This week's column is a “two-for-one” special, with the cauliflower dish being an original “on the spot”
creation when we needed a good side for the chicken.
While the main entree is usually the center of
attention, the cauliflower dish pushed its way in and became the star of the show.
I had purchased cauliflower but wasn't sure how I wanted to prepare it. My wife, Liz, suggested I smoke it so that she could create a smoked cauliflower mash. Smokey mashed cauliflower? Sounded good to me! But, let's start with the beer can chicken.
I decided to use a roaster chicken, which is a more mature hen that has typically been a free range bird.
Hens are bigger, and have more flavor. As a bonus, the leftover carcass is fantastic for soups and broths, much better than the smaller “friers,” which are younger chickens. You can freeze the bones after carving for future use.
Set up the grill for indirect heat, which means to place hot coals on one side of your grill. I use a hickory log to hold the coals in one corner, which means I don't need to sprinkle the coals with wood chips. I used a Guinness beer that we had on hand which unfortunately was bottled, not canned.
This is only unfortunate when one wants a can on which to place a chicken. So I dug out a contraption that I
rarely use, a stand meant specifically for beer can chicken. Fill the middle container with beer, slide
the butt end of the hen onto the container and prop it up with its legs on the cool side of the grill.
In this case, the hen was touching the lid of the grill, so I placed a piece of aluminum foil on top of the
chicken. (If you happen to have canned beer, open it, drink half, and slide can into bottom end of chicken.)