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Sunday Culinary Notes

In the interest of making the next two years pass as commodiously as possible, and keeping up my responsibilities as the NLT sommelier and grillmaster, herewith tonight’s gourmet menu as Casa Hayward:

A whole chicken, brined for 10 hours in Victoria Taylor’s spicy brining blend (very hard to find), and then barbecued, upside down, on a Weber Performer series charcoal grill for about 50 minutes (brined meats cook faster because of the water content), accompanied by this fine chardonnay from Clos Pegase, a rather pretentious Napa vinery (the winery building and surroundings were designed by Michael Graves, but what the heck, he does a line of pots and pans and small appliances for Target), but what the heck, their wines are good. (Pssst: I also cooked brown rice to go with it, but don’t tell the RNC.)

Clos Pegase still makes chardonnay slightly in the 1980s/1980s big style with malalactic fermentation, even though the recent trend in California chardonnay has been to move back to the more austere French Burgundy style. I know the Burgundy style is more authentic to the grape, but I still like the big brash buttery style of well-done fake California chardonnays from the 1990s. Besides, it annoys the French, and that’s always worth doing.

Up next: A barbecued standing beef rib roast on Tuesday night, when I have friends in from the Left Coast.

Discussions - 12 Comments

I’ll go with you on your brined chicken and Weber BBQ, but, if you’re going to do a standing rib roast, the following from FoodTV is w/o a doubt the ONLY way to go.

Foolproof Standing Rib Roast

1 (5-pound) standing rib roast
1 tablespoon House Seasoning, recipe follows
Allow roast to stand at room temperature for at least 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 375 degree F. Rub roast with House Seasoning; place roast on a rack in the pan with the rib side down and the fatty side up. Roast for 1 hour. Turn off oven. Leave roast in oven but do not open oven door for 3 hours. About 30 to 40 minutes before serving time, turn oven to 375 degrees F and reheat the roast. Important: Do not remove roast or re-open the oven door from time roast is put in until ready to serve. NOTE: Be sure you’ve calibrated your oven with an accurate oven thermometer. Note 2: I put a remote pager meat thermometer in when I re-heated the roast, don’t know how I ever lived without one of these

House Seasoning: In any amounts you wish
4 parts salt
1 part black pepper
1 part garlic powder
Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

I like it. SOLD! I’ll report back on my results.

Mike, To what degree is your roast done inside?

Steve, I have been thinking about it and brining ought not make the chicken cook faster and exactly because of the water content in the muscle fibers. The water content increases the weight of the meat. A chicken without brining ought not take as long as 50 minutes to barbecue on a grill. However, I agree that brining is a great way to improve meats, especially poultry. If left in the brine for long enough, a chicken or turkey will be flavored right through with whatever you choose to season the brine.

It all seems to work out time and temp wise.
Out of oven for 15 minute "rest" at 130-135 degrees. I personally would do at 120-125, but most people dining with me don’t like beef as rare as i do.

Kate: It was a BIG chicken. And about the moisture content and cooking faster; I’m only going by what the brine cooking websites tell me.

Mike: I like my beef roasts rare as well. I usually take it off the grill when my meat thermometer hits 110. There are always the end cuts for the wimps.


I’m a Weber man also - although this grill does not come with the auto-lighter; instead, I opt for this gizmo:

Have you ever attempted "beer-can" chicken? If not, I highly recommend it. Having a couple of whole-roasted chickens under my belt, I’m going to grill the Thanksgiving turkey this year.

Beer can chicken? Why yeeessss indeed! It is one of the great inventions of guy-dom. (Though a shame to have to sacrifice a can of beer that could otherwise be guzzled.) I make it every year at The Men’s Retreat, which you can read about at (Warning: it’s a PG-13 rated site.)

Mike, A beef roast like that has to be fairly rare at our house to be considered successful. 120-125 sounds right to me.

I slice garlic and shove the slices in little slits I make in the meat, generally under the edge of the fatty layer, as my family loves the stuff. Salt, pepper and sometimes flour are patted over the whole, which latter touch is very old-fashioned, I know, and from an ancient Fanny Farmer cookbook. If I do not think there is enough fat, I slather the thing in olive oil, instead, which is my mother-in-law’s trick. I put my roast in a very hot, 500 degree F. oven. After about 10-15 minutes, or so, when it looks pretty brown, I turn that down to 325 for a while. That "while" varies with the weight, amount of bone and even the shape of my roast. (I confess to being a disgustingly instinctive cook.) I, too, will turn the oven off and let the roast sit in there, but not for more than an hour or so. Well, really, until I finish making the rest of the dinner.

I’ll try your way the next time. It sounds good.

Steve, How do you find the skin of your chicken grilled your way? That’s the only part I do not like about brining poultry, though I usually roast mine. Last year we bought an enormous turkey, a 30 lb., 4-H project, from a local farm (we generally have about 40 people at Thanksgiving dinner) and brined that for a couple of days before roasting. It was so bloated and ugly when we put it in the oven, I don’t know that I can face doing that again. It cooked all day and took a LONG time to brown.

I have beer braised pork, but I looked up that chicken recipe and it sounds good, too.

I always take chicken out of the brine about an hour before cooking to let the skin dry off a bit. That and a hot temp BBQ grill usually produces crispy skin. I haven’t tried brining a turkey, but I was thinking about it for next week, though your image of a bloated turkey is giving me pause. Maybe I’ll deep fry it instead, which is hear can be good.

I’m with you on garlic on beef roasts.

Given your post above of the YouTube video on obsessive blogging, the time spent here writing about bloated poultry seems absurd. However, it has been fun and a NLT recipe index on the left of the screen, right under "" or even "2006 election predictions" would be a hoot.

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