Lemonade Can Chicken

by Cate on April 17, 2005

Went out househunting with my sister today and she treated to lunch. We ate at Quays (pronounced keys) on the water in Hoboken. The decor they were going for, as we were told, was wharf-like. They fell short of that, but it was still nicely done. We were having a tough time deciding what to select … the Egg White Omelet with Brie was a strong contender, as was the Dublin Fish and Chips with Mushy Peas. A very friendly waiter helpfully recommended two dishes which we thoroughly enjoyed. My sister had the Crab Cakes Benedict and I had the Croque Madame. Both came with sides of delicious potatoes. I asked the waiter about the preparation of the potatoes, and he said they were made with an interesting combination of hot sauce and curry. They were gently cooked diced potatoes with a clingy sauce and caramelized onions. Both of our entrees were well proportioned, tasty and reasonably priced. And with water views and $2.50/hour parking, what more could you want? If you’re in the area, check out the restaurant. Service is brisk without making you feel like you were rushed … perfect. Thanks for lunch!

Dinner tonight led to more recipes from underutilized cookbooks. Last weekend, I got a copy of Steven Raichlen’s Beer-Can Chicken (and 74 Other Offbeat Recipes for the Grill. While thumbing through it at the bookstore, the recipe for Lemonade Chicken caught my eye. The Husband made that for dinner, accompanied with a Lemonade-Mustard Sauce and I made a side dish of Oven Fries from one of Rachael Ray’s books, 30 Minute Meals 2.

I’m trying to sell my son on the fact that these french fries are just as good as the ones at McDonald’s. A tough sell, for sure, but he ate a bunch of them before waving the white flag. The chicken was moist, moist, moist and we’d definitely do it this way again. Even the traditionally dry white meat was succulent. Although it was good, I probably wouldn’t make the Lemonade-Mustard Sauce again. The Husband is a meat purist and doesn’t use any sauce for any type of meat, so it’s not worth it for just me. He always shakes his head when I do my usual mayo and mustard concoction for dipping grilled chicken breast into. When my mom came over last week for dinner and did the same thing, it was obvious to see how such habits develop. ;)

David Rosengarten, TV-chef and award-winning author of several cookbooks, has just released David Rosengarten Entertains: Fabulous Parties for Food Lovers, which is, of course, winging its way to me from Amazon right now. Detailing how to throw easy dinner parties, he has a down-to-earth approach to both food and wine that’s sure to win you over. He also has a free monthly e-mail newsletter that you can sign up for here.

Until tomorrow…

P.S. The chicken recipe really isn’t as involved as it looks. Prep time was under 15 minutes.

Lemonade-Can Chicken
Rub:
1 tablespoon lemonade powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons hickory-smoked salt
1 teaspoons lemon pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon celery seed

1 can (12 oz.) lemonade
1 chicken (3 1/2 to 4 lbs.)
2 teaspoons vegetable oil

Rub: Put the lemonade powder, brown sugar, paprika, hickory salt, lemon pepper, garlic and onion powders and celery seed in a small bowl and stir to mix.

Pop the tab off the lemonade can. Pour half of the lemonade into a measuring cup and set aside for the sauce. If cooking the chicken on the can, using a church key-style can opener, make 2 additional holes in its top. Set the can aside.

Remove the packet of giblets from the body cavity of the chicken and set aside for another use. Remove and discard the fat just inside the body and neck cavities. Rinse the chicken, inside and out, under cold running water and then drain and blot dry, inside and out, with paper towels.

Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of the rub inside the body cavity and d teaspoon inside the neck cavity of the chicken. Drizzle the oil over the outside of the bird and rub or brush it all over the skin. Sprinkle the outside of the bird with 1 tablespoon rub and rub it all over the skin. Set aside 2 teaspoons of rub for the sauce. Spoon the remaining rub into the lemonade through a hole in the top of the can.

To cook on a can: Hold the bird upright, with the opening of the body cavity at bottom, and lower it onto the can so the can fits into the cavity. Pull the chicken legs forward to form a sort of tripod, so the bird stands upright. The rear leg of the tripod is the can. Tuck the tips of the wings behind the chicken’s back.

Set up the grill for indirect grilling and preheat to medium. If using a charcoal grill, place a large drip pan in the center and distribute the coals on the left and right side of the grill, leaving the center open for the drip pan.

Stand the chicken up in the center of the hot grate, over the drip pan and away from the heat. Cover the grill and cook the chicken until the skin is a dark golden brown and very crisp and the meat is cooked through (about 180 degrees on an instant-read meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of a thigh, but not touching the bone). If using a charcoal grill, you’ll need to add 12 fresh coals per side after an hour. If the chicken skin starts to brown too much, loosely tent the bird with aluminum foil.

If cooking on a can: Using tongs, hold the bird by the can and carefully transfer it in an upright position to a platter.

Present the bird to your guests. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes, then carefully lift it off the can. Take care not to spill the hot lemonade or otherwise burn yourself. Halve, quarter or carve the chicken and serve with Lemonade-Mustard Sauce.

Serves 2 to 4.

Lemonade Mustard Sauce
1 tablespoon butter
2 to 3 shallots, or 1 small onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 C.)
3/4 cup lemonade (reserved from Lemonade Chicken)
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
6 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh lemon zest
Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground black pepper

Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook until just beginning to brown, about 4 minutes. Add the lemonade, raise the heat to high, and let boil until reduced to 2 tbsp., about 5 minutes. Stir in the brown sugar, mustard, lemon juice and lemon zest. Lower the heat to medium and let the sauce simmer until thick and richly flavored, about 5 minutes, whisking from time to time.

Taste for seasoning, adding salt, pepper, and more lemon juice to taste. This sauce goes great with any sort of poultry, with pork, and even with rich, grilled fish, such as swordfish or salmon.

Oven Fries
5 all-purpose potatoes, scrubbed and dried
extra virgin olive oil, about 2 tablespoons
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon oregano
1 tablespoon Monterey Steak seasoning
Salt, to your taste

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. Cut potatoes into thin wedges and place on a cookie sheet. Coat potatoes in a thin layer of extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle with herbs. Toss potatoes to coat evenly. Roast potatoes 25 minutes, until crisp and golden at edges. Season hot wedges with salt to your taste.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

linda April 17, 2005 at 2:09 am

That chicken recipe looks really good. How hard was it to find lemonade powder — is that just like powder for making lemonade with?

Reply

Cate April 17, 2005 at 2:16 am

Yup, the powder you make lemonade with. For a real cheap alternative, use a package of Lemonaid Kool-Aid (happened to be what I used/had on hand too). Worked out great. :) Thinking of trying his Thai Coconut Chicken next (with Spicy Peanut Sauce)… Tuesday’s plan.

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