Birthday Beer Butt Roast Chicken
It’s my birthday, bitches!
Obviously, my birthday is my favorite day of the year. However, this year’s birthday marks the exit from my early twenties, which is both terrifying and an uncomfortable life transition. Not to be overly melodramatic, but getting old stresses me out. As of about 7 hours ago, I am 26 years old, and I haven’t accomplished so many of the things that I wanted to by this age. I’m not the star of my own television show, I haven’t been asked to pose for Maxim, and I’ve never been invited to Diddy’s White Party. I don’t even have an assistant. My life-plan has somehow gotten terribly off track.
To be honest, I’ve been dreading turning 26 for weeks. Not only am I getting older, but it’s sort of a nothing birthday, so I don’t even have an excuse to throw a rager like I did for milestones like 21:
|Now every party that doesn’t have my name carved into an ice bar is a letdown…|
|Probably never allowed back at La Esquina.|
I didn’t want to do anything to celebrate my birthday this year other than my annual cake-eating binge and maybe an anti-aging facial, but Logan convinced me otherwise. “You love being a birthday princess! You have to do something. You know you want to.” I reminded him that 26 was a throwaway birthday and that it was probably best to just stay home and get some extra beauty sleep considering the fact that I am now almost thirty. This made him angry (probably because he is actually almost 30), and he told me to get over myself because I’m “not that old.”
As usual, my roommate was right. I’m still relatively young and panicking about my age may be slightly premature. Plus, I’ve been using rejuvinating eye cream twice a day since high school. If I look a day over 22, a certain cosmetics company is going to be receiving a very strongly worded letter. So, I decided to forget about my age and embrace my birthday for the wonderful celebration that it should be.
To kick-off the festivities, I threw a small birthday eve dinner party. Nothing crazy, just a small feast with oversized cocktails, a Birthday Beer Butt Chicken, and Mashed Red Potatoes with Cream Cheese:
I’ve always been intrigued by the concept of beer butt chicken, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to have finally tried it. This was one of the juiciest, most flavorful roast chickens that I have ever made. Or tasted. I’m not going to get too technical on how this actually works (because I’m not actually sure), but I just like to imagine sweet beer vapors swirling around inside that bird while it’s roasting. The meat was tender, slightly sweet, and a little bit spicy from the combination of America’s favorite beer and a good barbecue spice rub. You could also cook your beer butt chicken on the grill this spring, which would give it a pretty awesome smokey flavor. Be warned, it looks very weird to have a chicken standing up on a beer can, especially raw, but I’ll put up with a little bit of creepiness for a good meal. (This statement applies only to food, not humans.)
The chicken was great, but the mashed potatoes stole the show. I used garlic-infused olive oil in these potatoes, which gave them much more depth than plain old butter. The addition of cream cheese was the real moneymaker though. It makes them absurdly creamy with just the slightest tangy sweetness. They are also remarkably fluffy, which is the result of baking them for a few minutes before serving. As one friend put it so beautifully, “These potatoes taste like angel’s wings.” As far as side dishes go, these mashed potatoes with cream cheese are pretty unbeatable, and you should serve them with EVERYTHING.
After last night’s delicious dinner, I am actually excited to celebrate my 26th birthday. I don’t want to get overly emotional, but I have a lot to be thankful for…a sexy boyfriend who is practically an internet celebrity, amazing friends, a crazy family that I love, and all of you who are wonderful enough to read this blog. I have high hopes for 26 (if for no other reason than that I plan to throw in the towel at 27, which is my “scary age”). On that note, I’m off to spend the day graciously accepting birthday wishes, drinking champagne, and eating disgusting amounts of cake in my fanciest daywear. If you would like updates, I (@serenagwolf) will be live tweeting my birthday activities until midnight. #birthdayprincess.
Beer Butt Roast Chicken with Vegetables: (Serves 4)
Preparing your chicken with vegetables:
*Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
-Clean the cavity of your chicken and trim any excess skin/fat. (Your chicken may already be in perfect condition, but if not, make it sexy).
-Season the inside of the cavity with a pinch of salt and pepper. Rub the chicken’s skin with 1 tbsp olive oil and then season it with your favorite spice rub. Feel free to rub some under the skin as well.
-Crack open your beer can and then use a can opener to completely remove the top of the can. Pour ¼ of the beer into a small cup and set aside.
-Gently lower the chicken onto the beer can. This is kind of awkward, I know. But the chicken should be resting on the beer can. Carefully transfer the beer butt chicken to your baking dish/skillet.
-Toss the vegetables with 1½ tbsp olive oil, salt, and pepper. Add them to the roasting pan around the chicken.
-Roast your chicken and vegetables for 1 hour. Add the reserved quarter cup of beer to the baking pan and continue roasting for 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. If you are using a meat thermometer, the breast should read 165 degrees. Remove the chicken from the oven and allow it to rest for 10 minutes covered loosely with aluminum foil.
-Remove the beer can from the chicken’s cavity and carve your drunken bird.
Mashed Red Potatoes with Cream Cheese: (Serves 4-6)
Preparing your mashed potatoes:
-Scrub your potatoes well, and cut them in half (or into quarters if they are large). Place them in a large pot and cover with water.
-Bring the water to a low boil and cook the potatoes gently for 20 minutes until very tender.
-While the potatoes are cooking, combine the minced garlic and olive oil in a small pot. Bring to a low simmer and simmer for 10 minutes to soften the garlic and infuse the oil with its flavor. Be very careful not to let the heat get to high or the garlic will burn. Seriously.
-When cooked, strain the potatoes and transfer them to a large mixing bowl.
-Pour the garlic olive oil mixture over the potatoes and mash using a potato masher or electric mixer. If you don’t have either of these things, you’ll have to get creative.
-Heat the milk over a low flame. When hot, slowly incorporate it into the mashed potatoes.
-Add the cream cheese and mix until well incorporated. I like to use a handheld electric mixer because it makes the potatoes smoother (which I prefer), but again, you can do without. Add salt and pepper to taste.
-Transfer the potatoes to a baking dish and bake them for 15 minutes at 350 degrees just before serving. It gives them a lighter, fluffier texture with a little crust on top. You can skip this step, but you won’t want to.
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