Serious Eats: Recipes

Uzbek Beer Can Chicken

[Photograph: Caroline Russock]

After grilling a week's worth of recipes from Steven Raichlen's Planet Barbecue! I can honestly say there wasn't a dud in the bunch. Each international take on open-flame cooking was a smoky, delicious learning experience and great way to end grilling season. But if I had to pick a favorite it'd be Uzbek Beer Can Chicken.

The recipe begins by grinding a warm spice rub of ginger, paprika, coriander, turmeric, and cumin, then rubbing it into the chicken and letting it sit and soak for a few hours. Even before the chicken is grilled, it takes on a lovely burnished tone. After the spice rub has had enough time to work its way into the flesh, it's time to crack open a beer! Taking a few sips is part of the recipe.

Once the beer is halfway empty, it's time to donate the rest to your chicken. The chicken is placed upright with the beer can snugly inserted into the body cavity, and then onto the grill. While the chicken cooks the beer in the can warms up and steams the chicken from within and the heat from the grill roasts the chicken on the outside. These two simultaneous cooking techniques yield one of the moistest chickens I've ever grilled with crisp, flavorful skin. Oh, and the spice rub? Incredible. It made its way into every piece of the bird infusing it with its beautiful aromatic spiciness.

I served my chicken with a fresh, lemony Fattoush Salad and Mark Bittman's Grilled Lebanese Flatbreads. The combination of the three was a great farewell to the grill.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Planet Barbecue! to give away this week.

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