FANFOOD FB’13 – Outfield

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I wrote about the infield, talked about pitching, so let’s wrap up the position players with the biggest group of them all, outfielders. You cannot afford to wait like you can with other roster spots, because you will probably be going to draft at least 4/5 of them. In a 12-team league that is at least 60. The team with the best group will be atop the standings all year. This article will help you put the outfielders that can be considered starters into perspective, followed by a recipe for Iced tea chicken with sweet tea BBQ sauce.

 

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FANFOOD FB’13 Outfield

 

I enjoy playing in leagues with actual positions like LF,CF,RF. I feel this makes the game more challenging, because really anyone can draft and plug in an OF. It’s like drafting a fantasy football team and choosing a player to play offense. Because of this I will help you determine who plays where in the grass. When it is your turn to pick in your draft, you have to be ready to pounce on this roster position and you need to make it your goal to get the best players for each of them. You can fill specific needs later in the draft like speed.

 

 

If you are lucky enough to have a top-3 pick to begin your draft you have to pick either Ryan Braun or Mike Trout. They are in a different stratosphere from everyone else… Ryan Braun one of the best left fielders in the game. He has proven it by hitting the most homeruns out of the LF position over the last two seasons with 74. Even after the turmoil that was his last offseason he hit 40 plus homeruns for the first time in his career and had 60 plus walks. If you are a chicken little type of person, you will worry about the report that Ryan Braun’s name is listed in a Biogenesis clinic document that suggests a closer link to clinic founder Anthony Bosch than Braun has acknowledged. There is a picture floating around which indicates that Braun owed Bosch $1,500 for a service or product of some kind. I don’t see it going anywhere and you should feel confident selecting him early for your team… Mike Trout reported to Angels’ camp at 240 pounds. Trout, who was listed at 210 pounds last season, gained 10-15 pounds over the winter. In the words of Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times, while the 21-year-old outfielder looked like an NFL running back last season, he now resembles a fullback. You shouldn’t hesitate grabbing him as one of the first players off the board. He has CF eligibility which makes him the clear cut favorite for that roster position.

 

You if are one of the 75% picking elsewhere, don’t worry there are other great options. Players like Matt Kemp, Andrew McCutchen, Jose Bautista, Giancarlo Stanton, Josh Hamilton, Carlos Gonzalez, Justin Upton, Matt Holliday will all be coming off the board next.

 

Matt Kemp and Andrew McCutchen are also first-rounders but they are not the givens that the other two are…Matt Kemp is coming back from offseason shoulder surgery so power could be lacking early on. The Dodgers are easing the outfielder back into things after he underwent surgery on his left shoulder in October, though he’s fully expected to be ready to go for Opening Day. Andrew McCutchen won’t hit nearly as well as last year when he had a very lucky BABIP. But what separates him is his ability to steal bases. he’s swiped at least 20 in each of his four major league seasons.

When you get into the second round of your draft, you will find these guys…Jose Bautista is great, but only in three categories…Giancarlo Stanton has the best potential but who is hitting around him?…Josh Hamilton has to live up to that big contract and needs to keep his nose clean…Carlos Gonzalez always seems to get hurt…Justin Upton is playing with his brother and could really light it up this year…Matt Holliday had a nice bounce back year and showed why he has become one of the best outfielders in the game. But do you want to use a second round pick on a player like Holliday or Hamilton? This all depends on what you did with your 1st rounder.

 

After you get past the first couple of rounds you will have to start looking to fill out your outfield. (You may have already taken two of the above players with your first 3 picks. In that case ignore this section and get a pitcher already!). Now players such as Adam Jones, Jason Heyward, Jacoby Ellsbury, Ben Zobrist, Allen Craig, Jay Bruce, Bryce Harper, Yoenis Cespedes, Shin-Soo Choo, and Alex Gordon will be staring you in the face and they are pretty much interchangeable.

