12-inch (30 cm) cedar plank, soaked in cold water for at least 1 hour
Spray bottle of water
8 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 + 1 bottles Alexander Keith’s Red Amber Ale (12 oz/341 mL each)
1 cup (250 mL) ground chicken
½ lb (250 g) cooked lobster meat, coarsely chopped
3 tbsp (45 mL) panko (Japanese-style) bread crumbs
1 tbsp (15 mL) mayonnaise
1 green onion, chopped
1 tbsp (15 mL) chopped fresh dill
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
8 asparagus spears, blanched
2 tbsp (30 mL) Bone Dust™ BBQ Seasoning
8 thick slices bacon
Drain thighs, discarding leftover marinade, and pat dry with paper towels. Set aside
In a large bowl, combine ground chicken, lobster meat, panko bread crumbs, mayonnaise, green onion and dill. Drizzle with extra beer. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix gently to combine.
Lay thighs on flat work surface. Evenly spread 1 Tbsp (15 mL) ground chicken mixture over entire surface of each thigh, then top with asparagus spear along narrow end. Tightly roll up each thigh around asparagus.
Season rolled thighs with Bone Dust™ BBQ Seasoning, coating evenly. Wrap 1 slice of the bacon tightly around each rolled thigh.
Preheat grill to medium (350–450ºF/180–230ºC).
Arrange bacon-wrapped thighs, spaced apart, on plank.
Place plank on grill. Close lid and plank-bake, drizzling occasionally with beer and checking to ensure plank has not caught fire, for 40 to 45 minutes or until bacon is crisp and chicken is fully cooked (internal temperature of 160ºF/70ºC). (Note: If plank catches fire, extinguish with bottle of water.)
Remove from grill. Serve immediately.
Tasting Notes: Alexander Keith’s Red Amber Ale is exactly that. The colours range from burnt orange to dark amber to mahogany. The foam is slightly off-white. The nose is caramel and toffee, with touches of butterscotch and some definite smoky, roasted-grain notes. The body is sweet — caramel and darker breads (almost like pumpernickel). The finish is quite mild. There is some bitterness, but it leaves your mouth fairly quickly.
The Professor’s Pairing Notes: There’s lot to talk about in this one. The beer is so too powerful that it drowns out the chicken, but the dark bread of the body is a good match with the panko bread crumbs. The sweet, rich lobster is complemented nicely with the caramel body of the beer. Last, but not least, the savoury bacon flavours work well with the slight bitterness at the end.