The michelada, one of the most popular drinks in Mexico, is a beer-based cocktail. Its recipe usually includes lime juice and chilies. In our riff on this base, we marinate the chicken in beer and lime juice, then serve it with a sweet beer-chili sauce.
1 qt (32 fl oz/946 ml) water
6 cup (48 fl oz/1.4 l) light lager
Juice of 6 limes
½ cup salt
¼ cup granulated sugar
Two 3–4 lb (1.4–1.8 kg) chickens, whole
In a nonreactive bowl, combine all the ingredients except the chickens and mix well. Add the chickens, turning to coat. Refrigerate and brine for at least 4 hours.
Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C). Remove the chickens from the brine and pat dry. Place the chickens in a roasting pan and roast until the juices run clear from the leg (60–80 minutes). Save the liquid from roasting for the sweet beer sauce.
Hitachino Sweet Sauce
Before all of this begins, a great start for extra flavor will be fermenting chilies for the sweet beer sauce, which can take 3–5 days depending on the climate where you live and your kitchen temperature.
1 lb (454 g) Fresno chilies, cut in half lengthwise and seeded
2 Tbs kosher salt
¼ tsp xanthum gum powder
¼ tsp citric acid
1½ cup (12 fl oz/354 ml) Hitachino Nest White Ale (or other witbier)
1 cup (8 fl oz/237 ml) agave syrup
1 Tbs garlic, chopped
Place the chilies in a nonreactive container, sprinkle with the salt, and toss together. Fill a gallon zipper-lock bag half full with water and place it on top of the chilies to weigh them down. Let sit at room temperature for 3–5 days.
Skim any muck from the top of the chilies, then cook in their liquid for 10 minutes until soft. This strips most of the good fermentation Lactobacillus, but it ensures that the sauce is safe (for the quasi-squeamish).
Puree in a food processor with the xanthum gum powder, citric acid, beer, agave syrup, garlic, and the drippings from the roast chicken. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt if necessary.
To serve, arrange the chickens on a serving platter and pour the sweet beer sauce over. Garnish with arugula, baby mustard greens, or grilled dandelion greens.
Beer suggestions: Brine with a craft lager such as Ska Brewing Mexican Logger (Durango, Colorado). Balance the heat of the dish with an India pale lager such as Jack’s Abby Hoponius Union (Framingham, Massachusetts) or imperial IPL such as Founders Dissenter (Grand Rapids, Michigan).
Find more than 125 great recipes in Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine’s Cooking with Beer _special issue. Subscribe to _Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine® today and get a free copy of Cooking with Beer (while supplies last)!