 

Where you pick one of these players depends on your league settings and how you have drafted so far… Adam Jones was an all-around fine fantasy performer in 2012, delivering career highs in homers (32), runs (103), batting average (.287), slugging (.505), steals (16) and he even threw in 82 RBIs to boot. A lot of nice numbers, indeed, but there was one career-best that Jones couldn’t top. His .334 OBP in 2012 fell short of the .335 OBP he posted in 2009. I don’t care that he fell short of the mark; I care that in five seasons as a Major League regular, Jones hasn’t been able to do better than a .335 OBP. Walks have always been an issue for Jones and his career 0.25 BB/K rate may be the only thing holding him back from being a truly elite outfielder…. You may want to hesitate before drafting a hitter who doesn’t have a solid OBP. Jason Heyward, to be fair, also had a .335 OBP in 2012 and only a .319 OBP during his 2011 season, a year marred by nagging injuries and perhaps just an old-fashioned sophomore slump. What did catch my eye, however, was Heyward’s .393 OBP over 623 PA in his 2010 rookie season, which was part of an .849 OPS that happened to top any of Jones’ seasons. Heyward only did it once, but a .393 OBP at any age is very impressive, and doing it in your age-20 season was off the charts… After his impressive 2011 campaign (.321/.376/.552) which garnered AL MVP consideration, Jacoby Ellsbury crashed back down to earth in 2012 (.271/.313/.370). This is thought to be attributed, at least in part, to injury. The 29-year-old has a career batting line of .297/.349/.442 and looking for a new contract… Ben Zobrist is eligible at RF,2B, and SS giving him a boost in value and has had a .822+ OPS in 3 of past 4 seasons…. Speaking of multiple eligibility, you can play Allen Craig at LF,RF and 1B. If he could just stay healthy enough to get over 500 AB’s for the first time in his career, he could put up top 10 fantasy numbers judging from the numbers he put up over his past 162 games: .308, 30 HR, 115 RBI, 98 R… Bryce Harper, eligible at all three outfield positions, closed out his rookie year with 12 HR in final 44 games and posted 22 homers, 59 RBI’s, 98 runs and 18 steals last season in only 139 games. All of his rate stats last year were comparable to – and in a few cases better than – what he produced in his brief minor league career, which suggests to me that he has been able to maintain his skills as he’s moved up the ladder to the big leagues. Harper’s 2012 stats appear to me to be a baseline for 2013, not a ceiling… Jay Bruce has consistently improved each season he has been in the big leagues and is showing he has the potential to reach 40 home runs and maybe his 75% stolen base rate will give Dusty the confidence to allow the 26 yr old Bruce more stolen base opportunities in 2013… Yoenis Cespedes hit 23 home runs and stole 16 bases in just 129 games project that over a full season and it is easy to project Cespedes as a 30 HR, 20+ steal player and if eligible at LF & CF…The forgotten right fielder Shin-Soo Choo is on a better team and playing in a more hitter friendly park which should help Choo produce closer to, or above, his 2009, 2010 output…Alex Gordon was able to focus on play and not being shuffled around the field, and although his stats dropped in 2012 compared to 2011, not everything did. He had more walks and he hit more doubles and is one to target out of this group.

 

By this time you should have a nice couple of players in your outfield and depending on how your plan is going you may need to get a third starter for your last spot. Players like B.J. Upton, Alex Rios, Michael Bourn, Desmond Jennings, Martin Prado, Austin Jackson, Melky Cabrera, Shane Victorino, and Curtis Granderson may be the ones you are targeting in the middle rounds.

