Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Beer Can Chicken (p.45)

Ah, Ray. I still haven't told you much about Ray Smuckles, have I? Well, Ray has more or less become the main character in Achewood. He's a cat who wears a thong, glasses, and a "Chochacho" medallion. Through a series of business ventures and deals with the devil, Ray has become a multi-billionaire. He loves to drink and throw lavish parties, and basically tosses money around like a clown tossing hard candy from a firetruck in your local 4th of July parade. He's basically a good guy, though he's not as much of a ladies man as he likes to think. In fact, he's not as good at most things as he thinks he is. Somehow, this string of characteristics manages to combine into a likable dude. You want to know Ray; you want to be his friend (and not just because he'll give you money or whatever extravagant plaything he's tired with).

Today, Ray brings us Beer Can Chicken. It's not too complicated (this may be a direct quote from the recipe, I don't have it in front of me). You throw some spices into a half empty beer can, spray some oil on the outside of the bird, stick the can into "the big butt opening" of the chicken and stick it in the oven for a while. Ray seems to like this preparation because it gives him time to make his move on whatever lady he's making this for. You're supposed to insert the beer can into the chicken slowly, and see if the lady notices. I tried this, and Melissa did not particularly notice. She just rolled her eyes and fell back asleep on the couch. But what did I expect? I'm married! Am I right, 1980s stand-up comedians? Anyway, Ray also promotes using the hour and a half the chicken cooks for to serve champagne and see where things lead. If the lady catches on, just turn off the oven and through the chicken out the next day. I didn't have champagne, so I tried with beer. Again, no dice. Still, the chicken came out pretty well, so I guess that almost makes up for my lack of ability to score. Almost.
I figured that the quality of beer would have a lot to do with the flavoring of the chicken, so I intended to buy a six pack of something nice, maybe imported. Apparently, Ralph's does not carry such things. The only six packs they had at all were those strangely shaped tall cans, which I'm pretty sure wouldn't fit in the chicken correctly. So, I had to go for a twelver. Unfortunately, my budget wouldn't allow me to get 12 good beers, so I made my way to the far left or "bargain end" of the aisle. I settled on Steel Reserve, which I'd never tried. I drank half of one can, and it tasted like...beer. You know how good beers are all distinct and flavorful, and then there's a whole tier of beers that don't really taste that different and serve no real purpose but to inebriate the masses? Well, this was one of the latter. Nothing wrong with it, but it didn't distinguish itself from the Pabsts and Keystones of the world. I should have gone with High Life.

The chicken itself came out fine. The skin was nice and crispy and the meat was well-cooked without being dry. I had plenty leftover, so I'm having chicken sandwiches for lunch all week. I could do a lot worse. I didn't do a great job of carving it, but it didn't really matter. Still, maybe it's just me, but there is absolutely no difference between good chicken and great chicken. You can cook a chicken poorly (whether it's overcooked and too dry or undercooked and likely to murder you in your sleep) but if you do it right, pretty much every chicken dish just tastes the same. Tastes like chicken! Ha! One more time 1980s comedians! Seriously, though, it's sauces and breadings that really differentiate one chicken dish from the next. I guess it's just a hard meat to modify, so you have to work hard to make it stand out. All told, this was a perfectly good chicken recipe, but nothing that really floored me. I enjoyed eating it, but really, it was just chicken. Ok, I seem to be stuck in a loop, so I'm going to end this. See you next time!


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