Chris: I shouldn’t be shocked, but more than two months into this project, Guy still finds ways to surprise me. It’s like a marriage—you gotta mix things up or it’s going to get stale. It’s the little things he does: the way he hides typos in a recipe, the subtle way he can sneak bacon into any dish, and despite all of our time together, he still finds new ways to make me laugh. No, laugh isn’t right, what’s the word I’m thinking of? Oh--cry. This time, he made me rethink everything I thought I knew about cooking.
First, we started with bacon-wrapped shrimp with chipotle BBQ sauce. This is one of my favorite recipes I’ve ever made. Not because it was good (it was fine) but because it was super easy: 1) we already made the chipotle BBQ sauce for the hot links Cajun pasta thing. Because we are cool geniuses with tons of forethought WE FROZE SOME OF IT. And then we were able to use to it for this recipe. 2) We needed shrimp for our orange soda/ketchup shrimp cocktail/lobotomy and for this dish so WE BOUGHT EXTRA AND LEFT IT IN THE FREEZER FOR A COUPLE WEEKS. 3) Finally, because every dish needs bacon anyway, WE ALREADY HAD SOME BACON ON HAND. I mean, it wasn’t enough (between the 3 recipes we made, we needed a pound and a half of bacon), but it was a start. In conclusion, this was exactly like that show that used to be on, Semi Home Made with Sandra Lee, and I shoddily wrapped bacon around shrimp and doused them with BBQ sauce in a grill pan and ate it. It was easy, and for the first time ever, I think, our preparedness actually paid off. Chris’s Rating: 3.5 out of 5 nuggets of forethought
Allie: Man, any recipe that involves wrapping shrimp in bacon and smothering it in a super-spicy sauce might as well be called "Sorry, Jews, You Should Find Another Appetizer; I Think There's A Cheese Plate Around Here Somewhere", but little does Guy Fieri know, one time I ate a bacon egg and cheese sandwich on Yom Kippur, so I am basically the least kosher Jew on the face of the planet. Then again, Guy Fieri's version of matzo ball soup probably involves mounds of crushed-up Bugles floating in a puddle of Tang, so who cares. My expectations for this were astonishingly low, which paid off, because I really enjoyed it. This is the first meal we've made where the bacon has actually complemented the rest of the food, as its fattiness worked well against both the texture of the shrimp and the spiciness of the sauce. I definitely felt like Sandra Lee, because we used pre-cooked shrimp in this recipe, and one time Sandra Lee made a tapenade recipe in which the main ingredient was store-bought tapenade (not a joke). I guess the moral of the story is to have standards so low that you're pleasantly surprised whenever something you put in your mouth doesn't taste like you're licking a stop sign. Allie's rating: 4 out of 5 tang puddles
Chris: Next, we made Guid-Moc-Shoe. Look, I know I sound like a broken record here, but I was really excited to make this! For weeks, Allie would ask what I wanted to cook, and I would sing this amazing song I wrote where all the words are “Guid Moc Shoe.” It’s to the tune of Witch Doctor by Alvin and the Chipmunks and it’s super catchy. Both my wife and Allie pretended to hate it, but I would hear them humming it sometimes. Anyway, this was full of tons of fresh, summer vegetables and I expected it to taste kind of like cowboy caviar, if you’ve ever had that. Just a bunch of chopped up onion, corn, bell peppers, jalepeno and a little bacon. But when we made it, it came out super heavy and kind of had the consistency of wallpaper paste. It was a stunning disappointment in a blog full of them, but it hardly prepared me for the Beer Can Chicken. Chris’s Rating: 2 out of 5 ruined amazing parody songs
Allie: One of my favorite foods is corn, because I'm part turtle! Growing up, my mom wouldn't let us eat corn unless it was during the four-day span in August she decided was "corn season", so it carried a lot of mystique in our house (at least for me, but I'll save that for my upcoming Billy Crystal-esque one-woman show, "700 Corndays"). When I went to college, I realized that you could buy frozen corn ANY TIME OF THE YEAR so while everyone else was drinking rum out of water bottles I was microwaving bowls of frozen corn in a bowl I later found out was NOT microwave-safe. It was totally nuts, you guys. I was also very popular and had a lot of friends!!! Now I have a stupid Guy Fieri blog where I buy corn and ruin it.