 

B.J. Upton’s move to Atlanta and his down year may cause some FB managers to sleep on him, and they may be right, but his output in categories other that BA, should be the reason you can’t. I like the low-risk/high reward he brings to the table… Alex Rios was considered to have one of the best bounce-back seasons of 2012, and Rios’ “bounce” actually took him to some of his highest levels yet in terms of 5×5 productivity. Rios posted career highs in batting average (.304), homers (25) and RBI (91), and scored the second-most runs (93) of his career while also adding a healthy 23 steals. He has been hitting 3rd in the lineup this spring meaning he could score even more runs… the speedy outfielder Michael Bourn, last year was a regular in the top 50 mixed choices. While he is not a reliable asset in batting average, he is one in OBP (which bodes well for his opportunities to run and score). and, of course, there are the stolen bases. He’ll settle into the leadoff spot for the Indians and almost assuredly have an always-on green light from his new manager… Desmond Jennings was a bit of a disappointment last season and was hampered by a knee injury that cost him nearly a month. He is the every day lead-off hitter for the Rays, which would normally lead to a 600 or so at-bat projection for a healthy player. But, as we know, he hasn’t exactly been the model of health and had issues staying healthy in the minors as well. Other than the missed playing time, the knee injury did not seem to affect his willingness to run or success rate on the base paths. The additional projected at-bats should lead to a higher steal total, but he has also attempted a steal more frequently in the minors. So that’s another reason to bet on an increase. However, he was amazingly caught stealing just twice last season. That kind of success is unlikely to be repeated. So he will have to run a little more frequently like I think he will in order to make up for the jump in caught stealing…speaking of running, Tigers manager Jim Leyland said that he would like Austin Jackson to run more. “I would,” said Leyland. “That’s basically what we are saying. The better way to put it is that I would like him to steal more important bases. I’ve always said that to steal a base when everybody knows you’re going to try, that’s when you are a base stealer.” Jackson had 27 stolen bases in his rookie season in 2010, but it dropped to 22 swipes in 2011 and he was just 12-for-21 in stolen base chances last year. The Tigers are bringing Jeff Cox to spring training as a baserunning consultant to try to reverse the trend and get Jackson more aggressive on the basepaths… Melky Cabrera is a little past his prime at age 28 and joins a stacked Toronto Blue Jays lineup, now complete with Jose Reyes on top of, in some order, Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Bautista, Brett Lawrie, Emilio Bonifacio, Colby Rasmus, Adam Lind and J.P. Arencibia. With Cabrera sitting at second or in the middle of this order – either way, it’s a productive spot. The personnel and hitting coach Dwayne Murphy’s has skills for reviving lumber wielders, and Rogers Centre, in a division familiar to Cabrera, is quite the homer haven. Cabrera’s 11-homer showing in his abridged 2012 presents a fine baseline for a complete 2013. His AB/HR rate dropped from 36.6 in 2011 to 41.7 last year. He’s not going to be a 20-homer guy, but definitely benefits from his powerful lineup… After ditching Carl Crawford’s behemoth deal, the Red Sox acquired speed from an even more advanced age. Thirty-three-year-old Shane Victorino will need continued volume to maximize his value in the SB column (39 last year), and at least he was stellar at picking his spots with an 86.7 success rate. He’s made his living off his above-average batting eye and, more emphatically, crushing lefties in the last few years. Some warning signs: He swung at more outside-the-zone stuff last year, and the gulf in his splits widened: .229/.296/.333 versus the more common handedness and .323/.388/.518 against the more unique arm angle. Expect a homer total somewhere between his 2011 (17) and 2012 (11). Since he’s a switch-hitter, Fenway has less of a direct impact on his pop. He remains a nice middle-rounds mixed get for the runs potential depending on where he hits in the lineup… Curtis Granderson will miss the first month after getting his forearm broken during his first at-bat of Spring Training. The good news is he suffered the injury very early in camp, so the ten-week recovery puts him on track to return in early-May rather than sometime later in the summer. Many people had him regressing this year and while missing all this time will not help his total numbers, they will be right. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t draft him.

 

You may want to consider one of these players before you select him to fill one of your DL slots. Hunter Pence, Carlos Beltran, Josh Willingham, Nick Markakis, Andre Ethier, Carl Crawford, Michael Morse, Angel Pagan, Nelson Cruz, Mark Trumbo, Nick Swisher, Carlos Gomez, Corey Hart, Dexter Fowler, Jayson Werth, Norichika Aoki, Ben Revere, with the exception of Wil Myers are all better to start the season with but not to end it.

