Cure your own bacon

I really can’t think of a good reason why you wouldn’t want to cure your own bacon. IT’S BACON, PEOPLE. More is better! Homemade is even better than that. So then, do you like maple bacon? Black pepper bacon? Fancy herb-spiced yuppie bacon? Do you prefer it sliced thin, thick, halfway in-between? Well guess what, you get to choose. Control your own bacon destiny!

Skip to the short version

” Stop complaining and get to work “

Ok, so perhaps you don’t own a smoker and that concerns you. Sure, a smoker makes the roasting/smoking process a little bit easier, but it isn’t a 100% requirement by a long shot. There are a lot of perfectly viable workarounds, so don’t worry too much about it. The only truly “specialty” item you’re going to need is curing salt, also known as “Prague powder #1“, “Instacure #1”, or “pink curing salt”. Himalayan pink salt is not the same thing as pink curing salt, so don’t confuse the two.

Just imagine of all the things you can do with your very own homemade bacon.

Just imagine of all the things you can do with your very own homemade bacon.

Curing isn’t anything to be afraid of. Curing salt is simply a mixture of sodium nitrite and regular old table salt. Prague Powder #1 happens to be 6% sodium nitrite and 94% regular salt and is the only type of cure you need to worry about. There is such thing as Prague Powder #2, but it contains a different ratio of ingredients and is for a completely different style of curing. What is sodium nitrite? It’s a common ingredient needed in the creation of all types of meats we know and love such as ham, pastrami, sausages, and of course bacon.

So here’s the deal. Curing requires a very specific curing-salt-to-meat ratio. Too much results in excess sodium nitrite which isn’t good for you, and too little could result in spoiled meat which is just gross. The rule is always one teaspoon of Prague Powder #1 per five pounds of meat, ground or otherwise. Easy. It’s printed right there on the container of curing salt. It gets very complicated when you start adding liquids because then you need to calculate the solution, weigh the ingredients, blah blah etc etc. If you search around the interwebs a bit you will find all sorts of opinionated rednecks arguing with one another about science and math in a very amusing manner. You will also find quite a lot of recipes that call for wildly incorrect amounts of curing salt, which is a little scary.

The good news about this particular recipe is that it’s very safe. We already know that we’re not using too much curing salt.. but what if there isn’t enough? Well even if you didn’t use any curing salt at all, the meat is refrigerated throughout the process and only “ages” for 7 days, which isn’t really enough time for it to spoil. There’s also copious amounts of regular old salt – an effective preservative – and the meat actually ends up getting cooked twice before it ever comes near your plate anyway. There, does that make you feel better? I thought so. Let’s get started then!

You don't need a lot of gear to cure your own bacon.

You don’t need a lot of gear to cure your own bacon.


Ingredients

  • 5 lbs fresh pork belly, skin on
  • 1 tsp Prague Powder #1
  • 1/4 cup Kosher salt -or- 1/8 cup table salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup


Other stuff you’ll need

  • a 2.5 gallon Jumbo Ziplock bag
  • a smoker or barbecue and some applewood chips
    • alternately, a normal oven and a bit of liquid smoke will work
  • a meat thermometer
  • a good, sharp knife, the longer the better


Directions

The first thing you need to do is locate five pounds of skin-on pork belly. You should be able to order one at the butcher counter in your local grocery store. Alternately, you can seek out a specialty butcher shop and see if they already have pork belly in the display case. My favorite haunt for this sort of thing is Schaub’s Meat, Fish, & Poultry in Palo Alto. They usually get their deliveries of pork on Thursday mornings, so if you’re quick about things you can often snag a hunk of belly that same day without calling ahead.

Whisking together the dry mix first helps ensure an even distribution of curing salt.

Whisking together the dry mix first helps ensure an even distribution of curing salt.

Rinse the pork belly with cold water, pat dry with paper towels, and put it in that 2.5 gallon Jumbo Ziplock bag you set aside. The next thing you want to do is whisk together all of the dry ingredients in a small bowl. Note that Kosher salt measures differently than table salt does. A good general rule is that you should double the measure when using Kosher instead of table salt or halve it when going the other way. If you want your bacon a little on the salty side, allow the measuring cup to heap a little bit, otherwise make sure it’s a level scoop. Dump the dry ingredients into the Ziplock bag right onto the belly and add the 1/4 cup maple syrup as well.

