June 11th 1995. The day my family and I first set foot in Canada and made it our forever homeland. Looking back, I remember how nervous, scared and sad I was to leave behind my friends (and family) in Germany, not knowing how long it would take me to learn the english language to communicate with people. I didn’t know what to expect from the canadian culture and was confused why we had to move here.
25 years later and I absolutely love our country. That doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten the country I was born in. I made a (long overdue) promise to my friends that I would come back to visit them in Germany again (I still plan on making good on that promise! Covid, go away please!), to walk the neighbourhood I grew up in and to catch up with people I’ve lost touch with. Canada is a beautiful country that I have yet to fully explore. With its gorgeous landscape, the wonderful people and diverse culture, it’s no wonder I am proud to be a canadian citizen. In celebration of Canada Day for July long weekend, I’ve developed my version of Drunken Maple Bacon Wrapped Chicken and hope you give it a try!
*Good To Know*
- I want to make this alcohol free. What to use instead of beer? If you still want the beer flavour without the alcohol, I would suggest using non-alcoholic beer (such as Molson Exel or other non-alcoholic beer). If you want to skip beer altogether, replace beer with low sodium chicken stock.
- Should I use thick or thin Bacon strips? It depends whether you prefer your bacon soft or crispy. For soft, use thick strips and for crispy, use thin strips. I recommend using full sodium (instead of low sodium) bacon to give the chicken added flavour.
- Why poke the chicken? No I don’t mean making it angry. This method is optional. I wanted to speed up the process of brining the chicken and have the meat absorb as much of the brine as possible. If you prefer not to pierce the meat, you can skip this step.
- Temperature and cook time? If you’re adding stuffing, the cook time is a little longer than unstuffed chicken. For stuffed chicken, roast for approx. 1 hour and 40 minutes. Unstuffed, roast for approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes. Always check with a meat thermometer to make sure internal temperature of poultry reached 165°F (73.9°C).
For the record, this recipe was not endorsed by #Molson Canadian Beer (maybe future endorsement, @molsoncanadian?). This was by choice as a nod to use canadian ingredients to celebrate our canada day long weekend. My initial thought was to roast the poultry on the barbecue. I changed my mind though. Thoughts of all the bacon grease dripping came to mind and I want to avoid having to call the fire department over to my house. (well…almost *wink*). I may try this method one day with indirect heat on the BBQ though…because, you know…. I like to experiment with food.
The meat was so juicy and tasty (especially the chicken breast part, which is typically dry)! I was really happy with how it turned out! I made this recipe with two chickens since long weekends are for get togethers even if it’s just with family these days. Brining the chicken with the beer and seasoning made it deliciously tender once roasted. The bacon grease helped with that juiciness and infused so much flavour into the meat (as well as the potatoes, topped with the maple syrup glaze and you can’t get much more #Canadian than that!
Happy Canada Day!
Drunken Maple Bacon Wrapped Chicken
- 3 cups (710 ml) Molson Canadian Lager Beer (2 bottles), 5% alcohol
- 2 tablespoon sea or kosher salt
- ½ tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon ground paprika
- ½ cup (118 ml) Maple syrup, Canada Grade A (very dark, strong taste)
- ⅓ cup (79 ml) apple cider vinegar, (raw organic)
- 8 cups (2 L) cold water
- 2 large whole chickens, 3.5 lbs (1.58 kg) each
- 2 small cooking onions, peeled (leave whole)
- 20 strips (750 g) Bacon, 2 packs
- ½ cup (118 ml) Maple syrup, Canada Grade A (very dark, strong taste)
- 1½ pounds (680 g) yellow baby potatoes, halfed
- 1 teaspoon ground rosemary, or 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon sea or kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon vegetable oil
- 5 large (360 g) carrots, peeled and cut into 2.5 inch chunks
- ½ cup (118 ml) Molson Canadian Lager Beer
- In a large mixing bowl slowly pour the beer in. Add salt (will cause beer to foam) and wait for 2 minutes until foam stops rising (will diminish once stirred). Add garlic powder, paprika powder, maple syrup and apple cider vinegar. Stir with a whisk until combined. Set aside.
- Rinse chicken with cold water and pat dry with paper towel. Use a metal skewer to poke the chicken breast multiple times. Place chicken into a large bowl (large enough to fit both) and slowly pour in the mixed brine. Add 8 cups of cold water or enough to cover the surface of the chicken. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
- In a large roasting pan with lid, place carrots into the center of the pan (chicken will be resting on top of carrots).
- In a large mixing bowl add potatoes, rosemary, salt, oil. Mix to combine. Add potatoes in a single layer into roasting pan (around the carrots).
- Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
- Remove chicken from brine and pat dry with paper towels on a cutting board or flat surface. Wrap onion with 1 bacon strip and stuff into the cavity of the chicken.
- On a separate cutting board or flat surface, weave the bacon (1 package of bacon at a time). Start by laying 5 strips of bacon horizontally next to each other. – Lift up & fold back (about 1 inch) every other (odd number) bacon end on the right side. – Place a bacon strip vertically directly on top of the bacon you did not fold back. – Straighten back out the folded bacon to cover the vertical strip you just placed. *tip: demo on how to weave bacon in my video below*
- Next, lift and fold back the (even number) long ends starting from the left hand side (lifting the bacon ends you did not fold back in the previous step). – Place another vertical strip of bacon directly on top of the bacon you did not fold back in this step– Place it next to the first vertical strip and straighten the folded bacon back out. Repeat step #3 & #4 until you've used up all of the bacon.
- Brush the entire chicken with maple syrup. Place the chicken with breast side down on top of the bacon weave. Wrap loose ends of the bacon around the chicken so the bacon ends are sitting on top of the chicken and secure with toothpicks or quickly roll the chicken over so the bacon weave is on top of the chicken with breast side up. Place chicken on top of the carrots in roasting pan and tuck loose ends of bacon underneath the chicken.
- Repeat steps #2 to #5 for second chicken.
- Brush maple syrup over the bacon that is wrapped around chicken. Sprinkle with salt and ground black pepper. Pour 1/2 cup of beer into roasting pan, around the chicken (over the potatoes). Cover roasting pan with lid (or cover tightly with aluminum foil). Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Remove lid and continue to roast for 10 minutes. Check internal meat temperature and remove from oven once it reaches 165°F (73.9°C). Let chicken rest in the pan for 15 minutes before carving. (will allow juices to be absorbed back into the meat).