“Good chicken by a self-proclaimed GRILL MASTER.”
This year, like every year, I fired-up the grill for my son’s birthday party. Usually I smoke a ham or something, but this year I decided on giving the smoker a break and do some grilling. At first I thought about going the hamburgers and hot dogs route, but then it dawned on me, chicken. Not the same lame barbecue chicken we have all the time. No, this would be something straight out of the Bible. “The Barbecue Bible” cook book that is.
My in-laws gave me “The Barbecue Bible” as a gift. I can’t remember if it was Christmas or Birthday, but as far as gifts go, it might be the greatest gift ever. I should use it more often. I thumbed through the chicken section and landed on “Brazilian Beer Chicken.” I could have easily chosen the “Balinese Grilled Chicken” with Apple-Macadamia Sauce just a few pages over, but I found with this cook book once you decide on a recipe, stick to it. You can spend hours comparing one fantastic recipe after another. I know, I’ve done it. I’m going Brazilian Beer Chicken or broke! This is what you’ll need to make this delicious chicken:
- 2 cups beer
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 medium-size onion, thinly sliced
- 12 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 chicken (3 1/2 to 4 pounds), quartered
- Coarse salt (Kosher or sea)
I chose to use chicken tenders instead of the quartered chicken. We had a freezer full of these lean chicken tenders that could be put to good use. I took the tenders out of the freezer the day before I planed to marinade them so they could thaw. Once they thawed I washed them with cool water and blotted them dry. Now it was on to make the marinade.
Brazilian Beer Chicken On The Grill
I used the ingredients listed above, but the amount of each was more of a guess. I was using a lot more then 4 pounds of chicken so I added to the recipe. If you go by the book you are instructed to combine some of the ingredients, then blend in some of the others. I tossed the entire concoction into a large plastic bowl and stirred. I also used a red onion because I love red onions. After the marinade was done I put the chicken in, making sure each piece was completely covered with the sauce. Then I covered and set it in the refrigerator for 36 hours.
Timing can be everything when it comes to good barbecue. I like to get the food from the grill to the gut as soon as possible. That being said I started the grill about 1 hour and 45 minutes prior to everyone arriving. When I barbecue or smoke I like to use natural wood charcoal. I find it burns hotter longer and more evenly. I set up the grill with a 2-zone direct cooking method. What you do is, set the charcoal up so that about 1/3 of the grill is free of any direct heat. This creates a safe zone for you to move the meat to when you have flare-ups. Trust me, I’ve had my share of “fully involved” meats to know a safe zone is essential to great grilling.
I let the charcoal get nice and hot. I want my grill temperature to remain as steady as possible. When I have a nice even glow and the flames have disappeared, I’m ready to start grilling. One thing to remember, and I have failed to mention, is to make sure you put some oil or nonstick spray on your grilling surface so you don’t have half the meat sticking to the grill. I used tongs to grab each piece of chicken and place them on the grill. Each side takes about 7-12 minutes to cook if placed over an even cooking surface. Be attentive to your grill and look out for cooling spots or poorly placed meat. You always want to be sure you cook your meats all the way through, especially chicken. I continually swap locations of certain pieces to ensure each piece is thoroughly cooked and hot off the grill.
Something else you will want to do is save some of the marinade. While the chicken is cooking you will want to baste it regularly. I use a brush and “paint” the pieces of chicken with the marinade every 10 minutes or so. Make sure you are checking your meat often so as not to over cook it. Over cooking leads to tough, rubbery meat that is hard to chew. You want your meat moist and juicy. With the chicken setting in the marinade for 36 hours I won’t have any problem with juiciness.
The Brazilian Beer Chicken was a huge hit. Everyone at the party loved it. The chicken was juicy and tender with a robust favor due to the dark beer I used. We had Cole Slaw, Macaroni Salad, and Potato Salad for the sides, along with homemade beer bread and birthday cake. My wife made a delicious birthday cake with a cream cheese and lemon frosting ordained with fresh cut strawberries. Maybe I can get her to share the recipe.