The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

On The Table

June 6, 2012

Cheryle Finley: Try cooking beer can chicken in the oven

JOPLIN, Mo. — Are you just now getting the grill fired up for summer, or are you one of those who grills year-round?

Either way, I know you are looking forward to a summer of great meals, courtesy of the gas or charcoal that fuels your grill.

Getting the perfect grilled steak, chicken or chop is usually a lot of trial and error because of many factors involved. Bone-in or boneless, thin or thick-cut, rare or well-done? Some experts say to start over high heat with a good sear, then move to indirect heat to continue. Others say to start and stay with indirect heat.

Some say turn the meat only one time, while others say flip frequently. To marinate or not to marinate? This is another question for lots of grillers. All of these are a matter of personal preference. You know your cook stove and how to get the best results. The same goes for your grill. It has its own little quirks that only you know about and can work around.

Do better cuts make better end results? Sure, if cooked correctly. But you can ruin a very expensive piece of meat, too. I once heard Anthony Bourdain say that a chimpanzee could cook a great cut of meat, but it takes a real cook to make the lesser cuts more desirable.

No matter the cost of the meat, all grilling know-it-alls agree that letting the meat rest three to five minutes before cutting into it makes all the difference in the world in the final product. If you don’t let it rest, you will stop the carry-over cooking and will be losing the great juices that make for a moist bite every time.

Most of us are probably familiar with the beer can chicken recipe you can fix on your grill. You might even have the metal contraption that holds the can and the chicken upright, but it’s no problem if you don’t because the chicken will sit right up on the beer can. My nephew, Billy, fixes one of these almost every weekend in a smoker, and I always expect the chicken to break into a dance. When I see it sitting there, its wings and legs look ready for action.

I’m not a beer fan, but the end result from cooking your chicken like this is worth trying.

Marlys Weston, of Baxter Springs, Kan., wrote to me requesting a beer can chicken recipe for the oven instead of the grill, and I was able to find one. That means we will have an extra recipe this week.


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