cover image BEER-CAN CHICKEN: And 74 Other Offbeat Recipes for the Grill

BEER-CAN CHICKEN: And 74 Other Offbeat Recipes for the Grill

Steven Raichlen, . . Workman, $12.95 (326pp) ISBN 978-0-7611-2016-2

After such all-encompassing efforts as The Barbecue! Bible and How to Grill, Raichlen turns his attention to a single and hilarious style of preparation, one based on an inspired theory: if there is anything a guy loves more than his grill, his brew and his gadgets, it is the opportunity to combine the three into a succulent main course. The basic technique is simplicity itself, boosted by just enough schoolboy rudeness to make it irresistible. Take one whole chicken, insert half a can of a favorite beer into its cavity, then prop it up on the BBQ. The can, in combination with the drumsticks, forms a tripod that keeps the bird upright, allowing the skin to achieve a fine crispness even as the internal steamer flavors the bird and eliminates the need for basting. A cornucopia of rubs, marinades, and beer-can fillers provides for more recipe variations than one would sanely care to attempt (massage the chicken in dill, sugar, garlic and mustard, pour a little Scandinavian liquor in with the ale and, voilà, Chicken Aquavit). For teetotalers, there are sauces made from cola, ginger ale, peach nectar or lemonade, each with the appropriate can of soft drink inserted into its awaiting fowl. He does include some recipes that might be better in theory than practice, such as the Quail on a Throne, which involves small cans of prune juice and a Cinnamon-Prune sauce. Subtle safety tips are proffered ("Never grill a bird on an unopened can!"). (May)