref=ap_rdr&store_ref=ap_rdr&isDramIntegrated=true&shoppingPortalEnabled=true