Belly in a bag. Here we go.

Belly in a bag. Here we go.

Seal the zip on the bag and smoosh the ingredients around until the belly is completely covered. You might be thinking that it’s a pain to try and rub the ingredients on inside the bag, and you would be correct. You might also think it would be a better idea to apply the rub before putting the belly in the bag and you would be wrong. Remember that it’s important to apply exactly the correct amount of cure to the meat; if we rub the cure on first, we’re going to lose a good amount on our hands and on our working surface, meaning the bacon will turn out under-cured. Applying the rub inside the bag also helps ensure the correct saltiness (and maple-y-ness) of the finished product. It only takes an extra minute or two, so stop complaining and get to work.

Once the belly is covered, lay it flat in the refrigerator and let the cure do its thing. Every day or two, flip the belly over and give it a pat and a rub to help make sure the cure is distributed evenly.

After a week of quality fridge time it should look about like this.

After a week of quality fridge time it should look about like this.

Your bacon is now officially cured, but we still have some work to do. Remove the cured belly from the Ziplock bag, rinse it thoroughly, and pat it dry with a paper towel. Some people recommend letting it hang dry in the fridge for as long as two or three days in order to form a magical barrier-like thing called a pellicle that somehow simultaneously holds in juices, allows for even cooking, and makes smoke flavor “soak in better”. Gently warming your cured belly in a 100 degree oven for an hour is supposed to do the same thing. I have never beheld the forming of this mystical meat coating myself, but I’m not about to argue with an entire Internet full of other self-titled experts who say it’s for real. Personally I don’t bother with pellicle summoning (or whatever the activity is called), and my bacon still rocks. Do it if you feel it’s a worthwhile step, otherwise don’t. Your call.

This little piggy went to the smoker.

This little piggy went to the smoker.

This next step is where the meat thermometer comes in. What we want to do is cook the belly, as slowly as possible, until the internal temperature reaches 150 degrees F. If you have a smoker, great. Set the temperature to 200 degrees F (or as close as you can get it), throw some applewood chunks or chips onto the fire, and put the cured belly skin side up on the grill for two or three hours. If you don’t have a smoker but you do have a regular charcoal or gas barbecue, configure it for low, indirect heat, and it will do just fine for smoking the cured belly. The different methods and techniques for configuring regular barbecues for indirect heat is a whole other can of worms that I won’t cover here, but I will say that there are plenty of options available to you. A regular old oven will work just fine as well, and you can still add smoke flavor by introducing a little liquid smoke to the process.

Yes, it does smell as amazing as it looks. Be jealous.

Yes, it does smell as amazing as it looks. Be jealous.

Once the belly reaches an internal temperature of 150 to 155 degrees F, remove it from the smoker/grill/oven and allow it to cool. Remove the skin while it’s still warm and stick it in the freezer for later use. That salty, smoky pig skin has all sorts of fabulous uses (e.g., chitlins, flavoring soups and beans, etc.) so definitely don’t just throw it away. What you do from here is now completely up to you. You can slice your bacon, cut it into chunks and give it away to friends, freeze it, chop it into bits and make lardons, use it as a pillow, etc. In my opinion, the very best option is to slice some of it up and make BLT sandwiches for dinner while you decide what to do with the rest. There are no bounds to what you and your bacon can accomplish together.

A 14

A 14″ brisket knife and a steady hand make for nice, even strips.

