A couple of weeks ago I wrote a blog post about our chicken called Don’t Be Chicken. In it, I talked abouthow our chicken is raised, what makes it special and how to butcher it. And at the end I promised a future blog on how to cook it. Sooooo, here ya go!
The whole bird is always my favorite way to cook chicken. Whether you are roasting it in the oven, spatchcocking and grilling it, or getting really fancy and showing off your Beer Butt Chicken chops, the whole bird is the most forgiving and results in the juiciest chicken you ever had. If you have never had our chicken and are looking for the best way to get started, I always recommend a little salt and pepper, some good olive oil and roast it in the oven at 350. If you don’t have a good meat thermometer, get one. Check out my post Let’s Get Cooking on why you need one and which one to buy. I cook my chicken so that the thigh meat is 150 when I take it off the heat.
When it comes to grilling, I love to spatchcock our chickens. That’s just a fancy way of saying butterflying. To do this all you need is a sharp knife or a good pair of kitchen shears. All you are going to do is cut down each side of the backbone (save it for stock, you’ll thank me later). Then, remove the keel bone (refer to Don’t Be Chicken for a how-to) and snip the Wish Bone right between the breast at the neck.
Now you have a whole bird that will lay flat on the grill. The advantage of this is you can cook the bird faster and keep it super moist. Start with the bone side down and cook over a medium hot grill for about 10 minutes. Flip to the skin side just long enough to get the skin as crispy as you like it. Finish on the bone side, again until you get the thigh to 150 degrees. Let it rest for about 15 minutes before carving.
Beer Butt Chicken was all the rage a few years back. You could get all kinds of gadgets at those cool kitchen tool stores that would make the “perfect” Beer Butt/Can Chicken and set you back $50-100. If you already have all those cool gadgets, great! If you don’t, no worries. And since you stayed with me this far, here are some bonus tips!
I use an empty veggie can instead of a beer can (hey, I can’t grow black beans and my wife is part Cuban!). Make sure to get all the glue off! Why not use a beer can as the name suggests? Because the best beer comes in bottles and burned paint doesn’t taste very good. Pinch in the top of the can on the four compass points so that it goes into the bird easier. Also, use a disposable pie pan on your grill. It makes it much easier to transfer the bird to and from the grill. Make sure you let it rest BEFORE you remove the can.
Finally, and this is the most important tip, make sure you plug the neck cavity of your bird. This method of cooking chicken makes super juicy meat because you are steaming it from the inside while you are grilling it from the outside. If you don’t plug the neck, all that delicious steam from the beer and herbs just chimneys out the flue. You can go simple and just plug it with foil, but I think it looks nicer when I use a lemon.
So there are a number of ways to cook up our birds. You will notice I didn’t even get into parts. There are just too many options. I think the main thing to remember is that the skin and bones are your friend. I won’t disparage those of you that love boneless, skinless breasts. I will just say that it is really easy to take the meat off the bone and remove the crispy, delicious skin after it is cooked. That way you get all the benefits of cooking it properly and don’t risk drying it out.
At the Parks household we love to try our customer’s recipes! So if you have an amazing recipe that uses any of our meats, send it our way. Who knows…we might make you semi-famous in one of these blog posts!