Don’s Beer Can Chicken

standard July 10, 2015 Leave a response
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What is it about cooking shows that make them so addictive? I think it’s because in cooking, just like in a good plot, there is always an interesting twist. A good cook always adds something new to the recipe, something new and exciting.

I had the privilege to take part in such creative process last week when we grilled a “beer can chicken” for the 4th of July. Don Addison, Mrs. G’s brand ambassador, was going to prepare it the way his mama and grandma used to make.

Don's Beer Can Chicken | Mrs. G's Appliance Chef #beercanchicken #BBQchicken

Beer can chicken (aka beer butt chicken, dancing chicken or chicken on a throne) is fairly straight forward: You stand a chicken upright on a half-filled can of beer and cook it slowly (indirectly) on a grill. The beer evaporates and permeates the chicken.

I sent an email to Chris Gray, the store manager, asking about the grill we were going to use, and this was when the first twist happened. I mistakenly sent the email to Chef Chris Albrecht. Chef Chris headed Craft Steak in Las Vegas and New York and Eno Terra in Kingston. Now he is a managing partner at Farmers Restaurant Group in DC. He’s a busy guy who is always generous with his expertise.

I am sure Chris didn’t understand why I sent him this email. But being the gentleman that he is, he replied with his method of beer can chicken. “Don’t overcook,” he advised. “Consider a 24-hour brine, and then you can keep it warm for a long time.”

A brine. Of course! If you’re using a local, pasture-raised chicken, chances are that it is flavorful but lean and tough. A brine will soften it and render it tender.

The first step was done, and now it was on to the beer can. And that’s when the second twist happened. Instead of beer, Don uses his grandmother’s recipe for BBQ sauce. He uses a Big Green Egg chicken roaster , fills it up with some of  the sauce, and roasts for an hour at 375-400F. After an hour, he starts basting every 15 minutes or so using the same sauce.

According to Don, the chicken is ready when it’s deep golden mahogany, and the wing joints are loose (if you’re not sure about the latter method, use a thermometer).

Here’s the recipe. Do you have a homemade BBQ sauce recipe you’d like to share? Tell us in the comments! 

To Brine Chicken
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Ingredients
  1. • One large roasting chicken
  2. • 18 cups water
  3. • ½ cup kosher salt
  4. • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  5. • Two bay leaves
  6. • 2 tbsp black peppercorns, crushed
Instructions
  1. 1. Combine all the brine ingredients in a large bowl and stir to dissolve the salt and sugar. Let sit at room temperature for two hours.
  2. 2. Strain the brine and discard the solids.
  3. 3. Place a whole chicken in a jumbo-sized resealable bag or a brining bag.
  4. 4. Pour over the brine, squeeze out any excess air from the bag, and close. Place into another bag, and seal again.
  5. 5. Refrigerate for 24 hours.
Mrs. G's Appliance Chef http://appliancechef.mrsgs.com/
Don's Beer Can Chicken
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Ingredients
  1. • 1 (4 to 5-pound) chicken
  2. • Good BBQ sauce (preferably homemade)
Instructions
  1. 1. Set the grill for indirect cooking at 375°F-400°F
  2. 2. Pat dry the chicken inside and out.
  3. 3. Pour some BBQ sauce into the cavity of the Roaster and slide the chicken onto the Roaster, through the tail end.
  4. 4. Place the chicken, still on the roaster, on the grid and close the lid of the grill. Cook undisturbed for an hour until the chicken is just beginning to brown all over.
  5. 5. Using the brush, cover the chicken with BBQ sauce. Cook, brushing the chicken with the sauce several times, for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the internal temperature of the thigh reaches 165°F and the chicken is a mahogany brown color.
  6. 6. Remove the chicken carefully. Don't skip the drama and present it on the Roaster to your guests.
  7. 7. Let rest for about ten minutes. Remove the chicken carefully from the Roaster. Carve and serve.
Equipment
  1. Green Big Egg Folding Roaster or Sittin’ Chicken Ceramic Roaster (or any other chicken grill roaster), Drip Pan, a pastry brush.
Mrs. G's Appliance Chef http://appliancechef.mrsgs.com/

3 Microwave Meals You Can Cook in a Mug

standard July 3, 2015 Leave a response
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Believe it or not, your microwave can do more than reheating your coffee or your day-old pizza (actually, reheating pizza is NOT its forte.)

If you’re heading to college where the only cooking vessel is a microwave; or if it is just too hot to cook – your microwave is your friend. It is also great when you cook for just one.

All you need is a mug (I got Mrs. G’s) and a few good recipes.

3 Microwave Meals You Can Cook in a Mug | Mrs. G's Appliance Chef

The only caveat is that the microwave doesn’t brown the food as well as the oven — unless you have a microwave-convection oven combo (Shop GE at Mrs. G’s now). To solve this issue, just decorate the top with some tasty garnishes. They will add color and flavor.