Now that you know how to cure your own bacon, you can start messing with the recipe a bit. Just remember that it’s always one teaspoon of Prague Powder #1 to five pounds of belly in a dry (or mostly dry) mix. From there do whatever you like. Add spices, pepper, bay leaves, espresso… pretty much anything really. Get out there and conquer your own world of bacon.




tl;dr

Cure your own bacon

Ingredients

  • 5 lbs fresh pork belly, skin on
  • 1 tsp Prague Powder #1
  • 1/4 cup Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup


Other stuff you’ll need

  • a 2.5 gallon Jumbo Ziplock bag
  • a smoker or barbecue and some applewood chips
  • a meat thermometer
  • a sharp knife


Directions

Rinse pork belly with cold water, pat dry with paper towels, and place in Jumbo Ziplock bag. Whisk together dry ingredients, stir in maple syrup, and add to bag. Seal zip on bag and work cure mixture around until entire belly is covered. Place in refrigerator for at least 7 days, flip daily. Remove belly from bag and thoroughly rinse in cold water. Smoke at 200 degrees F until internal temperature of belly reaches 150 to 155 degrees F. Remove skin while warm, cut bacon into slices and refrigerate or freeze.



See also


*attempts to eat computer screen*

*attempts to eat computer screen*


Standard Recipe Disclaimer
I don’t come up with a lot of my own recipes (unless you count my own personal milk-to-Grape-Nuts ratio), and chances are the recipe posted above belongs to or was inspired by a person other than me. So if you’re wondering whether or not I ripped somebody off, I probably did. Don’t get out the pitchforks and torches just yet though! I want to make absolutely sure I give credit where it’s due, so if you think someone deserves recognition for something that I haven’t already called out FOR CRYING OUT LOUD LET ME KNOW. Thanks, I appreciate it. Here’s a cookie.


Buttermilk drop biscuits

Everybody loves biscuits. There’s no arguing with this statement. I’m not talking about the flat, sweet, crunchy things that folks on the other side of the Atlantic call biscuits (although those are good too), I’m talking about flaky, buttery, American-style biscuits. If you’ve never had one of these fresh out of the oven, you haven’t lived.

Skip to the short version

THESE are biscuits. End of story.

THESE are biscuits. End of story.

I’ve made a lot of rolled biscuits in the past, the kind where you roll out the dough and cut circles out with a cutter, but lately I’ve taken to drop biscuits. They get their name from the fact that are formed by taking rough scoops of dough and dropping them onto a sheet or pan; no rolling pin necessary. Drop biscuits require less work and therefore less handling, which – for me at least – results in a lighter texture. They are also more versatile than their rolled cousins, and they do rather well with additional ingredients mixed in like cheese or hunks of bacon.


Ingredients

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup buttermilk …give or take a bit. More on this later.


Directions

” If Satan has a favorite drink, it’s buttermilk “

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. If you happen to be using a cast iron drop biscuit pan, preheat it with the oven. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Now we need to incorporate the butter into the dry ingredients, probably the trickiest bit of the whole process. The most straightforward way to go about it is just to plop the butter as-is directly into the flour mixture and go to work with a pastry blender. If you don’t happen to have one of these (and even if you do), this step can be a pain in the arse. You can try chopping up the butter before dumping it into the flour and using table knives or forks to work it in, but it’s a tedious process. Or………


Optional super-cool way of doing things

Put your 1.5 sticks of butter in the freezer and leave them there for several hours, preferably overnight. Put a cheese grater in there as well.

Yes, you read that correctly. Put a cheese grater in the freezer. I’m serious.

Guess what we're going to do next.

Guess what we’re going to do next.

When the butter is frozen solid, carefully remove it from the wrapper, handling it as little as possible. Using your icy-cold cheese grater, quickly grate the butter into the dry ingredients and mix them together. If you have trouble with the butter clumping together, put your dry ingredients in the freezer for 30 minutes first.

I bet you've never seen grated butter before, have you?

I bet you’ve never seen grated butter before, have you?

Regardless of which method you use to get the butter worked into the dry ingredients, you should end up with a coarse, crumbly-looking mixture with pea-sized lumps of butter. If you want to include additional ingredients (e.g., cheese), now is the time to add them. If this is your first time making drop biscuits, I recommend sticking with the basic recipe to get a better feel for things. Either way, it’s now time to add the buttermilk.

It's not an exact science. Just get your dry mix to look more or less like this.

It’s not an exact science. Just get your dry mix to look more or less like this.

