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Barbecue-stuffed chicken and these red wines go together

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John Brown is president of Brown Communications in Charleston. He writes a monthly wine column for The State Journal.

Summer is on the way out and, while I don't need a warm weather excuse to roast animal parts on the grill, I am fired up to fire-up the old Weber Performer in clement (as opposed to inclement) weather.

Shucks, I'm like a dedicated athlete. You know the type. Nothing gets in the way of our mission to be the best regardless of whether (or weather) the contest is imminent.

While you were warming your tootsies by the fireplace last winter, I was out back trying to start a charcoal fire in a blizzard. Hey, frostbite is a small price to pay for the culinary treats I created.

Today, I'm going to regale you with a tasty barbecue recipe that requires the use of the grill and suggest two really nice wines that match this food just about perfectly.

When I was a tyke several decades ago, my grandfather would lead a few cousins and myself to his chicken coop, where he would select a fat hen or two for the guillotine. Then he would revel in our pasty-faced reactions as the little critters pranced around headless for a few seconds.

After dispatching the birds to chicken heaven, he would present them to my grandmother and assorted aunts for de-feathering and cooking. The usual method was frying or roasting in the oven. I'm sure if grandpa had a charcoal grill he would have approved of my iteration of grandma's roasted stuffed chicken.

I call this B.S. Chicken. No, I'm not disparaging my own recipe since the B.S. simply refers to Barbecue -Stuffed Chicken. Here's how it goes.

You will need:

1 three to four pound chicken (fryer)

4 tablespoons of garlic chopped finely

1 tablespoon of smoked paprika

1 teaspoon of ground cayenne pepper (optional)

1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon of kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon of oregano

1 teaspoon of ground mustard

3 ounces of olive oil

1 teaspoon of ground fennel

1 red pepper chopped

1 cup of wild rice (healthy-minded folks can sub brown rice or quinoa)

1 Italian sausage link or patty

4 ounces of mozzarella cheese shredded

Then:

Make a wet rub by mixing 3 tablespoons of garlic, the black pepper, salt, oregano, mustard, paprika, cayenne and one ounce of the oil. Discard the unmentionable parts inside the chicken cavity.

Rub the chicken all over — inside and out — with the wet rub placing some under the breast and leg quarter skin. Sauté the onions with the red pepper, garlic and add the Italian sausage and cheese. Cook the wild rice until fluffy and add salt and pepper to taste. Mix the onions, peppers, sausage, cheese and rice together. Allow the mixture to come to room temperature. Stuff the chicken with the mixture.

Make a charcoal fire and spread coals to either side of the grill for indirect cooking. Or, heat one side of a gas grill so the chicken can be cooked indirectly. Place the chicken on the grill but not over the coals. Cover the grill and cook one and a half hours (or to 175 degrees F.). Allow the chicken to rest for 25 minutes and serve.

Purists might insist on a full-bodied white to accompany this dish, but I recommend a medium to full red — no B.S. Here are a couple that should make this chicken cluck:

 

  • 2010 L for Lyeth Merlot ($16) – Merlot has been catching a bad rap lately from the snobs, but this little lovely from Sonoma has just the right combination of ripe black fruit and balancing acidity to marry nicely with the chicken.
  • 2012 Mulderbosch Rose ($15) — This cabernet sauvignon rose from South Africa is about as full-bodied as you'll find with the crispness and liveliness you expect from a rose. The wine is full of bright ripe cherry and strawberry nuances and delivers enough backbone to stand up to the full flavors of the B.S. Chicken.