The Chicken that Almost Blew Her Face Off

It is Labor Day weekend, and the neighborhoods are ripe with the smell of mower gasoline, bug spray, and the smell of grill masters at work.

In my home,  my wife does the cooking and I do the grilling.  We have come to accept that we each have certain gifts when it comes to food preparation…and any activities that potentially involve flammable properties is delegated to me.

However, there was one time when my beloved SWMBO dared to grill…with unusual results.

My wife, the beloved SWMBO, blogged before I did and got me invovled.  She has not blogged in a lon gwhile as grad school has taken up her time.  However, she did take the time back in the day to record her attempt at grilling.

All those who bill be grilling tomorrow-read and heed and don’t forge into unknown territories…

And now, in the interests of public and culinary safety, brought to you from an undisclosed blog location, this is SWMBO’s entry describing her grilling efforts of June 20, 2005…

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Tuesday, June 21, 2005

The Chicken that Nearly Blew My Face Off

Last night, I decided it would be a good idea to fire up the grill to cook a whole chicken. It was a calm, pleasant, even coolish night, and I thought that sitting on the deck would be a great way to spend an early summer evening.

I am a good cook but I have never turned on the gas grill before, and I have never really cooked anything other than a few burgers on the grill. The grilling responsibilities have long since been abdicated to my husband.

Things started off okay. I opened my Paula Deen cookbook, found the recipe for “Beer in the Rear” chicken, and then rinsed, dried, and seasoned the big ‘ole bird. In my brain I was thinking “how hard can it be?” My husband grills a lot…

[Bwana grilling note-for those who have not tried the Beer Can Chicken recipe, the idea is to use the beer can to stand up the chicken.  While cooking, the beer evaporates out of the open can, keeping the chicken moist.]

Well, apparently, it is beyond my capabilities.

I turned the knobs, I hit the ignitor, nothing happened. Called the husband. Turned a few more handles, adjusted some settings, nothing happened. Called the husband. Pulled out my large candle lighter thingy, stuck it in the side of the grill and……..

KABLAM!!

There were bits of hair falling out, a lovely singed smell about me, and a scary new sense of my own mortality. I was so close to really burning my face that I had to sit in stunned silence for several moments while the fire roared in the grill.

[Bwana note-apparently during all the time prior to lighting the flame the gas was on.  While I was not there, apparently the black cloud that went up was not unlike the big explosions at the German fuel dump in “Raiders of the Lost Ark”]

Things didn’t get any better from there.

I turned the flames down, put the chicken on the grill, lowered the lid, and went inside to clean up my hair and to check out the damage. Next thing I know, there was billowing smoke coming from the grill. The flames were so huge that I could barely get the lid open (finally dawned on me to get the oven mitts — duh). I was hesitant to turn the grill completely off because I did NOT want to have to restart the fire and at that point I actually thought I would need to keep cooking the chicken. Ultimately, I turned off the grill because I was about to burn down the house and deck. Even after I turned it off, the flames did not subside for 10 or 15 minutes. Nothing like a little burning chicken fat to really get a fire going.

[Bwana grill note-when grilling something like “Beer in the Rear” chicken, use indirect heat.  If using a gas grill, put the chicken on one side of the grill and only turn on the burner on the other side.  If using charcoal or wood, put an aluminum tray in the middle of the shell and directly under the chicken.  Pile the charcoal/wood on either side.  You get the indirect heat from the charcoal, and the fat drips into the tray.]

The chicken looked like a blackened marshmallow. Torched skin and a raw interior. Scrumptious.

burned-chicken.jpg

I called husband. He picked up dinner.

I will try again to conquer the grill.

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So far, she hasn’t…but there’s always tomorrow!

Remember, light the candle lighter and then turn on the gas.  If you use charcoal, I recommend you use a chimney for lighting.  Either way, as Sgt. Phil Esterhaus always said “Let’s be careful out there!”

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