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CB’s Vernors Chicken
My brother Christian Betz--part griller, part chemist, 100 percent perfectionist--loves Vernors ginger ale so much that one spring day he tried marinating some chicken legs in it before throwing them on the grill. The alchemy worked: the sugar in the pop caramelized the skin to a chestnut-hued crackle, and the succulent interior meat was imbued with a subtle kick of a Michigan original—E.B.T.
By: Emily Betz Tyra
Photographer: Todd Zawistowski
- 4 whole chicken legs (aka chicken quarters), skin on
- 2 cans of regular Vernors
- 2–3 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil
- 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons salt
- Couple good shakes good-quality paprika
- Cayenne pepper to taste, mixed with salt
Rinse chicken legs and pat dry. In a non-reactive bowl mix remaining ingredients except cayenne pepper. Add chicken legs and marinate 6 hours to no more than overnight.
Place chicken on a medium grill (you can hold your hand 2 inches over the flame for 6 seconds), and cook pelvis side down for about 40 minutes covered. Once chicken is on the grill, sprinkle the skin with a little cayenne-salt mix. Leave it be, but check frequently for flare-ups. Bottom skin will burn, but that’s okay. Flip, cook another 10 minutes or so or until done through, and the sugar in the marinade caramelizes to make the skin a rich brown. (The sugar in the marinade can burn, so watch carefully.)
Wine pairing: Pinot Gris
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