 

Hunter Pence regressed following his .361 BABIP-fueled 2011 campaign and it was a troubling drop for a player who had been a very solid fantasy outfielder over the previous five years. Pence had just a .743 OPS with the Phillies as well, so you can’t blame the move to AT&T Park on his down season. With Petco Park and Safeco Field both moving their fences in next season, AT&T might cement its place as the most pitcher-friendly stadium in baseball. Pence struck out a career-worst 21.2% of the time in 2012 and he stole a career-low five bases. Not that he was ever a big speed guy to begin with (he averaged only 12 swipes a year from 2007-11) but it’s another sign that Pence might be turning into a one-dimensional player who relies on home runs to be successful, and that’s not a winning formula for a guy who spends half his year trying to hit in a homer-dampening park…Carlos Beltran has seen 520 or more at bats the last two seasons, but injury risk is very high for the 36 yr. old…Josh Willingham probably won’t be quite so productive this year as he was in 2012, but he’s the favorite to lead the Twins in homers and RBI while batting in between Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau… Nick Markakis underwent surgery in September for a fractured left thumb, but he won’t be limited at all in spring training. “I’m good to go,” he said. “I’ve had no setbacks. My thumb feels good. Everything couldn’t have gone better.” The 29-year-old was limited to just 104 games in 2012 due to a trio of surgeries…While we are on the subject of missing time, Andre Either hasn’t played more then 150 games since 2009…another injured player in this group is Carl Crawford who is participating in baseball-related activities, but he still has a ways to go in his recovery from Tommy John surgery he underwent in August. Even so, the veteran is confident that he’ll be ready by Opening Day, according to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. While Crawford believes he’ll be ready by the start of the regular season, he’s not sure in what capacity the Dodgers will elect to use him initially. He views himself as an everyday player, but Los Angeles could decide to ease him back into a regular role. Crawford isn’t experiencing any pain in his elbow, just basic muscle fatigue. He’s throwing from up to 90 feet and hitting off a tee, and he hopes to move along to live pitching in the next few days. Crawford struggled with the Red Sox, hitting only .260/.292/.419 over 664 plate appearances. Still, the 31-year-old owns a career batting line of .292/.332/.441 over 11 seasons in the majors… Michael Morse gives the Mariners yet another designated hitter type — they’ve also added similar such candidates as Kendrys Morales and Raul Ibanez this winter — and that creates a logjam at DH, first base and in the corner outfield spots. The most likely resolution has Morse getting the bulk of his time in left field, Morales at DH and Ibanez in right field, though much of that depends upon the Mariners’ future plans with disappointing first baseman Justin Smoak… Angel Pagan hit .288/.338/.440 with eight homers, 56 RBI and 29 steals for the World Series champs resulting in a nice payday, I smell complacency… Nelson Cruz is currently under MLB investigation for his alleged connection to an anti-aging clinic in Miami which distributed performance-enhancing drugs. He’ll be under much scrutiny while that issue is being resolved and unlike Braun it will be a distraction… Going into 2012 Mark Trumbo wasn’t sure were he’d be playing with the