Beer-Can Chicken

Grandmother and Grandfather kindly sponsored a trip to Wegman's yesterday (yes, we drove to New Jersey on a bribe), so tonight's dinner was feastly. Feeling adventurous, we attempted to roast a whole chicken on Alex's 18-inch weber grill. For sides: grilled sweet potato salad and grilled asparagus.

For the chicken, we chose a recipe from Cooks Illustrated -- an incredible cooking web site that I subscribed to today ($24.99 per year, but already worth it). It's called beer-can chicken, because you shove a beer can into the cavity of a chicken and sit it on the grill for two hours. We had a minor crisis at first because the chicken was too big and the grill's top wouldn't close, but our friend cleverly suggested that we replace the rack with a smaller one from an old mini-weber. As a result, the chicken was set further inside the grill and took less than two hours to crisp. When we removed it, the breast was perfectly juicy and delicious. Unfortunately, the legs were still slightly underdone and we had to nuke them for about five minutes. It was delicious anyway, we were quite impressed with ourselves.

beer-can chicken:

You can probably make any rub you want, but the recipe we used called for about two tbsp each of celery seed, garlic powder, black pepper, cayenne pepper, kosher salt, a tbsp of dried thyme, and half a cup of sweet paprika. Rub the mix all over the chicken. Open a can of beer, drink a bit out, and stick some bay leaves inside. Then, puncture some holes in the top of the can and stick it inside the cavity of the chicken. Sit the chicken on the grill (indirect heat -- which means move the coals to the side and put it in the middle) and wait. When portions of ours began to crisp early, we covered them with tin foil. Time estimate: 20 minutes per pound.

grilled sweet potato salad:

Simmer maybe 5 pounds of sweet potatoes until they are slightly soft. Peel them and cut them. Make a dressing with half a cup of olive oil and two tsps each of salt and cumin. Pour about half of the dressing on the potatoes, and grill them. Afterward, pour the rest of the dressing over the potatoes and squeeze two limes over them as well. Chop a scallion, throw it in.

grilled asparagus:

Dress asparagus with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and a bit of oregano. Grill vegetables.