Since my recent marriage, my family has doubled in size, which means so have the birthdays. And that's all right by me, because I just love throwing birthday parties for my family and close family friends. Because some months have multiple birthdays, I've found that it was easier if I picked one Sunday in each month and celebrated all the birthdays for that month on the same day. Take March, for example. This past March we had five birthdays, which meant five cakes, because one of the rules is "Everybody has his own cake." For this I have to confess I just go to the local grocery store, head straight for the bakery department, and order each guest of honor a personalized birthday cake. Then I bake a homemade pound cake and serve it along with fresh sweetened strawberries, ice cream, and fresh whipped cream. That gives everybody a traditional cake as well as that scrumptious, scrumptious homemade cake. Well, I'm really getting ahead of myself with this story, though, because before anyone can sing, blow out their candles, and eat birthday cake, there are a lot of things that have to happen first!
A few years back, I realized that our childhoods were getting further and further behind us, and that made me sad. So I set out to find a way to step back in time and recapture a small piece of that time when our lives were worry free. I decided one way to do this was through the wonderful, silly games we all played at our childhoodbirthday parties. Well, needless to say, when I announced that this birthday celebration was going to involve games, the moans and groans commenced. All the adult children said, "But we don't want to play games," and my response was, "If you're physically able, you must play the games, or no cake for you." Well, it took all of about three minutes for the hoots and hollers of laughter to begin. To this day, I cannot tell you who had the most fun -- Jamie and Bobby playing pin the tail on the donkey, or Michelle and Anthony running the three-legged race. I also found that the guys love bashing a piñata.
So I'm happy to say, now on Birthday Sundays, when I clap my hands and yell, "Okay, let the games begin," everybody is eager to play. I also found that these games really work up a hearty appetite. So after the games and before the birthday cake we all share a scrumptious meal together. Michael and I always make sure to plan a meal that is easy to prepare for a large crowd. Michael does the outside cooking while I prepare the inside dishes. It's really a toss-up between the most requested meal, but it's almost always a low-country boil or a Beer-in-the-Rear Chicken.
Michael and I would like to share with y'all one of our Birthday Bash menus and hope that your family and friends enjoy it as much as ours do.
Paula H. Deen
1. Wash and drain the chicken and pat dry. Coat the chicken inside and out with seasoned salt and House Seasoning. Refrigerate until ready to cook.
2. Prepare the charcoal grill. When the coals are hot and glowing, carefully push them over to the sides of the grill, leaving an open space in the middle of the grill. Open the can of beer and pour off approximately 1/4 cup. Insert the sprig of rosemary into the can, then place the beer can, keeping it upright, into the rear cavity of the chicken. Carefully place the chicken, standing up on the beer can, in the center of the grill, facing one of the banks of coals, making sure not to spill the beer. Cover the grill and cook the chicken for approximately 1 hour, or until done, rotating the chicken as necessary. The chicken is done when the juice runs clear when pierced with a fork.
3. Carefully remove the beer can from the chicken using mitts and discard the can. Cut the chicken into halves or quarters. I personally don't want any sauce on this chicken, but I always offer barbecue sauces and hot sauces to my guests.