A different take on beer can chicken

Inspired by our friend Rick who several years ago used orange soda instead of beer, I decided to do something very similar yesterday, however I took things a step or two further.

In place of using a dry rub I decided I’d brine the chickens.  For the brine solution I combined about a cup of kosher salt, about half a cup of sugar, about an inch or so of sliced ginger, six green cardamom pods, 1 star anise seed (or pod, or whatever it is they are) and between 3 & 4 quarts of water and bring to a boil.  Before the solution cooled I added a few segments of orange (with the rind still on). 

I then cooled the brine solution and added my chickens, where they sat for six or seven hours in the fridge.

To grill, I set my grill up for indirect heat, removed the chickens from the brine and simply rubbed on salt and pepper with some vegetable oil.  Then I placed the cans of orange soda up each chicken and grilled for an hour and a half or so.

The resulting dinner was pretty delicious.  In addition to the chicken I grilled some fingerling potatoes with shallots and olive oil in foil packs and finished these with truffle butter; grilled asparagus with a salad of baby lettuce with toasted pine nuts, goat cheese and a balsamic/shallot vinaigrette; and for dessert we had vanilla ice cream which our neighbors added some strawberries to.

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