Before we go any further, let me just say that buttermilk is NASTY. Don’t ever try it straight up. My friends and family will tell you that I’m grossly exaggerating things, but don’t listen to them. Buttermilk is one of the most horrific things I have ever tasted – my first tentative sip gave me nightmares for a week. It’s like rotten milk mixed with motor oil and rattlesnake venom. If Satan has a favorite drink, it’s buttermilk, I’m sure of it. It’s a mystery to me how such a repulsive ingredient can make such delicious biscuits, so I’m just going to chalk it up to magic and move on with my life.

Earlier, in the ‘ingredients’ section, I mentioned that you should use one cup of buttermilk, give or take a bit. What I mean by this is that the exact amount of liquid you should use cannot be easily determined ahead of time. When it comes to recipes like this one, it’s far more important for the dough to have the right consistency than to use a precise measurement. As my grandmother used to say when teaching me recipes, “Add enough until it’s right.” So, one cup of buttermilk is probably about the right amount, but don’t be alarmed if you need to add a bit more to make the dough firm up correctly.

Use a measuring cup if it makes you feel better, but I don’t even bother with one. Pour some buttermilk into the dry mix and stir it in gently, being careful not to over-work the dough. If you mix the bejesus out of it, your biscuits will turn out chewy and manhandled instead of flaky and light, so use a gentle hand. It will soon be apparent if there is not enough liquid in your dough because it will be powdery in areas and won’t want to hold together. Add another splash of buttermilk – no more than a tablespoon at a time – and turn over the dough a few more times with your mixing spoon. Keep adding liquid as necessary until you get a single, sticky mess of thick dough that stands up all by itself in the center of the bowl.

And this is what biscuit dough should look like.

And this is what biscuit dough should look like.

Now comes the fun part. Drop quarter-cup lumps of dough onto a baking sheet (or your preheated drop biscuit pan) and bake for 15 minutes.

They don't have to be pretty. In fact, it's better if they aren't.

They don’t have to be pretty. In fact, it’s better if they aren’t.

When the tops of the biscuits are golden brown and toasty, they are ready to consume. Serve them hot and with plenty of butter, sausage gravy, honey, jam, or whatever your heart desires.

It's all worth it for this one buttery moment.

It’s all worth it for this one buttery moment.




tl;dr

Buttermilk drop biscuits

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1-1.5 cups buttermilk


Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Incorporate butter into dry ingredients with a pastry blender or by grating butter while frozen. Add buttermilk until all dry ingredients have been incorporated. Drop quarter-cup lumps of dough onto a baking sheet or preheated drop biscuit pan and bake for 15 minutes.



See also


A bacon and cheese variant I made recently. They did not suck.

A bacon and cheese variant I made recently. They did not suck.


Standard Recipe Disclaimer
I don’t come up with a lot of my own recipes (unless you count my own personal milk-to-Grape-Nuts ratio), and chances are the recipe posted above belongs to or was inspired by a person other than me. So if you’re wondering whether or not I ripped somebody off, I probably did. Don’t get out the pitchforks and torches just yet though! I want to make absolutely sure I give credit where it’s due, so if you think someone deserves recognition for something that I haven’t already called out FOR CRYING OUT LOUD LET ME KNOW. Thanks, I appreciate it. Here’s a cookie.


Ro*Tel sausage dip

This easy-to-make, satisfying recipe is one of my favorite party foods. It’s delicious, doesn’t mess up your whole kitchen, and requires no real planning ahead. It comes together as quickly as a box of brownies, and it’s far less likely to be duplicated by other party patrons. It’s also hearty enough to act as a makeshift dinner, should you find yourself starving to death amidst a forest of pretzels, chocolate-dipped strawberries, and inexpensive cheese cubes.

Skip to the short version

I was first introduced to this recipe some years ago by my wife. At the time I had assumed that, like her, Ro*Tel sausage dip heralded from Texas. Upon further research, however, I discovered that nobody really knows where the hell it comes from. I know where it’s going though, and that’s in my belly.

This picture makes my blog look like a Penny Saver ad.

This picture makes my blog look like a Penny Saver ad.


Ingredients

Your first task is to collect the items you see before you. I strongly recommend against substituting anything, as the strength of this recipe lies in the synergy of its simple ingredients. To goof around with any of the three main components is to invite disappointment. If you have a hard time locating the Ro*Tel, look wherever your grocery store stocks canned tomatoes.

