In an effort to break myself out of my cooking slump, I thought I would try focusing on a single ingredient rather than a technique, method, or nationality of food. And what better ingredient to inspire greatness than bacon?!
This may not come as a surprise to many of you, but it turns out that pretty much everything is infinitely more awesome when you add bacon. So with that in mind, I set out to create the ultimate roast chicken using bacon and beer. Or, as I like to call it, the Ron Swanson experience (Parks and Rec anyone? Anyone? No? Moving on…)
When you cover a small chicken with bacon and shove a beer can up his butt, you really lock in the moisture. Disappointingly, however, this wasn’t as bacon-y as I’d anticipated! The texture and juiciness of the meat was perfect, but I found the flavor to be a little lackluster, almost dull even. I think I prefer my usual method of making beer can chicken, which I will post eventually.
But just for fun, here’s this recipe.
You will need:
- 1 (2 to 3-pound) whole chicken (we found this to be TINY!!! I’d recommend a much bigger one)
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon dried sage
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2-5 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1 (12-ounce) can beer
- 1/2 pound bacon
The first thing you want to do is preheat your oven to 450°. Wash your chicken thoroughly and pat it dry with a paper towel. Carefully slide your fingers under the skin and work at separating it from the meat. Be gentle, so as not to tear the skin. When you can fit your hand in there, mix up your seasonings and rub them into the meat.
Open the beer can and drink (or pour out) about a half cup, then drop the peeled garlic cloves into the can. I have a beer can chicken stand, which I strongly recommend buying, but you can also just wedge the can into the chicken and rest it in a large dish to catch the drippings.
Tuck bacon slices into the neck cavity and drape down the sides of the chicken. Wrap the rest of the bacon around the chicken and secure with toothpicks.
*Word of caution: If you use colored toothpicks the color will leach into your food. I’m pretty sure it’s safe to eat, but it’s strangely disconcerting to eat rainbow polka dot chicken breast.
Pop that hybrid monstrosity in the oven and cook for ten minutes, then lower the temperature to 325° and cook for another hour, or until internal temperature reaches 165°.
A lot of our bacon fell off while cooking (which we then ate, obviously), probably because I let Kevin dictate how much bacon to use and where we should put it.
The thing I LOVE about roast chicken is the crispy skin, which this bird did not have much of. Partly because it was so tiny to start with, but also because we covered it with too much bacon. In hindsight I can admit that, but while we were doing it we were having so much fun wrapping it up we didn’t think about how the skin would be affected.
What this chicken did have, however, was moisture. And lots of it. You can see how juicy the meat is in the picture above, and if we had seasoned it a little heavier it would have been bursting with flavor.
All in all it’s a good recipe, and with a few tweaks (bigger chicken, less bacon, more seasoning) it could have been really superb. I’ll have to try this one again in the summer, see if I can make it on the grill and really crisp up that bacon. Not that I’m condoning smothering things in bacon, but every so often it’s nice to say “screw you cholesterol! I’m eating pig fat today, and you can’t stop me!”
Recipe from Guy Fieri, as if that’s any surprise to you