Some of our good friends are having a baby this August, so Jenny and I decided to host a couple’s shower for them to celebrate. The baby is coming in August, so Jenny, the party planning queen that she is, went all out with a back to school theme. I don’t know how she thinks of these things, but all of her little touches definitely made the party. I took over the menu since Jenny was busy being creative. We used some “school lunch” inspiration for the appetizers and decided to go grown up for the dinner menu. I thought I would share a few of the recipes over the next few days because we made classic cookout grub, as you can see.
I called Jonathon at Homestead Heritage on Thursday and asked him to set out a few chickens to thaw for me to pickup at the farmer’s market on Saturday, so the three of us headed over to the Carmel Farmer’s Market on one of the prettiest Saturdays we’ve had yet. I love “beer butt” chicken or “beer bottom” chicken as Jenny termed it for our school-themed party. It turns out so juicy and delicious that I can hardly eat chicken any other way these days. Here’s my go-to recipe, although it changes based on what herbs I have plenty of in the garden:
1 whole chicken with neck and giblets removed and set aside for stock
1/4 cup of fresh herb of your choice, de-stemmed (I used oregano this time, but rosemary is my favorite)
6 ounces of beer (we tend to use lagers and pilsners in the warm months and porters and browns in the cooler months – we use half for the chicken and drink the rest)
1/4 cup of EVOO (you can substitute butter here if you prefer – it’s delicious too)
1/4 cup of poultry rub of your choice – I used Bobby Flay’s version here
1. Drizzle the olive oil on the chicken and then rub in a bit of the rub spices, being sure to cover the entire chicken in the olive oil and rub mixture.
2. On the top of the breast, peel some of the skin back and put the herbs under the skin. Set aside any remaining herbs to put in the beer. Return the “dressed” chicken to the refrigerator for at least an hour but up to twelve hours.
3. About two hours prior to the time you want to serve the chicken, take it out of the refrigerator and preheat your grill to about 375 degrees. While the grill is preheating, set up the chicken. Pour half of the beer in a glass for you to enjoy while the chicken grills. Dump any remaining herbs into the beer can and slip the chicken’s bum (for lack of a better word) over the beer can. It’s a little awkward, but you’ll get the hang of it!
4. We’ve sacrificed one of our cookie sheets to use on the grill when needed, so we put the beer + chicken onto the cookie sheet and then put it on the grill on medium-low heat (you don’t want the grill to get over 375 degrees).
5. The chicken is done when the interior meat reaches 180 degrees, which typically takes us about an hour and a half. When you use the meat thermometer, be sure to stick the thermometer into the breast until you reach the bone, and then pull back about an inch. Can you tell I’m speaking from experience here? Don’t ask me about my first experience hosting Thanksgiving!
6. Once the interior reaches 180 degrees, pull the chicken off the grill and let it rest for about 5-10 minutes. Pull the meat off the bone (or have your handy husband do it if you’re like me) for easier serving. Dish any leftover juice from the pan onto the chicken just prior to serving.
I figured with two larger birds plus all of the other food we served that we would have a few days worth of leftovers, but all of the chicken was gone by the end of the night. I think that’s a sign that you should make some beer butt chicken of your own – and soon!