  • 1 lb Jimmy Dean bulk pork sausage
  • 1 can Ro*Tel (10 oz)
  • 1 brick (8 oz) Philadelphia Cream Cheese
  • 1 bag Tostitos Scoops


Directions

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Before you do anything else, take the cream cheese out of the fridge and set it on the counter to soften – this will make it easier to work with later. On medium-high heat, brown the sausage in a large frying pan. Or, if you have a cast iron skillet, use that instead. Not only does it do a better job of crisping up the sausage, but it can go straight into the oven as well.

Brown that little piggy. Brown him good.

Brown that little piggy. Brown him good.

Break up the larger chunks of sausage as it cooks, making sure it’s done all the way through. If the grease freaks you out, drain it off.

Reduce heat to medium and add the cream cheese and can of Ro*Tel. There’s no need to drain the Ro*Tel, just dump it in there juice and all.

Everyone in the pool!

Everyone in the pool!

Stir carefully until the cream cheese has completely melted and the mixture is evenly blended, then turn off the heat and transfer the whole mess to a casserole dish of some kind. A Pyrex baking dish is a good choice; any size will do as long as it can hold all of the sausage mixture without overflowing.

Bake uncovered for 10 or 15 minutes, until your newly created sausage dip is bubbly and awesome. Break out the Scoops and dig in, but remember not to burn away all the flesh from the roof of your mouth. If you’re going to take this to a shindig at someone else’s house, cover it securely with aluminum foil, wrap it in an old (but clean!) bath towel, and lay it flat in the trunk of your car. It will stay hot for a couple hours this way – no reheating necessary.

Enjoy!

Warning: It's 3,697 degrees hotter than you think it is. Consume slowly.

Warning: It’s 3,697 degrees hotter than you think it is. Consume slowly.




tl;dr

Ro*Tel sausage dip

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Jimmy Dean bulk pork sausage
  • 1 can Ro*Tel (10 oz)
  • 1 brick (8 oz) Philadelphia Cream Cheese
  • 1 bag Tostitos Scoops


Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Brown sausage, add undrained can of Ro*Tel and cream cheese. Stir until cream ceese is evenly mixed in. Transfer to baking dish, bake for 15 minutes or until bubbly. Serve hot with Scoops.



See also


Standard Recipe Disclaimer
I don’t come up with a lot of my own recipes (unless you count my own personal milk-to-Grape-Nuts ratio), and chances are the recipe posted above belongs to or was inspired by a person other than me. So if you’re wondering whether or not I ripped somebody off, I probably did. Don’t get out the pitchforks and torches just yet though! I want to make absolutely sure I give credit where it’s due, so if you think someone deserves recognition for something that I haven’t already called out FOR CRYING OUT LOUD LET ME KNOW. Thanks, I appreciate it. Here’s a cookie.


Teeny little cinnamon rolls

This tasty dessert (or breakfast?) is so quick and easy, it can barely be considered a recipe. Because I didn’t think of it myself, I’ll assume you didn’t either. And here we are. There are a multitude of very slightly different versions of this exact recipe everywhere; this is the version I prefer.

Skip to the short version

” Swearing helps during this step “

One of the other nice things about this recipe is that it can be made normally – in other words, unhealthy – or in a reduced guilt version. Just substitute reduced fat croissant rolls for the regular ones and omit the butter, and just like that you’ve got yourself a low(er) calorie treat that’s equivalent to about one Weight Watcher’s point each.


Ingredients

  • 1 8oz container of crescent rolls
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 4 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp milk
  • a double-wide trailer with an oven
Normal people don't assemble their ingredients ahead of time. Only bloggers are this weird.

Normal people don’t assemble their ingredients ahead of time. Only bloggers are this weird.


Directions

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Sorry about the double-wide remark in the ingredients list… It was out of line. You can bake these cinnamon rolls in a single-wide just as easily. Anyway, open the tube-o-crescent-rolls, unroll the dough, and separate it into two sections as shown below. Using your fingers, seal the perforated seams so that you are left with two solid sheets.

