Food Network Magazine (May 2012)
But we'd never really thought about cooking with ginger beer. Which is why we really wanted to make this Grilled Ginger-Beer Chicken.
Chicken rubbed with dry ginger and slathered in a ginger-beer-and-black-tea barbecue sauce? It sounds like a great twist on BBQ chicken!
As it turns out: Great? Yes. A twist? Well, not so much...
This recipe from Food Network Magazine is a good primer. You have to cook chicken on the cooler side of the grill first, and then finish it over the flames at the last minute. That's how you get plump, nicely cooked chicken with a great, crisp skin.
That refresher alone is reason enough to make us glad we tried this recipe. Which brings us to the ginger and the ginger beer.
How can we put this?
This chicken is like Gilligan's Island with only Mary Ann.
It's like Fred Astaire dancing alone.
It's like a room full of blondes and brunettes.
In other words? There's no ginger.
We don't get it. There's a ton of ginger in this recipe. You douse the chicken in ground ginger and let it sit for two hours before rubbing it with even more ground ginger prior to grilling. The barbecue sauce starts with two full bottles of spicy ginger beer, which you reduce for a half hour to concentrate the flavor even further. But the end result is a perfectly fine chicken in a perfectly fine barbecue sauce, without any trace of ginger flavor, at least to our palates.
We will say the barbecue sauce itself is way too sweet for our tastes. We ended up doubling the mustard in an attempt to temper it, but it was still just pure sweetness to us. We should have thrown in some vinegar.
So if you want some very good grilled chicken, this is the recipe for you. If you want gingery grilled chicken, you might want to make some adjustments. Here are a few thoughts:
- Make sure your ground ginger is fresh. (Ours seemed fine and is very fragrant on its own, but it had definitely been in our spice rack for a long time. Perhaps fresher ground ginger would have helped.)
- Consider starting with three bottles of ginger beer instead of two, and reducing it down to one-third of the original liquid. It would take longer, but you might end up with a more concentrated ginger base.
- If we make this again, we'll incorporate fresh ginger, too. We'd suggest throwing in a tablespoon (or maybe more) of minced or grated fresh ginger when you add the onions and tomatoes.
And if those suggestions don't work, just pair it with a Dark 'n' Spicy and call it an afternoon.
Other Grilled Chicken Posts You Might Enjoy:
Total Time: 2 hours 20 min (Prep: 30 mins. Cook: 1 hour 50 mins)
Yields: 6 servings
Notes from Zach & Clay of The Bitten Word:
- If you want a stronger ginger flavor, consider adding a tablespoon of fresh minced ginger when you add the onions and tomatoes to the sauce.
- If the barbecue sauce is too sweet for your tastes, add more mustard or a tablespoon of cider vinegar.
6 chicken quarters (4 to 4 1/2 pounds total)
2 tablespoons ground ginger
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
6 12-ounce bottles ginger beer
6 black tea bags
3/4 cup minced onion
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup dijon mustard
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
12 sprigs thyme
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
Rinse the chicken and pat dry. Toss the ginger with 2 tablespoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Sprinkle half of the mixture on the chicken; reserve the rest. Refrigerate the chicken, uncovered, at least 2 hours.
Meanwhile, make the sauce: Pour the ginger beer into a wide skillet; cover and bring to a boil. Uncover and cook over high heat until reduced by half, about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the tea bags and steep 10 minutes; discard the tea bags. Add the onion, tomatoes, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar and thyme. Return to high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until thick, about 50 minutes, using a potato masher to crush the tomatoes during the last 5 minutes. Remove the thyme. Set aside half of the sauce for serving.
Bring the chicken to room temperature about 30 minutes before grilling. Preheat a grill to medium with indirect heat: On a charcoal grill, bank the coals to one side; on a gas grill, turn off half of the burners.
Brush the chicken with some of the butter and sprinkle with some of the remaining ground ginger mixture. Place skin-side up on the cooler side of the grill; cover and cook until it starts browning, about 18 minutes, basting with more butter and sprinkling with more ground ginger mixture halfway through. Brush the chicken with a thick layer of sauce. Cover and cook until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 160 degrees F, about 20 minutes, basting with more sauce halfway through.
Brush the chicken with more butter, then turn skin-side down and place on the hotter side of the grill (over direct heat). Cook, uncovered, until marked, about 2 minutes. Rotate the chicken to make crisscross grill marks and cook 2 more minutes. Transfer to a board and let rest about 10 minutes. Season with salt and serve with the reserved sauce.