The Unexpected Ingredient In Rachael Ray's Beer Can Chicken

Being an outlaw is an American tradition. While we may publicly renounce villains and root for the heroes in any tale, there's typically a part of us that is fascinated by the foes, the monsters, the rebels, and the psychopaths. Wired discusses that there are many reasons this could be the case. It might be that we see our own deficiencies in villains. We can relate to feeling unbalanced and isolated. Thus, as Invisible Illness proposes, perhaps we recognize more of our own perceived failings in the fiends than we do in the constantly upright, noble, and virtuous heroes.

Whatever it is that draws us to the miscreants, it's almost never their cooking skills. The words, "I wonder what sort of marinade The Joker uses," have almost surely never been uttered, in part because it's likely a mischevious concoction whipped up in a vat. It might be tasty, but the side effects could be unpredictable.

However, there are some who have bucked cultural norms, fought against the laws of food, and used their kitchen skills to become desperadoes. They are hunted by the culinary police for crimes against flavor. It seems Rachael Ray is one such dissident, as she has proven she's willing to ignore the rules. This could make her a genius, or it may very well be just another lie Rachael Ray made us believe about cooking. The culinary trickster's latest twist is in her beer can chicken recipe.

Rachael Ray's beer can chicken sans beer

A traditional beer can chicken recipe calls for chicken, spices, and, as the name implies, beer. Usually, the chicken is prepared by rubbing it in whatever seasonings you enjoy and then gradually smoking it over a can of beer, per The Los Angeles Times. Most commonly, the beer used is a lighter type with minimal bitterness, so as not to infect the chicken with a biting hops taste that could sour the meal. The goal of the beer is to provide additional flavor and moisture to the meat so that it's even more juicy and tasty than when simply smoked alone.

Rachael Ray is having none of that nonsense. "Hold the beer? Yes, that's what I said," Rachael Ray says on her show's website. "Just fill an empty beer can — actually, fill half a can per chicken — with white wine or buy a 'beer can chicken grill/roaster pan.'" She explains that means about "six ounces per chicken."

In Ray's recipe, her beer can chicken has become a white wine chicken, removing beer from the equation entirely. Though adherents to the old ways may scoff at this insanity, it should provide a very different flavor profile from chicken made with beer, and could alter the juiciness. Either way, it certainly seems worth the experiment.