May 28 — Barbecue is literally on fire across America and on NBC’s “Today” show, grilling guru and author Rick Browne turns up the heat. He shares some of the hottest barbecue recipes and coolest grilling techniques from his latest book “Grilling America.” Check out his recipe for Beer Butt Chicken and more below.
BEER BUTT CHICKEN
The original Beer-Butt Chicken recipe demonstrated by the author for the first time ever on the Regis & Kathie Lee Show in 1999, and about a thousand times thereafter. There is nothing like this recipe for cooking up a bronze-colored, moist, and incredibly flavorful chicken. Not to mention the awe-inspiring way it’s cooked and presented.
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1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried summer savory
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon dry yellow mustard
1 tablespoon sea salt (ground fine)
1 large chicken (4 to 5 pounds)
One 12-ounce can of your favorite beer; fruit juice, wine, or soda can be substituted
1 cup cider
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Preheat the grill to medium heat (400 to 500F) for indirect cooking (see page 6).
Mix the rub in a small bowl until it’s well incorporated. Set aside.
Wash, dry, and season the chicken generously inside and out with the rub. Work the mixture well into the skin and under the skin wherever possible. Place in a medium bowl, cover, and set aside at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes.
Pour half the can of beer or other liquid you’ve chosen into a spray bottle, add the cider, olive oil, and vinegar, and set aside.
Take the beer can in one hand with the remaining liquid (half a beer) still inside and insert it vertically into the bottom end of the chicken while keeping the bird vertical as well. Place the chicken on the grill over indirect heat and use the legs, and the can itself, to form a tripod to hold the chicken upright. This positioning does two things: first, it helps drain off the fat as the chicken cooks; second, the beer steams the inside of the chicken, while the outside is cooked by the BBQ heat, making it the most moist bird you’ve ever laid yer eyes, or gums, on. Some people put a small potato or carrot in the neck opening of the chicken to keep the steam inside, I prefer to let it pass through.
Cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. During the cooking time, spray the chicken all around with the basting spray several times. The chicken is done when the internal temperature reaches 180. Carefully remove the bird, still perched on the can, and place it on a heatproof countertop. After your guests have reacted appropriately, remove the chicken from the beer can with tongs while holding the can with an oven mitt (careful! That aluminum can is very hot).
Give the chicken one more spritz of the basting spray, then carve and serve.
Serves 2 to 4
JOHN DAVIS’S OREGON CEDAR PLANK SALMON
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons chopped green onions (green ends only)
2 1/2 pounds fresh salmon fillet, boned, with skin on
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3-4 fresh rosemary sprigs (optional)
Coarse sea salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Fresh raspberries for garnish
1 cup water
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
You will need one untreated cedar plank.* Soak the plank for at least an hour in warm water, weighing it down with water-filled glasses to keep it fully submerged. During this hour mix the baste ingredients in a small bowl and pour over the salmon, which you’ve placed in a glass pan. Turn the fish once or twice during the hour. Heat your smoker or kettle grill to very hot (550 to 600F).
Remove the salmon from the marinade and drain the fish, reserving the marinade. Remove the plank from the water, brush with olive oil, and (if you like) spread the rosemary sprigs on top. Place the salmon, skin side down, on the cedar plank (or bed of rosemary), sprinkle with salt and pepper, and place the plank on the grill.
Cover and grill for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the fish is cooked and the center is still just a little bit rare. Baste quickly with the marinade once or twice during the cooking time. You want the salmon just pink in the center, sort of medium-rare. Nothing is worse than overcooked salmon. Nothing.
The board will probably smolder and smoke; that’s what’s supposed to happen. If it catches fire, douse it with a spray bottle filled with water.
Remove the whole plank from the barbecue and place on a serving tray over hot pads on the table for a superb presentation. Divide into sections and serve from the plank. If you are careful the skin will stay on the plank as you scoop up the filet.
Marinate the raspberries in water, vinegar, and sugar for 20 to 30 minutes. Sprinkle on top of the fish and serve the fish on the plank.
*Oregon Cedar planks can be ordered on-line from Oudoor Gourmet (www.outdoorgourmet.com), or check your local grocery store for this brand or others. You must use only untreated cedar.
Serves 2 to 4
BBQ ‘MERICUN APPLE PIE
Jerry Soucy is the founder of the Pig and Pepper Barbecue Harvest, a KCBS-sanctioned event held each October to determine the Massachusetts State Barbecue Champion. Founded in 1991, Pig and Pepper is the first, largest, and longest-running KCBS-sanctioned barbecue cookoff in New England, and has raised over $250,000 for charity. Jerry lives near Boston with his wife, two teen-aged children, and a battered old kettle grill named “Sputnik.” When the pie is ready to serve (still warm), enhance the presentation with a garnish of bright autumn leaves or fresh berries. Serve with ice cream, or traditional extra-sharp cheddar cheese the way New Englanders like it.
Your favorite pie crust recipe, or 1 package of a frozen, ready-to-use pie crust
3 pounds apples (Macouns, Empires, or Granny Smiths), peeled and sliced
Sugar to taste
Cinnamon to taste
2 tablespoons lemon juice (optional)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Light cream for brushing the crust
Build a fire for indirect cooking (see page 6) or, if using gas, only turn on the burners on one side of the grill, to reach a temperature between 350 to 400F. Place the water pan on the opposite side of the grill. Cover the cooker to control the fire, watching to be sure that it does not become too hot [use the oven thermometer or place your hand carefully over the grill and count, to make sure the temperature does not go above 400 (see page 11 for checking the heat this way)].
Prepare your pie dough in advance, wrapping the ball of dough tightly in plastic wrap or waxed paper and keeping it refrigerated until you are ready to roll it out.
Peel and slice your apples into a large bowl, and toss with sugar and cinnamon to taste until the pieces are well coated. You can also use a squirt of fresh lemon to keep the apples from turning brown or if you find the whole mix is too sweet.
On a piece of aluminum foil that has been lightly dusted with flour, roll out the pie dough into a single large circle—larger than you normally would if you were going to put this crust in a pie plate.
Mound the seasoned apples in the center of the crust, then fold the edges of the crust towards the middle of the mound. You will end up with an open inner circle of exposed apples, and the whole thing will look sort of like a tart but with more top crust. Dot the open area with small pieces of the butter, and brush the top crust with the light cream. Finish by sprinkling some additional sugar over the pie.
Slide the pie onto the grill, keeping the foil in place for ease of handling. Cover the cooker.
Add lit charcoal as required to maintain the cooker temperature at 350 to 400F for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the top crust has browned and the filling is bubbly. We used a flashlight to monitor the progress through the vent holes, to avoid raising the cover and losing the heat.
When the pie is done, transfer it onto a cutting board or other surface, sliding it off the foil to cool. While you may be tempted to just dig right in, the filling of a pie right out of the cooker may be dangerously hot. A brief cooling period also helps the juices to settle and the filling to firm up, resulting in neater cuts and a better presentation. Wait at least 15 minutes to let the pie cool and firm up. Serve warm.
Serves 4 to 8
Excerpted from “Grilling America,” by Rick Browne. Copyright 2003. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission of Regan Books, a division of Harper Collins Publishers.