Angels acquisition of Albert Pujols. But Angles GM Jerry Dipoto sees potential in Trumbo he decided to keep Mark around and it helped matter big time keeping his bat in the line up everyday. Mark learned to play LF and is still learning it now but put up the numbers to make up for what he may have lack on defense. Mark hit .317 with 32 bombs & 95 RBI’s all big jumps from his stats the year before…The Indians signed Nick Swisher to a four-year, $56 million contract with a $14 million vesting option for 2017. He will start in right field for the Tribe and has eligibility at 1B. Nice later round value here…If you are looking for SBs, Why not try Carlos Gomez? With Nyjer Morgan now gone, the Brewers have no obvious candidates to steal center field at-bats. Problem is Gomez hits a below average rate of line drives and too many pop-ups. He also hits more fly balls than grounders and he is currently expected to hit seventh in the Brewers lineup. What he has going for him is he has been an excellent base stealer, succeeding 80% of the time in his career. Last season he posted an 86% success rate. While i don’t think he will be that successful again, he could get you 40 SBs with the extra ABs…another late round sleeper is Corey Hart. Although he had knee surgery in late January and the initial prognosis had him missing four months, he feels he’s ahead of schedule and aiming for a return around April 20. Hart no longer is a factor on the bases (he’s stolen just 19 bags the last three years), but a .270-91-30-83 line plays in any format…. Dexter Fowler is a nice option at this point in your draft, he is close to being a 20/20 guy… Jason Werth says that he feels good, but that the wrist isn’t quite as strong as he’d like it to be. The total recovery time to regain full strength was estimated at 18 months after his surgery in May. It’s likely a factor in Werth’s power outage in 2012, where he smacked just eight homers in 300 at-bats. Look for more balls to fly out of the yard as the 2013 season progresses… Norichika Aoki Got better and better as he got more and more comfortable in his rookie 2012 season and is not a household name, making him a nice late pick up… Ben Revere is a burner who needs to walk more to be effective at the top of the Phillies order, but if you consider he hit .326 over six minor league seasons and .294 with 40 stolen bases last year for the Twins, you can see where Ben has fantasy baseball value. He certainly won’t help your power numbers; Revere hasn’t homered in 1064 MLB at bats. Revere could steal 50 bases this year in Philadelphia if he gets 650 plate appearances rather than the 553 he got in Minnesota last year. He’ll also help your team batting average based on his .278 career log and only at age 25, He moves from a pitchers’ park to a hitters’ park, but when you have no power, it really doesn’t matter that much. Where Revere bats in the lineup is important. He won’t hit leadoff with Chase Utley and Ryan Howard back, as Charlie Manuel will not want Jimmy Rollins to hit second where he has to give up some of his power to hit behind runners. If he hits second, in front of Utley and Howard, he could top .300. Hitting in the eighth slot, which has been suggested, would hurt his average numbers…Wil Myers is almost surely Triple-A bound no matter how well he plays this spring; the Rays will want to push back his free agency until after 2019 and can do that by sending him down for a few weeks. Myers figures to make right field his own at some point, but it might not happen until June or July.

