Astonishingly, I came in second for the third year in a row as Richmond Magazine's best blog. Previously, I'd figured that John Sarvay of Buttermilk & Molasses and my husband were the only two people in Richmond who voted for me. This year John won first place, so I imagine maybe that's the way his vote must have gone, and the ballot form is still pristine, empty, and firmly attached to our copy of the magazine from the spring. So I don't have any idea how it happened.
However, the actual win makes me feel really, really guilty. I haven't updated since June and most of my links to Style Weekly articles are, well, non-existent. If you didn't pick up a print copy, you didn't get to read me exhorting everyone to abstain from blue crabs so that the population has a chance to come back in the Chesapeake Bay, or to read something I wrote in HomeStyle that I now can't remember. Where is my copy, anyway?
I went to Umi Sushi and I loved it just as much as I loved Ichiban, but a link to my exhaustively researched but very, very brief explanation about the dangers of mercury in large fish isn't out there. Yet. I always have hope and the new website should be coming soon (go check out the test model here).
So, I have been writing, here and there, but what with the summer and children home from school and various other projects, I haven't had a lot of time. I've been going to a lot of farmers' markets and visiting farms, however. In fact, I have a lot to say about that--in the near future. Until then, here's another post from the past to keep you hanging on (and apparently you do, you really do).
Originally published August 8, 2006.
If it weren't for the smoke I'd love to grill. In fact, that's why I like my stove so much. However, a gas range just doesn't provide that crazy, addictive, smoky flavor I start think about when the mercury dips below a hundred and settles into the low-nineties. Although I always try to recruit someone else to do the actual grilling, my charm alone isn't unfailingly successful--especially when the person in question has been working outside all day in the (still considerable) heat and truly DOESN'T CARE what he eats, as long as it's food.
So I drag my sorry, charmless self out, light the coals, and drop the grate into the fire. After I fish that out, I drink half a beer and stick the half-full can into a chicken that I place upright on the grill (now stabilized). And an hour and half later of black, grimy hands, minor burns, and smoke-filled tears, I have a mahogany-glazed chicken that, when placed on a platter, looks like I cooked it midway through a seizure.
But this chicken is falling-off-the-bone tender, with crispy skin, and a flavor that stirs atavistic memories, ancient echoes reminding you just how primal and profound this desire for meat roasted over an open fire can be. In other words, just shut up and eat.
Mahogany-Grilled Beer Can Chicken
Soak about a cup or so of wood chips in water for about 30 minutes. Then build a charcoal fire in your grill, and when it's going, divide the coals in two, push them to the sides, and place an aluminum 9" x 13" pan in between them to catch the drips. Apply dry rub (recipe to follow) underneath and on top of the skin, and inside the cavity of a 3-4 lb. chicken. Open a beer and drink half of it. Add a couple of extra holes to the top with a church key and then add approximately 1 tablespoon of the rub to the beer.
Go outside to your grill, add the drained wood chips, and insert the beer can in the chicken's cavity (or insert rude joke here). Carefully prop up the chicken and can on the grill grate, forming a tripod with the chicken's legs. Close grill cover and cook for 1 1/2-2 hours . Every 30 minutes or so add a some charcoal to keep your fire going. When the thigh registers 180 degrees with an instant-read thermometer, remove from the grill, and with a large, well-folded dish towel or two or three, carefully remove the chicken from the can (this is potentially catastrophic if you don't have an assistant to help you). Let rest for ten minutes and refrain from ripping the chicken limb from limb and devouring without a plate. Serves several.
1/4 c. kosher salt
1 Tb. smoked paprika
1 Tb. freshly ground pepper
1 Tb. dried oregano
1 Tb. garlic powder
1 Tb. onion powder
Mix and apply liberally.