Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Beer Can Chicken, Part 1,753

The beer can chicken saga continues. To summarize events so far, we originally published an article that debunked the myth of beer can chicken. We hypothesized that the method could do nothing because a) not enough of the chicken is exposed to any output from the can of beer, b) the beer probably doesn't boil, so there would be little output to begin with, and c) the serous lining of the chicken's inner cavity wouldn't allow any output from the can to penetrate the bird.

We then proceeded to do some testing. We found that indeed the beer didn't even approach boiling temperatures, and in a side-by-side blind taste test, we found that the beer can chicken bird had no flavor of anything that had been placed in the beer. This included the porter beer, 5 crushed cloves of garlic, and 2 tablespoons of a very spicy rub.

Well, you know there are two kinds of people in this world: those that take our word as gospel, and those that don't. (That was a joke, by the way.) One that didn't take our word as gospel did some testing of his own and he claimed that he could make the beer boil and that he could taste the flavor of the beer in the chicken he cooked. Although we found his methods suspect, we decided to do some more testing.

Thus it was that in Beer Can Chicken, Part 93 we reported results of trying to make beer boil in a can of beer with no chicken attached to it. In theory, the naked can of beer should get hotter since you don't have a chicken carcass absorbing some of the heat. Indeed, we found the can of beer would get hotter (206° F) but still not hot enough to boil. At that point, we revised the article, but we still had this nagging suspicion that there was more to be learned.

We decided to try to replicate the methods used by our comrade-in-beer-can-chicken-testing. We ordered a ceramic turkey sitter, two ceramic chicken sitters, a cheap metal tray with a frame to hold a can of beer, and a somewhat pricey Weber beer can chicken appliance made from relatively heavy aluminum. We then proceeded to see if beer would boil in any of these setups with no chicken attached. Any device that achieved boiling beer would then proceed to the second round of the playoffs where we would add the chicken to see if the beer would boil when a chicken was in place.

So, here we are. We won't be reporting specific results until all the work is complete, but we can report that we have achieved boiling beer. So, the next step is to add the chicken to the equation.

The other part of this new work is that we will be attempting to replicate (with methodoloy corrections) the results reported which spurred this whole new wave. We were questioned as to what type of beer we used when we were unable to detect any difference between the beer bird and a plain bird. We remembered that we used a high-quality dark porter, not Budweiser, but we couldn't remember the brand. So, we will be repeating the experiment with a) a beer of known provenance that closely resembles the beer used in our comrades testing, and b) a device that comes closest to achieving boiling beer with a chicken attached.

So, there is a lot of new exciting work going on. It's going to take some time to get the chicken cooking done since you can only eat so much chicken, but we are determined to see this through to the end. And of course as always, you'll see the results, good or bad, on our website.

Oh, and one final thing. We are still working on our topest mostest secretest project of all time. It is mostly done, but now we have to work on the mechanism for releasing it to the world. This could be good....

- TNW

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