The contents of a pressurized dough tube, known on the street as a 'trailer park stun grenade'.

The contents of a pressurized dough tube, known on the street as a ‘trailer park stun grenade’.

Mix together the cinnamon and granulated sugar in a small bowl. Brush the first section of dough with half the butter and sprinkle on half the cinnamon sugar mixture; repeat with the second section of dough, using the other half of the butter and cinnamon sugar. Roll up the sections of dough starting with the long sides, keeping the roll as tight and even as you can. Don’t feel bad if you screw one of them up, because there’s an above average chance you will. I did.

Seal the trailing edge of the dough against the rest of the roll by pinching it into place with your fingers. Cut each roll of dough into 10 sections, making 20 miniature little rolls. Place the miniature rolls on a cookie sheet, standing them on their ends. You may need to smash them down a bit to get them to stay upright. Swearing helps during this step.

Each one of these rolls would be a feast for a leprechaun.

Each one of these rolls would be a feast for a leprechaun.

Place the rolls in the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes. While we wait for the oven to do its thing, let’s mix up the icing. In another small bowl, slowly add the milk to the powdered sugar a little bit at a time, whisking constantly. Stop adding milk when it looks like it’s supposed to. And what’s that, you ask? Oh come on, you MUST have had a cinnamon roll at some point in your life. Remember what the icing was like? Well, make it look like that.

Mmm, frosting. Or is it icing? I can never keep them straight.

Mmm, icing. Or is it frosting? I can never keep them straight.

Remove the rolls from the oven, place them piping hot on a plate, drizzle some icing on them, and… I’ll let you figure out the rest.


3.. 2.. 1.. Gorge!

3.. 2.. 1.. Gorge!



tl;dr

Teeny little cinnamon rolls

Ingredients

  • 1 8oz container of crescent rolls
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 4 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp milk


Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Mix together milk and powdered sugar to make frosting, set aside. Unroll crescent rolls and arrange into two rectangular sections, sealing diagonal seams in both. Brush with butter, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, and roll up. Cut each roll into 10 sections. Lay flat on a baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes, top with frosting.



See also


Standard Recipe Disclaimer
I don’t come up with a lot of my own recipes (unless you count my own personal milk-to-Grape-Nuts ratio), and chances are the recipe posted above belongs to or was inspired by a person other than me. So if you’re wondering whether or not I ripped somebody off, I probably did. Don’t get out the pitchforks and torches just yet though! I want to make absolutely sure I give credit where it’s due, so if you think someone deserves recognition for something that I haven’t already called out FOR CRYING OUT LOUD LET ME KNOW. Thanks, I appreciate it. Here’s a cookie.


Beer can chicken

There is something deliciously hilarious about this recipe that appeals to all men. Beer combined with bored hillbillies is guaranteed to result in either disaster or hilarity. In this particular case, depending on whether or not you are the proctologically doomed chicken in question, it’s a little bit of both.

Skip to the short version

” I have no intention of finding out what Schlitz logo ink tastes like “

In a stroke of blind luck (or pure genius), it turns out that this is one of the easiest ways you can imagine to cook up a juicy, tender, and flavorful bird. The basic idea is that you’re steaming the chicken from the inside while roasting it on the outside, and there a number of different ways to accomplish this. In addition to using beer as the “steaming medium”, you can also use wine, cola, broth, lemonade… the list is endless. I’ll detail my own favorite recipe below, but don’t be afraid to experiment with different flavors.

A bottle of booze and a couple things from the yard are all you really need.

A bottle of booze and a couple things from the yard are all you really need.

Truth be told, I have never tried using an actual can of beer; there are all sorts of things in and on aluminum cans that were never intended to be exposed to high temperatures. I have no intention of finding out what Schlitz logo ink tastes like, so instead I use a specially made porcelain steamer thingy called a Sittin’ Chicken. There are a number of different options that also accomplish the same thing, most notably the Poultry Pal. Choose whatever gizmo you like best and start getting your ingredients together.


