Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Independence Day Dinner

Today is America's birthday, which means a lot of drinking and a lot of firepower!

Even more exciting is the fact that my home state, Michigan, just legalized projectile fireworks. From the sound of it outside, my entire neighborhood is aware of this, and has stocked up well for the event.

While my house enjoyed its fair share of sparks and bangs, the smell of roasting chicken was much more prevalent than gunpowder under this roof (well.....until dessert that is...)

4th of July calls for traditional grilling, so my family and I whipped up some beer can chicken and baked sweet potato fries.

Mom popped over to Williams-Sonoma today and fell in love with this roasted chicken rub. I don't blame her - the smell is intoxicating. I truly wish that there was some way to insert smells onto my blog so that everyone else could experience it too. Regardless, it's an excellent flavor rub for traditional beer can chicken.

For those of you who haven't made beer can chicken before, the recipe usually requires balancing the cavity of a raw chicken on top of an open beer can, then placing the whole thing over a grate in a grill. However, Williams-Sonoma tempted my mother again with their 20% off all outdoor grilling supplies, and she decided to up the ante on the usual recipe by purchasing this:

An all-in-one can and grate tray for balancing the chicken. While it may seem a bit unnecessary, the benefit of this tray is that the open cavity can hold any type of alcohol, allowing you to experiment with wines, liquors, etc.

This recipe is super-easy and gives a lot of room for creativity. So, if you're prepared to make some beer can chicken of your own, grab your beer of choice.

In my case, this also meant filling the grate tray with beer.

Then, dredge your chicken with your spice rub (or BBQ sauce) of choice, and place the cavity opening on top of your can/beer holder/etc. You'll probably need help with this, because the chicken can be difficult to pry open and stretch over the can.

Make sure your grill is between 400 and 500 degrees, place your chicken on the inside (be sure to put it on a grate of some sort!).

Close the lid and wait for an hour and a half.

While I was waiting, I decided to whip up some baked sweet potato fries and Sriracha mayonaise.

I got this recipe from the fantastic blogger Karen on The Art of Doing Stuff. I won't even bother explaining the recipe, since she already does such an excellent job of it here.

By this time, your chicken should be done.

Carefully peel the steaming bird off of your can, and set in on a plate. Enjoy salivating over the juicy meet as you and your dinner guests discuss new rubs, sauces, and alcohols that you can try next time.

Dessert was a different matter entirely....

Check out my next post for the recipe!

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