Grilled Guinness-Basted Chicken
This recipe is featured in The Oxford Companion to Beer
- Servings 4
- One 1½ - 2 kg (3½ - 4 pound) chicken
- One can or bottle of Guinness or other dark beer
- 59 ml (¼ cup) brown sugar or 2 tablespoons maple syrup, fruit jelly, or preserves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Bacon fat rendered from frying 8 ounces of bacon, cooled, or 59 ml (¼ cup) olive oil or vegetable oil
- 2 bay leaves, optional
1. Place the chicken on a work surface and use kitchen shears to cut along either side of the backbone and remove it. Turn the chicken over, spread the chicken open like a book, and press down firmly on the breastbone until it cracks and flattens.
2. Re-shape the chicken so it is compact, and place it in a large heavy-duty sealable plastic bag. In a mixing bowl, combine the beer, brown sugar, and salt and pepper. Whisk to blend. Add the bacon fat or oil, and whisk again until well-blended. Add the bay leaves, and pour the mixture into the bag. Carefully (so that the bones don’t puncture the bag) turn the bag so that the mix coats the chicken. Refrigerate, up to 24 hours, until ready to grill.
3. Transfer the chicken to a work surface, reserving the marinade. Flatten the chicken again, skin side up. If metal or bamboo skewers are available, thread two through the chicken to keep it intact during cooking.
4. Prepare a moderately hot wood or charcoal fire with a pan of cold water nearby in case of flare-ups from dripping fat. Place the chicken skin-side up on the grill, and cook until golden on the underside, about 15 minutes. Turn the chicken and continue to cook, basting with the reserved marinade, for another 15 minutes. Continue to cook in this fashion until juices run clear and an instant-read thermometer reads 82° C/180° F. when inserted into the thickest portion of the thigh, 45 minutes to one hour total cooking time. Cut the chicken as desired, and serve.