For this dish, we had to grill the corn and the peppers and then cut them up and cook them in bacon grease with a bunch of other stuff. Chopping all of the ingredients took approximately four thousand centuries. Apparently this dish is Guy's version of "corn maque choux", a dish I had never heard of and now have googled one hundred times in my quest for answers. Most of the other recipes I found just involved sauteing veggies and adding some cream, but Guy's version calls for three tablespoons of flour, which created a texture that was as grainy as a sepia-tinged photograph of a man with a mustache. I knew it was going to be bad when I said "I don't see how this dish could be bad!" There was absolutely no reason to grill the corn and peppers beforehand. We're 12 meals in and I'm running out of ways to say "I thought this meal was extremely disappointing", so instead, I'll say, what are the Indigo Girls up to? Has anyone heard from them recently? Allie's rating: 2 out of 5 wishes that this meal was closer to fine
Chris: OK, so we made beer can chicken. This is one of the most “Guy” dishes I think we’ve made yet. Like when you think of Guy Fieri you probably picture him there, sunburned skin and frosted tips, jamming a can of beer up a chicken’s butt. And even though that seems kind of crazy, beer can chicken is a thing I’ve heard of and have always been sort of curious to try. I mean, the New York Times has written about it. I even wrote an amazing song to the tune of the Folgers jingle that went “the best part of waking up, is putting beer in a chicken’s butt.” But this chicken just broke me. It basically gaslighted me. It made me not know what to believe anymore.
Allie: I was also kind of excited for this, because I've never cooked beer can chicken before, and I was excited to find a recipe that combined my two favorite activities, which are drinking and worrying about things catching on fire. So we bought a little tiny chicken for $4 at Jewel and brought it home and got to work ruining it. First, we made a paste of every spice in the world and spread half of it under the chicken's skin and the other half on the inside of the chicken. I thought that was a weird place to season the chicken, but what the hell do I know, I don't have a PhD in spicy chickens. Then, Guy said to pour out half the beer and stick the can containing the remaining beer inside the chicken. Chris somehow became convinced that meant he had to pour half of the beer in the pan containing the chicken, but I wasn't really able to debate that point with him because I was busy chopping seven hundred onions to make guid-moc-shoe and also I didn't care. Finally, we had to drape bacon all around the chicken, for no apparent reason other than that Guy is incapable of not doing that. When we were done, we had a little chicken perched on a beer can with tendrils of bacon streaming out of its neck cavity, like a horrific redneck bouquet or something the eye-hands monster from Pan's Labyrinth would bring to a BBQ. Then we cooked the chicken and the real fun began!
Chris: When the chicken came out, the bacon was burned to a crisp. I took a piece off and ate it and it tasted disgusting and so I told Allie, “don’t eat that.” But she didn’t listen to me and ate it anyway and said, “that was disgusting.” But most importantly, I still, days later, do not know whether this chicken was done or not. I know that’s not really a subjective thing. Like I can hear you saying chicken is either cooked or it’s not, this shouldn’t be a question. But all my senses and experience in-fought with each other, leaving me stumped. I made a chart.
After weighing the evidence, I have no idea whether this chicken was cooked. In the end, we both had a few bites, but we didn’t want to risk food poisoning for this dumb blog, and so we mostly stayed away. It’s entirely possible that we just screwed up, and this chicken is delicious if prepared properly, but I really do think we attempted to follow this recipe very closely. We used an oven thermometer and an instant read to double check safe temperatures. I really can’t imagine what we made is what Guy envisioned for this recipe. Maybe this one was on us, but you know what, if it’s okay with everyone I’m just gonna blame Guy. Chris’s rating: 0 out of 5 chicken brain teasers.
Allie: When this chicken came out of the oven, I decided to google other beer can chicken recipes and I noticed a bunch of things. First of all, many angry internet people were claiming that putting beer cans inside chicken may not be good for you because of chemicals (?). I have literally no idea whether this is true or not, but the fact that neither Chris nor I paused for even a single second to wonder whether it was a good idea to give a chicken a metal endoskeleton tells me that we don't have very good survival instincts. Also, many of the pictures of beer can chicken on the internet looked golden brown and crispy. Guy's recipe called for the chicken to be draped in bacon and cooked at a pretty low heat, which meant that the resulting chicken wasn't brown and crispy. It was just pale and wet. It was the wettest chicken I have ever eaten.
Like Chris said, it was impossible to tell whether this chicken was soggy or raw, but I don't know, because I don't have a PhD in wet chickens. It was also super bland; it's kind of amazing how many spices we can add to these dishes and still have them taste like we're just chewing on the liner notes of a Sublime CD. The best part of this meal was when I didn't eat any of it, and then my roommate and I ordered Domino's when I got home, and it was the best Domino's I've ever eaten. IT HAD SO MUCH FLAVOR!! Allie's rating: 0.5 out of 5 little soggy chickens (the 0.5 is because I got to order pizza)
Total dishes made: 32/153
Worst sentence in one of these recipes: "This recipe began with a good ol' American Budweiser--one for the bird, one for me. So the name stuck!"
What happens when you google "wet chicken": You end up on a message board for owners of chickens who are unsure if it's OK to leave chickens outside when it rains. Spoiler alert: OF COURSE IT IS
Chris: Beer can chicken is fake news
Allie: We named the chicken Reginald; he died for nothing