So it's January and, of course, time to eat less & move more. It's so hard to diet in Louisiana. As you've probably heard our 4 seasons are: Hurricane, Football, Mardi Gras & Crawfish Seasons! Each one with their very own delightful assortment of wonderful foods and drinks. As soon as the Christmas cookies are gobbled up, the King Cakes come parading out!
That being said, my husband and I both need to lose a few pounds & get healthy. Luckily, my husband, Gary, will pretty much eat anything I serve him. Due to our mild winters, I keep the Weber grill going year round. Our dinners usually consist of grilled tilapia or chicken with a good salad and roasted potatoes. We eat a LOT of chicken. I mean a LOT. One of my favorite ways to cook chicken is grilling it whole. Hallelujah style!
When my local Winn Dixie puts whole fryers on sale, I usually buy 3 or 4 of them & cook them all on the grill on the weekend. We start eating one that day and I wrap the others really well in heavy duty aluminum foil for the freezer. I'm generally NOT a person who enjoys frozen food but these freeze really well. Pop them straight from the freezer in the foil into a 350 preheated oven for about 30 minutes and they are just as good (if not better) than fresh off the grill!
I call them "Hallelujah Chickens" because they look like they are having church all lined up in the pan. LOL Yes, I know I'm a bit throwed off sometimes, but that's just what they look like. PLUS, it beats what lots of folks call it: Beer-Butt Chicken.
I don't stick to a hard & fast recipe..but generally this is what I do (recipe for one chicken):
1 can beer (brand not important but don't use lite beer)
1/3 jar Cajun Injector (or any brand) Creole Butter
1/4 cup melted butter
1/3 can sprite or 7up (not diet)
Any other type of liquid flavoring you might enjoy (i.e. liquid smoke, flavored beer, etc.)
Tony Chachere's (or other any type of cajun seasoning) to taste
Salt & Pepper to taste
Preheat grill to around 300 degrees.
OKAY-- you don't HAVE to use the can holders..but it makes it much easier. Plus it gives you something to grab when the chickens are hot while cooking if you need to move them around the grill a bit. I have 2 types.. a black iron one that ROCKS... it cooks chicken much faster than the smaller wireframe ones..but I generally only use this if I'm cooking only 1 chicken because I want them to all be done at the same time. The cast iron ones are more expensive, but worth the price. You can find these at most hardware stores. I'm pretty sure they carry the wire ones at Walmart.
ANYWAY.... clean out your chicken "hollows"... (can't bring myself to call it a cavity..just sounds too morbid). I coat my chicken hollows with Tony Chacheres (the salt & pepper of the south).. But you can really use your imagination. Just put some seasoning down in that hole. Then cover the entire chicken with it as well.
NOW for the mixture to put into the can:
Pour out (OR better yet DRINK) about 2/3rs of the beer.. add in 1/3 can of the Cajun Injector Creole Butter...and finish filling the can with 7up. The goal is to have a full can (1/3 beer, 1/3rd creole butter, 1/3rd 7up). You can add in any flavors you might like.
Use your imagination. My son, Caleb, drinks Woodchuck Hard Cider. I had some in the pool fridge, so I thought I'd give it a whirl. It created a great slightly sweet flavor. NOTE: if you don't have access to the creole butter, just melt some butter and infuse it with some garlic, add in a little EVO and your good!
Make sure to pull the tab off the cans completely and then put the can down into the holder.
Then set your chickens in the "hallelujah position" on top of the cans. Careful..don't SPILL the cans after drinking all that beer!
Take what's left of the Cajun Injector Creole Butter and pour over top of the chickens, along with the melted butter. You can also rub in a little EVO. Make sure entire chicken is slathered with greasy goodness!
This is what they should look like once finished.
The liquid in the cans will create a wonderfully flavored steam coming up through the chicken hollows and keep the meat very moist as it cooks.
(NOTE: You can do all these steps the NIGHT BEFORE and keep them in the fridge until you cook the next day. It's even BETTER that way!)
AS far as timing goes... you need to get your core temperature to at least 180 degrees for about 1/2 an hour. For this you NEED an insertable meat thermometer.
We generally cook 4 birds at a time and it takes us about 4 hours, low & slow. Once the chicken is cooked long enough the internal temperature should reach 180 degrees F. Let it continue cooking for about 30 more mins & stick a fork in it...it's done! NOTE: If in doubt, give the drumstick a tug..it should be easy to separate from the rest of the bird.
I generally grill mine IN a large pan to keep the drippings from catching my grill on fire..that allows me to go back inside and drink more beer rather than sitting alongside the grill fighting fires for a few hours. BUT at the end, I like to put directly on the grill for about 10 minutes. It crisps up the skin.
This is the golden, delicious chicken that comes out:
The outside of the bird is crispy and inside the meat is tender & juicy. We usually eat one now & I let the rest cool, wrap in heavy coat of heavy duty aluminum foil & pop into the freezer. Later when I want to add chicken to a salad, make a pan of enchiladas or dumplins, I'll take it out and heat it thru in the oven (350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes). The reheated birds are actually more tasty than the original if that's possible.
This chicken will leave you wanting more & .......well, shouting Hallelujah!!!!
Take good care,