Microwave Meatloaf
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Ingredients
  1. • 1/3 cup marinara sauce or ketchup ( get it locally from First Field)
  2. • 1/3 cup panko crumbs (or smashed gluten-free crackers)
  3. • Two tablespoons grated onion
  4. • One teaspoon chopped garlic
  5. • One teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  6. • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  7. • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  8. • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  9. • 1 pound ground beef, preferably grass-fed from the farmers market
  10. • One large egg
  11. • More ketchup for garnish
Instructions
  1. 1. Combine marinara or ketchup, panko, onion, garlic, thyme, parsley, salt, pepper, and ground beef in a large bowl. Stir to mix (I like to knead it in my hands, their warmth helps distribute the fat and flavors.)
  2. 2. Spread beef mixture evenly in a nine 1/2-inch microwave-safe loaf dish coated with olive oil; Keep the mixture somewhat fluffy.
  3. 3. Loosely cover with a paper towel.
  4. 4. Microwave for 8 -10 minutes or until meat is no longer pink, and a thermometer reads 160°;
  5. 5. Let stand for 3 minutes. Serve topped with additional ketchup if desired.
  6. 6. Note: To prepare one serving of a meatloaf, divide the mixture in four, and freeze three portions. Microwave the remaining portion in a lightly oiled mug for 3 minutes. When ready to cook the remaining frozen meatball mixes be sure to thaw them completely in the fridge before cooking.
Mrs. G's Appliance Chef http://appliancechef.mrsgs.com/
 

Gluten-Free Blueberries Muffins in a Mug
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Ingredients
  1. • 1/2 cup almonds or other nut flour
  2. • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  3. • A pinch of salt
  4. • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  5. • 1-ounce (1/8 cup) New Jersey blueberries ('tis the season!)
  6. • One egg
  7. • One tablespoon melted butter
  8. • Two tablespoons maple syrup
  9. • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
  10. • A little more maple syrup, to top
Instructions
  1. 1. Mix almonds, baking soda, salt and cloves in a bowl. Add the blueberries and toss to cover them with the dry mixture. In a separate bowl, whisk egg, butter, syrup, and zest. Combine the wet mixture with the dry one and mix thoroughly.
  2. 2. Pour into a coffee mug that you have coated with a little bit of oil or butter. Microwave for 90 seconds. Drizzle with a bit more maple syrup. Enjoy.
Mrs. G's Appliance Chef http://appliancechef.mrsgs.com/
Goat Cheese and Spinach Frittata
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Ingredients
  1. • Melted butter to brush the cup and the top of the frittata
  2. • 1⁄2 cup fresh spinach leaves, washed and dried
  3. • 1/4 cup basil leaves, torn
  4. • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  5. • 1⁄3 cup fresh goat cheese, crumbled
  6. • 2 eggs
  7. • 1⁄4 cup heavy cream
  8. • salt and pepper
  9. • Extra one tablespoon crumbled goat cheese and one tablespoons chopped basil to garnish.
Instructions
  1. 1. Brush a microwave safe cereal sized bowl or a mug with some melted butter
  2. 2. Chop the spinach. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Add the basil, goat cheese and parmesan and mix.
  3. 3. Beat the two eggs and cream in a separate cup, pour over the mixture. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
  4. 4. Microwave on high for 2 minutes until starting to set. Drizzle with some butter and sprinkle the remaining goat cheese. Microwave for another minute.
  5. 5. Sprinkle with basil if you wish and serve immediately.
Notes
  1. There are lots of greens at the farmers market right now. Use them in a frittata.
Mrs. G's Appliance Chef http://appliancechef.mrsgs.com/

Pumpkin Mac ‘n’ Cheese & Orange Cardamom Cookies from the Big Brothers/Big Sister Autumn Culinaire

standard October 24, 2014 Leave a response
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On Thursday, October 23rd, I had the chance to join my culinary colleagues for the Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Mercer County Autumn Culinaire at Greenacres Country Club in Lawrenceville, NJ. It was such an honor to join some of the finest restaurants and chefs in Central Jersey and to share my passion with other food enthusiasts. It also gave me a chance to talk about our cooking classes and the catering I do for Debbie at Mrs. G. And we are always thrilled to help an organization that supports the success of local children. Read More

Mardi Gras Recipes: King Cake & Jambalaya

standard March 11, 2014 Leave a response

Below are a couple of my favorite recipes. In our house, Jambalaya and King Cake are not just for Mardi Gras. I met my wonderful husband on New Years Eve 1997 in New Orleans, and yes, I knew from the first kiss at midnight that I had found the love of my life. So, we always celebrate our wedding anniversary and New Year’s with some New Orleans traditions. Next week Preston and I celebrate our 14th wedding anniversary, and will enjoy a dinner of Jambalaya and King Cake. Cheers!  Read More

Holiday Appetizers from Princeton, NJ Area Chefs

standard December 9, 2013 Leave a response
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On November 21st, Mrs. G’s hosted the Business After Business event for the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce. It was a pleasure to join 4 chefs from local restaurants – Rocky Hill Inn, Crown of India, Chambers Walk, and Marsilio’s Kitchen–to prepare an appetizer that would be sure to delight any holiday party. We’ve shared most of the recipes for you below so you can wow your guests this holiday season! Let us know how they turn out. And check out pictures from the event to see the chefs (and me) in action!  Read More