Archive | August, 2015

Beer Can Chicken

12 Aug

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One of the most common comments I hear from customers (or potential customers) who ask about our chicken is that they just don’t know what to do with a whole bird.

I’m here to tell you that if you can cook a boneless skinless chicken breast, you can cook a whole chicken. This is especially true in the hot summer months when you don’t want to heat up the house by cranking up the oven or range.

So here it is, the easiest chicken recipe ever: beer can chicken.

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First up, and the worst way (sarcasm intended) to start a recipe ever, crack open a cold one and drink almost all of it.  Following the standard cooking-with-beer playbook, you’ll want to stick with malty beers.  After consulting your BJCP style guide, you may find that a classic Standard American Lager will fit the bill quite nicely. Rub your chicken, a whole fryer, down with the seasoning of your choice.  You can use any commercially-available poultry seasoning (as is the case in the photo) or simply opt for the classic vegetable oil, salt & pepper combo.  They both make fantastic chicken, just use what you’ve got lying around.

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Now here’s the uncomfortable part, at least for the chicken.  Insert the beer can (with about 1″ of beer left in the bottom) into the cavity of the chicken.  A 12oz can will fit nicely in a smaller chicken, and a 16oz can will work better for a bigger bird, but again, just use what you’ve got lying around.

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Throw the chicken + can on a 350°F grill for about an hour and you should be set.  You can form a bit of a tripod with the can and both chicken legs.  The result is a quite stable cooking arrangement, just make sure that your grill’s lid has enough clearance to fully close.

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After about an hour you should be rewarded with a fully-cooked chicken.  Be sure to verify with a thermometer in the middle of the breast, you’re looking to hit 160°F.

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Now go enjoy your chicken. Be warned, the first time I tried this recipe the chicken never made it do the dinner table. It was savagely torn apart and devoured on the kitchen counter before it could make it all the way to the table.

First Barley Harvest

4 Aug

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It doesn’t seem like it’s been over a week already, but time passes quickly on a farm this time of year.

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This is what the barley was looking like just a few days before harvest.   All kinds of awesome.   Then the guy on the swather showed up.  I’m not sure why, but the preferred method for harvest(here at least) seems to be swathing and then combining.  

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Once the combine arrives, it’s just a flurry of activity for the next several hours.
Load wagon with grain from combine, drive down the road to grain bin, park wagon in front of auger, hook tractor to auger, unload barley into bin, hook tractor back to wagon, drive back to combine, repeat.

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Once all the grain is in the bin, it’s time to do something with all the straw that’s leftover.

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Rake, bale and haul it in to the barn. We ended up with 60 large square bales and 75 small square bales of straw.

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The final numbers for this year’s barley crop were:
Acres planted: 17
Total grain yield: 1600 bu
Bushels/acre: 94 bu
% moisture: 14%
Test weight: 44 #/bu
DON/vomitoxin: 3.8ppm

The bad news is that the DON (or more colorfully named; vomitoxin) is too high for pigs or brewing. Pigs and maltsters both need a DON level of 0.5ppm or lower. The good news is that we’ll have plenty of barley for the poultry. Poultry can take really high levels of DON in their feed, I’ve seen reports of 20-50ppm of DON without any adverse effects.