Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day Cook-Out

What better way to celebrate a long weekend than with a cook-out? This weekend, Psycling and I went over to a friend's house for a Tech Chefs Memorial Day cookout. There were only 5 of us there, but seemingly enough food to feed about 30!

The main course was Beer Butt Chicken. We had two 5-lb chickens, which were rubbed inside and out with a rub composed of 1:1:1 paprika:sea salt:brown sugar with a little black pepper added in as well. Next, you drink (or pour out) half a can of beer, and throw a few Tbs. of the rub into the remaining beer. Then (excuse my vulgarity) you stick the can of beer up the chicken's butt.

You then very carefully move the chickens (keeping them upright) to the grill, where you set them over indirect heat, and adjust the legs so that the legs and beer can form a "tripod" to keep the chicken upright while cooking. See our chicken "tripods"?

Then, the chickens cook over indirect heat, with a grill temp of about 350F - 400F for about an hour, or until a thermometer inserted deep into the meatiest parts of the chicken register 180 degrees. At this point, you remove the chicken from the grill, and remove the beer can from the chicken's butt (this was a two person person to use tongs and a meat fork to hold the chicken, and another to use a second pair of tongs to remove the beer can).

While the chicken was the main attraction, we had so much other food, and a very crowded grill.

Along with the chickens you see our chili-rubbed corn and our grilled onions. THis is one of my favorite ways to make corn, and it comes from my Williams-Sonoma Seasonal Cookbook. For six ears of corn, you need:

2 Tbs. melted butter
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. (or less to taste) cayenne pepper
salt and pepper

1. Peel husks back and remove corn silk. Pull husks back up over corn cobs and soak for about 20 minutes.

2. Mix together melted butter and spices. After soaking corn, brush each ear of corn with spiced butter mixture and pull husks back up over corn. Wrap each ear in aluminum foil.

3. Place on grill and cook for about 15 minutes, or until done.

But I saved the best for last...the grilled onions! By far the best onions I have ever had!! I'm glad I watched the preparation of these because I will definitely be making them again. Peel the onions, and cut a flat surface on both the bottom and the top.

Then, you cut a hole in the top of the onion, as you can (kinda) see in the picture above. Then fill each hole with bullion granules (we used beef...if I make these on my own, I'll probably use chicken, but any kind of bullion will work). Then top off with 1.5 - 2 Tbs. butter. Wrap each onion individually in aluminum foil and place on the grill for about 20-30 minutes, or until nice and soft and tender (you can test with tongs so as not to burn yourself). To eat, place the onion in a bowl with all it's wonderful juices and enjoy the best tasting onion you've ever had in your life!!

I wish I'd taken a picture of the table before we all dug in. In addition to the two chickens, the corn and the onions, we had a fruit salad, a potato salad (with sweet potatoes...yummy!), and a vinegar based slaw made from some cabbage fresh from our CSA share last week. And all this for just 5 people. But, by the time we sat down to eat, there was no time for photographing! We were starving, and couldn't wait to dig in. It was an amazing meal! One I will remember for a long time...and that has set the bar really high for future cook outs!

As for our'll just have to check back on May 28 to see what the Daring Bakers had in store for us this month ;-).