This past weekend it was my birthday. There are certain questions that I believe should NEVER be asked of any woman, mostly because they are rude, but also because we won’t answer them anyway, so why bother?
How much do you weigh? How much money do you make? How far along are you? (That one for obvious reasons.) And finally, how old are you? As far as I’m concerned, if you have the balls to ask any of these questions, then you deserve whatever answer is coming your way.
My birthday began with a beautiful card and gift from my husband and kids. After I had coffee, I proceeded to make jam with the bazillion strawberries that I had picked a few days before. Then preparations began for a small family BBQ that we were having at my Dad’s house. My older son’s birthday was also last week, so we thought we would celebrate them together with my Dad and my brothers and their families.
My immediate family consists of 14 people, which coming from a Ukrainian background is actually fairly small. My aunt and uncle happened to be in town, so they were also invited. That made 16. My sister in law’s Mom made 17. My nephew’s girlfriend made 18. Then we had relatives stop in who were traveling across the country, so that made 20. My cousin, her boyfriend, and her two nieces also stopped in. That made 24. We multiplied like rabbits!!!
Thank goodness my family works on the principal of cooking lots so there’s always enough, and if there are leftovers we divide them up and take them home. That wisdom came from my Mom and my Grandma who adopted the boy scout motto of always being prepared, so a jump from feeding 14 people to feeding 24 people, with limited warning, wasn’t that much of a strain for us. When an impromptu party happens, you send one person to the store for hot dogs and buns and you haul ice cream and frozen berries out of the freezer. You cook an extra couple of potatoes and shuck a few more cobs of corn. Somehow, as if by magic, there is always enough and no one goes hungry.
Memphis Spice Rub
Makes enough for 1 chicken.
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 3 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
Measure all spice rub ingredients into a small bowl and mix well. Set aside.
Beer Can Chicken
- 1 fresh or thawed whole chicken, 4 – 5 lbs
- 1 12 oz can of beer, any brand (If you don’t have beer you can use any kind of canned soda pop or orange juice. It works the same way of steaming the inside of the bird.)
- 1 portion Memphis style spice rub mix
Remove neck and giblets from chicken cavity. Thoroughly wash the chicken, inside and out with running water. Pat the skin dry with paper towels. Generously rub the Memphis spice rub all over the skin and inside the cavity of the bird. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to marinate for a minimum of 1 hour. This can also be done up to 1 day in advance.
Preheat the barbecue on medium-high heat. Open the can of beer (or soda pop) and drink about 1/3 to 1/2 of the can. (Or you can discard it, but why waste?) Place the chicken on the beer can and place it on a disposable aluminum pan to catch all the drippings. You can wrap the bottom half of the chicken legs with aluminum foil since the meat is thinner here and may burn. Place the pan with the chicken on the grill and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook the chicken for 1 hour to 1 hour 30 minutes, depending on the size of your bird, or until the internal temperature of the thigh is 180 F. Check the chicken periodically for doneness and to adjust grill temperature as needed.
Remove from the grill and let the chicken rest for 10 – 15 minutes before carving.
*Use extreme caution when removing the chicken from the can as the internal steam created while cooking is scorching hot. My blistered fingers are proof of this!