Barbeque, as I found out the hard way, is more than hot dogs and hamburgers cooked outdoors over a disposable grill. When I was growing up, the height of summer was marked by a drive to the beach, undeterred by the rain, with a pathetic aluminum grill. More often than not out outdoor adventure was challenged when the grill refused to light until we satisfied our hunger on snacks and or beer. Barbeque is very different in the Mid West! The five regional kings of this culinary art, Memphis, The Carolina's, Kansas City, Texas and Virginia all claim to have the best in terms of technique and taste. Until now, there was little opportunity for those observing a kosher diet to get their hands on a taste of BBQ but that all changed on August 19 when the Vaad Hakashruth of Kansas City hosts the first ever Kosher BBQ Contest – and I have been invited to sit at the judges table.
BBQ is exciting enough and the event promises a full day of activity for the entire family, but why wait until August 19th for a taste of BBQ when you can smoke a chicken on a beer can tonight. Rabbi Mendel Segal, Executive Director the the Vaad Hakashruth shared this dish with me, and it's a pleasure to share this dish with you, and I invite you to share your favorite BBQ memories.
Beer Can Chicken with a Cajun BBQ Rub:
These ingredients make the Cajun rub and yields more then enough. Store some in an old spice jar on an air-tight container for next time:
- 2.5 tablespoons paprika
- 2 Tablespoons salt
- 2 Tablespoons garlic powder
- 1 Tablespoon pepper
- 1 Tablespoon onion powder
- 1 Tablespoon cayenne pepper
- 1 Tablespoon oregano
- 1 Tablespoon thyme
- 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
Place your chicken on a cookie sheet or aluminum foil then rub the chicken with a little chili infused olive oil. If you're not scared to get your hands dirty smear the oil ver the outside of the bird with your hands. Make sure to wash your hands with warm and soapy water before you touch anything else and after every touch of raw chicken. If you'd prefer not to wear gloves or handle raw chicken, put your raw bird in a large ziploc back and pour a the infused oil in. Seal the bad and gently massage the oil so the chicken is covered.
Add the spice rub to the chicken, either by rubbing it on by hand or by adding it to the ziploc bag and giving it a gentle shake.
Drink 1/3 can of beer and put a small potato or half an onion inside the chicken to close any gap at the top of the neck. Stand your chicken upright and place over the can of beer you started to drink from. Be careful not to apply too much force as the can will give way before your chicken does. While you don't need a stand, you can get an awesome Stainless Steel Beer Can Chicken Rack for just $10 on Amazon. I like to use this every time and am considering buying a second so I have have two birds going at once.
Now, you have three options, smoking, grilling or roasting.
To smoke your beer can chicken, make sure you have wood chips that you have soaked. Sometimes I smoke my wood chips in apple juice, water will suffice too. Apple and cherry wood work very well for this dish, but if you prefer hickory or mesquite, go right ahead. Pre heat the smoker to 200-225 degrees and put your beer can chicken in for around four hours.
To roast your beer can chicken, put your chicken, still standing, on a cookie sheet and pre heat your oven to 350 degrees. Allow the chicken to cook for at least an hour and be sure to check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer, you want it to reach at least 170 degrees. You can also go low-and-slow in the oven. To make the chicken pictured above, I cooked it at 350 for about 90 minutes then another thirty minutes or so on 250 to get a golden brown, crispy chicken skin.
Grilling is another great way to make your beer can chicken, and this is a favorite of mine when it's not 100+ degrees outside! For a slow grilled beer can chicken, put the chicken on one side of the grill and put one burner, on the opposite side, on low. Watch the internal temperature of the bird and expect for this to take up to three hours to cook.
Now, I think creamy coleslaw makes the perfect accompaniment to freshly cooked chicken. What's your favorite BBQ side-dish?