Except for those times when the Angels play the Dodgers and Vin calls the games. Then all is right with the world.
Yesterday, as if Opening Day wasn't enough, we were blessed with the first really hot day of the year. (At one point when I got in the car after it had been sitting in the sun for a couple hours, the temperature gauge read 102 degrees, although after just a few minutes it dropped down to 92.)
Some friends came over in the evening and I made one of the cheapest, tastiest, most relaxing dinners I know of: beer can chicken.
Over the years I have spent countless hours experimenting and developing a super-secret proprietary rub that I use on the bird. Nah, I'm just kidding. I use whatever is in the pantry. This was a poultry rub that, to be honest, I completely forgot we had. I added some paprika to it as well, just to give it a darker color.
I placed the chicken on the grill (with the coals pushed against the sides for indirect cooking) and covered it with the lid. This is perhaps the best part of the meal: the two hours that you sit around, talking with friends, drinking cold beer, and smelling the bird roasting.
Tim brought over two kinds of beer: New Belgium 1554 Black Ale and Spaten Premium. The former is a delicious English-style black ale, but on this hot day I drank the refreshing German lager.
I took the bird off after just short of two hours on the grill and let it rest for more than ten minutes. I heard a couple of primal gasps from my friends when they saw me set the bird down. Everyone likes food off the grill.
When the chicken was ready I removed the stand and can - it's still hot after ten minutes; not burning-hot, but you probably want to use a glove to remove it - and carved it. Or rather, attempted to carve it. When you cook a bird this way, the beer steams the insides and keeps it ridiculously juicy and tender. It will almost fall apart with a fork.
I wanted something simple and cool as a side dish, so I made a jicama slaw: jicama, red pepper, cilantro, lime juice, rice wine vinegar, and just a touch of olive oil. It was delicious, a nice complement to the chicken, and everyone had more than one helping.
I don't know and, to be honest, I don't care. Meals like this are about doing what you want, enjoying life, and appreciating that spring is here.