Ingredients

  • a chicken!
  • white wine
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 4 or 5 fresh rosemary sprigs
  • olive oil
  • poultry seasoning


Other stuff you’ll need

  • a drip pan or disposable aluminum tray
  • a wooden skewer
  • a meat thermometer
  • a steamer to sit your chicken on (can of beer, Sittin’ Chicken, etc.)
  • someone to take incriminating pictures of you sticking things in a chicken’s butt


Directions

You can use either a barbecue or an oven to prepare this recipe. A regular old charcoal barbecue or grill is preferable, but anything capable of maintaining medium heat for a few hours will do. This recipe does best when the heat is concentrated below the chicken, so if your oven will do that sort of thing (sometimes called a “baking” setting), set it up that way. If you’re using a smoker or barbecue, you want direct heat right on the bottom of the chicken. Not tons of heat, but it should be direct as opposed to indirect. What we want to do is get the liquid in the steamer (or can) as hot as possible, preferably boiling. If you just roast or broil the chicken, the steamer will be the last thing to heat up and will only reach about 165 degrees, doing a poor job of providing flavor and steam. So, set up your oven or grill for direct, bottom-only heat and start it warming up. Aim for about 275-300 degrees F.

Cut up the lemon and the onion into rough chunks and put them in the steamer, filling it loosely about halfway. Place the rosemary sprigs in the center of the steamer, standing them up like a bouquet. Pour in the white wine, filling it almost all the way to the top. Place the whole thing in the center of your drip pan.

Please have a seat and enjoy the sauna.

Please have a seat and enjoy the sauna.

Rinse the chicken with water, inside and out. Remove the giblets and any other nasty bits you find inside and throw them away. Or, if you have carnivorous pets, throw the giblets in the drip pan instead and they will become delicious and disgusting treats for later. Sprinkle a healthy amount of your poultry seasoning (I sometimes just use thyme and oregano) inside the chicken cavity. Carefully sit the chicken on top of the steamer, making sure all the rosemary sprigs end up inside the bird. Rub the skin thoroughly with olive oil and sprinkle or rub more of your seasoning on the outside. Using the skewer, “sew” the neck of the chicken shut so that none of the steam can escape. Put your new best bird friend in your oven or barbecue and begin rubbing your hands with glee.

The dinner guest has arrived.

The dinner guest has arrived.

Start checking the internal temperature of the chicken after about an hour. You will want to probe multiple locations with the meat thermometer, namely the legs, back, breast, neck, and cavity. Poultry is considered done at 165 degrees F, so make absolutely sure there aren’t any spots on the bird below that temperature. I tend to go a bit above that when making this recipe, mostly because you don’t need to worry as much about the meat drying out thanks to the steamer. I prefer my chicken (especially the dark meat) falling-off-the-bone tender as opposed to barely done, but that’s just me. Once the chicken is done how you like it, remove it from wherever it’s been cooking and try not to drool on it. Depending on the size of the bird, your particular grill or oven, and the type and degree of heat, it will take from 1 to 3 hours to cook completely. It’s done when it’s done; trying to force a specific timeline on it will only lead to tears.

Remove the chicken from the steamer and serve sliced, quartered, pulled, or just get in there with your bare hands and devour it like a wild animal.


Now that's what I'm talking about.

Now that’s what I’m talking about.



tl;dr

Beer can chicken

Ingredients

  • a chicken!
  • white wine
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 4 or 5 fresh rosemary sprigs
  • olive oil
  • poultry seasoning


Other stuff you’ll need

  • a drip pan or disposable aluminum tray
  • a wooden skewer
  • a meat thermometer
  • a steamer to sit your chicken on (can of beer, Sittin’ Chicken, etc.)


Directions

Set up barbecue for direct heat, 275-300 degrees F. Cut lemon and onion into rough chunks and place in steamer along with rosemary sprigs. Fill steamer with white wine and place in center of drip pan. Rinse chicken with water, remove giblets, and place upright over steamer. Rub skin with olive oil and sprinkle with poultry seasoning. Use wooden skewer to sew neck hole shut. Roast chicken for 1-3 hours, until internal temperature is at least 165 degrees F. Check multiple points around chicken, including thigh joints. Remove from heat and serve immediately.




See also