10.20.2008

Brined Beer Can Chicken w/ Aji Verde Sauce





Columbus Day weekend was one of the most gorgeous weekends ever. It was sunny and in the high 70s throughout. Neil and I decided to take advantage of the weather and grill out. Lately, we’ve been super obsessed with roasted chicken. This craze started with the roasted chicken at Palena CafĂ© in DC, which hands down is the best I’ve ever had. We’ve been on a big chicken kick this past summer…frequenting Peruvian places for their delicious chickens, and ordering roasted chicken any time it appears on a menu. So, it was settled…we decided to make a chicken.

Before I go any further, let me point out that Neil prepped and cooked this chicken. For once, I was his “little helper”. I could get use to this :)

After taking advice from various food blogs, we decided to brine our chicken overnight and then use the “beer can” method to grill it. Brining is a whole new exciting world. I never knew that this was the key to juicy chicken. But, be careful not to overbrine your meat or it may result in a “rubbery” and salty chicken. I’d say 12 hours max is good. At a minimum, brine consists of water and salt. Marinating chicken in this mixture before you cook adds incredible flavor and tenderness. The subtle saltiness literally goes all the way to the bone of the chicken. Now to the beer can part. Honestly, I don’t know why this method works so well to cook chicken, but we’re sold. Apparently, when you sit your chicken’s “butt” on top of the open beer can, and cook, it causes the liquid to boil and infuse the chicken with wonderful flavor. It looks absolutely ridiculous, but I can’t argue, because our chicken was phenomenal…juicy, tender, flavorful, and succulent!

So, the steps are pretty easy…
1. Brine your chicken overnight or at least 8 hours
2. Rub it with your favorite dry rub
3. Cook (grill, oven, or roaster) your chicken as it sits on top of an open beer can. The grilling part can be tricky, and is explained by Neil in the recipe.

We also rubbed our chicken with roasted garlic butter before applying the dry rub. We didn’t think this was necessary in the end because it made it difficult for the dry rub to adhere to the chicken. We’re gonna nix the butter next time.

As I mentioned previously, we’ve been frequenting a lot of Peruvian chicken joints lately, and love the “aji verde” sauce that comes with their chicken. We found a recipe that comes pretty close to the sauce without the need for authentic, inaccessible ingredients. So, we served the chicken with the pseudo aji sauce, chipotle mac & cheese, red skin mashed potatoes, and grilled asparagus. This was the perfect outdoor feast to take advantage of the perfect weather!

See Brined Beer Can Chicken Recipe!
See Aji Verde Sauce Recipe!

3 comments:

Nate-n-Annie said...

Beer Can chicken is a great way to get moist, tasty chicken on the grill. We've had a few successes with it.

If you want to continue doing it, I suggest getting a special beer can chicken holder that gives more stability. I found them at Wal*Mart (but this was around the beginning of Summer when there is more grilling stuff on sale).

Sonal said...

Thanks for the suggestion Annie! We bought smaller chickens b/c we weren't sure if the beer can would hold a larger one. I'll defin. have to keep an eye out for that!

Poopie said...

There's a can of beer up the chickens butt. It looks oddly delicious.