 

Which brings us to the ones that will most likely be picked because of name recognition. They are the likes of Ichiro Suzuki, Alfonso Soriano, Brett Gardner, Coco Crisp, Michael Cuddyer, Lorenzo Cain, Torii Hunter, Garrett Jones, Drew Stubbs, Chris Young, Ryan Doumit, Jason Kubel and Ryan Ludwick.

 

It’s hard to imaging Ichiro and Soriano so far down the list, but we are talking about who you should draft to be your starters and while there is a lot to like about these players and you could pick them over some of the above, I wouldn’t recommend you use them as set it and forget it type guys. The one with the most upside here is Brett Gardner and although he will probably hit ninth if Derek Jeter opens the season healthy, that wouldn’t necessarily be a permanent assignment. Now that the Yanks are now looking at him as a center fielder, rather than as a left fielder he will get full-time ABs. Another is Jason Kubel, who batted .253/.327/.506 with 30 homers and .833 OPS this past season, he will be the regular in left field and has hit 20 or more HR when he’s seen 500 or more AB in his career.

 

 

Then you have the rest: Josh Reddick, Adam Eaton, Alejandro De Aza, Chris Davis, Brandon Moss, Carlos Quentin, Denard Span, David Murphy, Jon Jay, Justin Ruggiano, Emilio Bonifacio, Matt Joyce, Cody Ross, Colby Rasmus, Starling Marte, Darin Mastroianni, Lucas Duda, Aaron Hicks, Michael Saunders, Andy Dirks, Dayan Viciedo, Nate McLouth, Juan Pierre, Leonys Martin, Michael Brantley, Logan Morrison, Matt Carpenter, Rajai Davis, Jonny Gomes, Oscar Taveras, and Tyler Colvin

 

That is a bunch of names you will see on the waiver wire to start your season, but a couple shouldn’t With Josh Hamilton gone Leonys Martin will have a big role with Texas in 2013. The club has indicated that both Martin and Craig Gentry will handle center field duties, and the two should fit well as a platoon: Martin hits from the left side and sports a .400 OBP and .932 OPS versus righties in the minors, whereas the righty-swinging Gentry goes .364 and .756 against southpaws. That bodes well for Martin, a Cuban defector who signed back in 2011 and will turn 25 in March, as he should get the lion’s share of at-bats as the strong side. Martin’s minor league performance and scouting report both show a toolsy, athletic player who runs well enough to steal bases and hits well enough to contribute in average with smidge of power to boot. He missed several weeks in 2012 with a thumb injury and is still a little rough around the edges in some respects (i.e., he’s been successful on only 29 of 49 stolen base attempts), but Martin makes contact and walks a fair amount. His overall minor league slash stats — .323/.388/.503 — fall into the too-good-to-be-true realm, but he’s ready to contribute now, and if he can hold his own, Martin should be better than your typical bottom-of-the-lineup hitter, which is where he’ll likely fall with the Rangers in the short-term…Another one is Adam Eaton who is expected to open the season as the Diamondbacks’ starting center fielder. The 24-year-old batted .259/.382/.412 during his brief callup last year and has a .456 on-base percentage over parts of three seasons in the minors.

 

FANFOOD FB’13

 

Top 75 Outfielders  w/eligibility

 

Ryan BraunLF
Mike TroutLFCF
Andrew McCutchenCF
Matt KempCF
Carlos GonzalezLF
Giancarlo StantonRF
Jose BautistaLFRF
Josh HamiltonLFCF
Jason HeywardRF
Justin UptonRF
Adam JonesCF
Bryce HarperLFCFRF
Matt HollidayLF
Jay BruceRF
Jacoby EllsburyCF
Yoenis CespedesLFCF
Allen CraigLFRF1B
Ben ZobristRF2BSS
B.J. UptonCF
Michael BournCF
Alex GordonLF
Shin-Soo ChooRF
Alex RiosCFRF
Austin JacksonCF
Adrian GonzalezRF1B
Desmond JenningsLFCF
Mark TrumboLFRF1B3B
Martin PradoLFRF2B3BSS
Shane VictorinoLFCF
Carlos BeltranCFRF
Hunter PenceRF
Melky CabreraLFRF
Brett GardnerLFCF
Carl CrawfordLF
Josh WillinghamLF
Curtis GrandersonCF
Nick MarkakisRF
Norichika AokiLFCFRF
Carlos GomezCF
Nelson CruzRF
Andre EthierRF
Michael MorseLFRF
Nick SwisherRF1B
Dexter FowlerCF
Ichiro SuzukiLFCFRF
Ben RevereLFCFRF
Alejandro De AzaLFCF
Angel PaganCF
Chris DavisLFRF1B
Alfonso SorianoLF
Jason KubelLF
Michael CuddyerRF1B
Torii HunterCFRF
Todd FrazierLF1B3B
Adam EatonLFCF
Josh ReddickLFCFRF
Coco CrispLFCF
Jayson WerthCFRF
Corey HartRF1B
Emilio BonifacioCF2B
Lorenzo CainCFRF
Trevor PlouffeRF3B
David MurphyLFRF
Leonys MartinLFCF
Ryan DoumitLFRFC
Colby RasmusCF
Starling MarteLFCF
Dayan ViciedoLFRF
Brandon MossLFRF1B
Carlos QuentinLF
Jon JayCF
Justin RuggianoLFCFRF
Matt JoyceLFRF
Cody RossLFCFRF
Wil MyersRF

 

FANFOOD FB’13

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Iced tea Chicken with Sweet Tea BBQ Sauce

 

Sweet tea (heavily sweetened iced tea) is so popular at barbecue joints in Texas and the South, so why not use iced tea mix in a barbecue rub and grill the chicken? you’ll be surprised how well the tea flavor marries with smoke and spice in this chicken.

