Czech Out Pavel’s Beer Chicken


Many of you met Pavel the other day here on anewscafe. He left for his home in the Czech Republic after visiting us for five weeks.

I guess the best way to describe my relationship to him is he’s the younger brother of my daughter-in-law, Marie, which makes him my son Joe’s brother-in-law.

Either way, we’re family, and we were lucky enough to get to know Pavel a bit better each day during his time at Greenberg Acres in Igo. His English and my Czech improved, and he adapted well to his first trip to the United States.

He adjusted to nighttime coyote howls, and triple digits that caused him to pause and say “wow” for the first few days whenever he left an air-conditioned house or car and stepped into the north state’s famous heat.

But all that has nothing to do with cooking, and this is the food section, isn’t it?

We miss him all ready, so to remind us of his time with us, here’s his recipe for Beer Chicken.

On June 29, which was Pavel’s name day, he shopped for groceries, claimed the kitchen, cranked up his music and prepared dinner, Beer Chicken, a dish he said he learned from a Czech friend.

Though he barbecued chicken that same night, he told us that the longer we allowed the chicken to marinate, the better it would taste.

We had a chance to test this advice for ourselves when we left the remaining chicken in the marinade for two more days. Pavel was right. It was even more tender and delicious than that first night, which is saying a lot. But try it for yourself and see what you think.  
From Pavel to you, I give you Beer Chicken. Dobrou chu?! (Enjoy your meal.)

Pavel’s Beer Chicken

6 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 bottles of your favorite beer (Pavel used Sierra Nevada Pale ale)
1 head of garlic, peeled and smashed with salt
Paprika, to taste
Sea salt

Place chicken pieces on a flat surface and cover with a clean plastic bag, or parchment or anything else to prevent chicken pieces from flying when you pound it. Using a mallet, cast iron pan or anything heavy, pound the chicken evenly until it’s flattened and uniform.
Remove the plastic cover from the chicken and sprinkle enough paprika over the chicken to give it a little orange dusting.
Now sprinkle the chicken with some salt.

Turn chicken over and repeat the paprika and salt sprinkling on the other side.
Pour the beer in a large glass or plastic bowl. Scrape the garlic into the bowl. Stir gently.
Add the chicken. (You want the chicken to have lots of room to swim. You might need a larger bowl if it’s packed too tightly.)
Cover the bowl and place it in the refrigerator for 6 hours to 2 days.
Preheat barbecue. Remove the chicken pieces as needed from the marinade, and place the meat on the barbecue. It will cook quickly because it’s so thin. Grill both sides until done.
(Note from Doni: Pavel served this chicken with rye bread and a green salad. We learned from the leftovers that it’s also delicious inside a roll for a sandwich or with rice, or as a topping for salads, or as a filling for tacos or fajitas.)

Doni Chamberlain

Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded A News Cafe in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke. Chamberlain holds a Bachelor's Degree in journalism from CSU, Chico. She's an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She's been featured and quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, The Washington Post, L.A. Times, Slate, Bloomberg News and on CNN, KQED and KPFA. She lives in Redding, California.

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments