Patriots Buffet Table 1/20/08 Patriots vs. Chargers
by Patriots Daily Kitchen Staff

Well it’s time for Classy Bowl III. The Pats beat the Chargers in San Diego last year in the playoffs. The Bolts weren’t that concerned with the loss. They were just mad that the Patriots danced Shawne Merriman’s dance! They sure showed us this year, as the Pats crushed them. That game that led to the first ‘Can you go undefeated’ questions for Belichick.

Somehow the Chargers managed to win in Indy last week. Classy LT missed time with a bruise. Phillip Rivers hurt himself jumping 8 inches into the air. Those two along with Antonio Gates represent two thirds of San Diego’s offense. Gates played despite injury but Thomlinson and Rivers decided to inspire the Buffet Table. It’s time for our first Beer Can Chicken recipe. This one will be the classiest. MMM Classy Chicken.

Buffet Table Beer Can Chicken.

I’m sure you’ve seen these, a chicken perched on a beer can with it’s legs folded out. The beer steams the chicken from the inside while the rest of the chicken cooks from the outside. It reduces cooking time and keeps the bird moist and juicy.

A chicken this tender and classy is a great tribute to LaDanian. Plus it’s a homage to all those ducks that Phillip Rivers throws around.

We’ll be using Broiler-Fryer chickens. These are young chickens, ranging from 1.5 to 4 pounds. The next size up is the Roaster, they can weigh up to 7 pounds. You can grill a roaster, but obviously it’s meant for roasting. Roasting is a lower temperature method than grilling, so the outside of the bird won’t burn while the inside is still raw.

What we’re doing is grilling. Broiling and grilling are basically the same cooking method. A high temperature heat source close to the meat being cooked. Stick with the Broiler-Fryer, if you need more bird, just buy 2 or 3 Broiler-Fryers.


  • Roaster-Fryer chickens, 2 pounds per person, this may be a bit too much but when it comes to meat on the bone you can never be sure how much you’ll get.
  • 1 can beer per chicken, plus one per chicken for the cook
  • BBQ rub
  • vegetable oil, 2 tablespoons per chicken

First we need to make a BBQ rub. If you have a favorite version, commercial or homemade, go ahead and use it. Otherwise follow this recipe or tailor it to your taste. This should be enough for 2 chickens, you can always make more and save it for future use.

  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground chipotle
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

Allow the chicken to reach room temperature. As we’ve said before, any time you are grilling you want to start with room temperature meat. Otherwise the outside will burn before the inside even starts to warm up.

Heat the grill up to 350 degrees. Only fire up one side of the grill. We will be cooking the chicken over indirect heat.

Coat chicken in oil. Cover with dry rub on inside and outside. Make sure you took out any gizzards left inside the bird.

Prepare the beer can by opening and drinking half of it. Take an old style can opener and punch 2 more holes in the top. Add a couple of teaspoons of the rub to the can. Shove that can up in that chicken.

Take advantage of any nearby Bolts fans, this is a good action for taunting people with. Prop out the drumsticks to form a tripod shape. Fold the chicken wings under themselves and behind the chicken. This will keep the ends from burning. Put a pan under the whole thing, to collect the drippings, and to contain any spills if bird topples over. You can buy special metal wire stands to hold up the chicken, but they’re not necessary if you follow these steps.

Cook the chicken for 75 to 90 minutes. If you have a thermometer the breast should be 165 and the thighs should be 180. If you don’t have a thermometer then stab one of the thighs with a knife or fork. If the juice runs clear it’s done.

With the indirect cooking method, and the time we’ll be cooking, this is a great chance to add some smoke. You can buy a cast iron smoke pan at most places that sell grill supplies. It’s just a small, maybe 7″ by 4″ box that you can add wood chips to. If you have an old kitchen pan that you don’t care about ruining that would work as well.

Any of the common wood chips will work fine with our chicken. You should be able to find mesquite, apple or cherry easily.

Soak the wood chips in beer, water or apple juice. Add to the pan, and place it over the direct heat side of the grill. You’ll need to change the wood chips a few times while you cook. Apart from those times try to keep the grill lid closed as much as possible.

Time for a drink!

So far on the Buffet Table we’ve featured a particular style of beer each week. We’re doing something different this week. The Pats aren’t getting the opponent we expected, and the Buffet Table is following suit.

Chicken can go with pretty much anything. Instead of picking a particular beer we’ll be going over the options you have for canned beer. Over the past few years these options have multiplied. We’re no longer limited to the same 3 copies of a light colored, light flavored lager.

Nothing against the big guys. Every beer style has it’s place. I just don’t see the logic of spending premium dollars on a non-premium product. If I’m in the mood for an American Industrial style lager then I’m buying Narragansett, Schlitz or Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Any of those have the same flavor of the big boys with a much lower pricetag. I’m not saying to go out and buy the cheapest thing you can find. Friends don’t let friends drink the Beast, Mickey’s, or Busch. We don’t give links to them either.

So besides those big guys that everyone already knows from their omnipresent commercials, what is available in cans?

For a number of years, Ballantine (no website) was the only alternative to the industrial lagers. This was the only ale made in America from the mid 20th century up to the birth of the microbreweries.

Ballantine still claims to be America’s largest selling ale. Don’t laugh. If you like craft beer, then most of the beers you drink are made with the Sierra Nevada or “Chico” yeast strain. Sierra Nevada got their yeast from the Ballantine strain.

That yeast is essential to the clean, neutral fermentations of American style ales. American ales wouldn’t exist without Ballantine. The breweries that don’t use ‘Chico’ are probably either using a derivative of ‘Chico’ or they’re English style breweries.

Within the past few years, more and more breweries are making the switch to cans. This is a very good thing. Cans are a far better container than bottles for beer. Canned beer doesn’t skunk. Cans cannot shatter like glass. For the environmentally inclined cans are highly recyclable.

The canning pioneer was Oskar Blues Brewery. I recommended their Dale’s Pale Ale to people in the past and some haven’t liked it. I tried it again and I have to wonder if the first time I had it was a Peyton Manning in the 2006 playoffs experience. For some reason it was better then than it really is. Luckily this isn’t their only beer.

They have a Scotch style ale Old Chub. This is a good scotch ale, but a strong beer that you won’t want to drink more than one of. The best beer they offer is Gordon. Gordon is a double IPA, full of pine flavors from the hops. It’s even bigger than the Old Chub at 8.7% alcohol by volume but it is far more drinkable.

Many English breweries ship their beer to the US in cans. The low weight and easy packability make it a far cheaper option than bottles. Two that I like are Boddingtons Pub Style Ale and Hobgoblin. Hobgoblin is the darker and stronger of the two. Boddingtons is a Bitter and Hobgoblin is an English Brown ale.

Any British canned beer will be a good option. They’re all quite drinkable, balanced, and usually low in alcohol.

New England Brewing Company from Woodbridge, CT is the canned beer leader in New England. Their Atlantic Amber is in the Amber or Red ale style. The Elm City Lager is a pilsner. Sea Hag is an India Pale Ale. All are good, drinkable beers.