 

INGREDIENTS:

Iced tea rub:

1 tablespoon powdered iced tea mix
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon coarse salt (kosher or sea)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1 can (12 ounces) iced tea
1 chicken (31/2 to 4 pounds)
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
Iced Tea Barbecue Sauce (recipe follows)

You’ll also need:

2 cups wood chips or chunks (preferably hickory or cherry), soaked in water for a few to prevent scorching.

Vertical chicken roaster (optional)

 

PREPARATION:

 

Make the rub: Put the iced tea mix, paprika, coriander, sugar, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and celery seed in a small bowl and stir to mix.

Remove the packet of giblets from the body cavity of the chicken and set aside for another use. Remove and discard the fat just inside the body and neck cavities. Rinse the chicken, inside and out, under cold running water and then drain and blot dry, inside and out, with paper towels. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of the rub inside the body cavity and 1/2 teaspoon inside the neck cavity of the chicken. Drizzle the oil over the outside of the bird and rub or brush it all over the skin. Sprinkle the outside of the bird with 1 tablespoon of the rub and rub it all over the skin.

If cooking on a chicken roaster, hold the bird upright, with the opening of the body cavity at the bottom, and lower it onto the roaster so the can fits into the cavity. Pull the chicken legs forward to form a sort of tripod, so the bird stands upright. The rear leg of the tripod is the roaster. Fill it with some iced tea rub.

Tuck the tips of the wings behind the chicken’s back.

Set up the grill for indirect grilling and preheat to medium. If using a charcoal grill, place a large drip pan in the center. If using a gas grill, place all the wood chips or chunks in the smoker box or in a smoker pouch and preheat on high until you see smoke, then reduce the heat to medium.

When ready to cook, if using a charcoal grill, toss all of the wood chips or chunks on the coals. Stand the chicken up in the center of the hot grate, over the drip pan and away from the heat. Cover the grill and cook the chicken until the skin is a dark golden brown and very crisp and the meat is cooked through (about 180°F on an instant-read meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of a thigh, but not touching the bone), 1 ¼ to 1½ hours. If using a charcoal grill, you’ll need to add 12 fresh coals per side after 1 hour. If the chicken skin starts to brown too much, loosely tent the bird with aluminum foil.

Use oven mitts or pot holders to remove the bird from the grill while it’s still on the vertical roaster.

Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes, then carefully lift it off the support. Take care not to spill the hot iced tea or otherwise burn yourself. Halve, quarter, or carve the chicken and serve with Iced Tea Barbecue Sauce.

Serves 2 to 4

 

Iced Tea Barbecue Sauce

 

The annals of barbecue have seen some pretty strange sauces. This one may seem over-the-top, and yet, canned iced tea has a lot in common with the flavor profile of a good barbecue sauce. It’s sweet. It’s tart. It’s earthy and aromatic. What more could you ask for?

 

INGREDIENTS:

3/4 cup canned iced tea
3/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons A.1. steak sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar, or more to taste
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

 

PREPARATION:
Combine the iced tea, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, steak sauce, brown sugar, lemon juice, liquid smoke, onion and garlic powders, and pepper in a heavy saucepan with 1/4 cup of water and gradually bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

Reduce the heat to medium to obtain a gentle simmer. Let the sauce simmer gently until slightly reduced, thick, and richly flavored, 6 to 8 minutes. Taste for seasoning, adding brown sugar or lemon juice as necessary; the sauce should be highly seasoned. If sauce is too thick or intense, thin with a little more water.

Transfer the sauce to a bowl or clean jar and let cool to room temperature before serving. Any leftover sauce (in the unlikely event that you have it) will keep in the refrigerator, covered, for several weeks. Let return to room temperature before serving.

Makes about 2 cups

 

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