A couple of summers ago I went to a backyard cookout with a bunch of twenty something men who I worked with at Just Food Co-op. As the deli manager at the co-op at the time, I had become the defacto expert on everything cooked, whether that fit the circumstances or not. So when one of the guys kept asking for my tips on how to cook his first beer can chicken I thought I heard him wrong. What in tarnation was a “beer can chicken”?! Turns out, it is a superb way to grill a chicken and keep it moist.
This memory was stirred up by a recent post by Elise at Simple Recipes when she remarked that the concept alone might incite men to cook more. As Elise put it, some guys refer to this as “beer butt chicken” since a half full can of beer is inserted into the cavity of the bird and used to prop it upright on a grill. It definitely is a comical sight which produces fabulous results.
While I didn’t snag a picture which the chicken sitting on the can, so to speak, the chicken was deliciously tender and moist with a crispy skin. This version was a tad overcooked, meaning the meat was falling off the bone, but because of its beer bath, the meat wasn’t dried out. Next time I intend to drop some herbs into the beer to see if that will up the ante.
You do not have to use beer, any sort of canned beverage would work. I have heard of people using Sprite or a ginger ale would work as well. I’m sure someone somewhere has tried a Coke. Like the humor, the possibilities are endless!
Beer Can Chicken
3-4 lb whole chicken
1/2 cup parsley, minced
1 tablespoon fresh sage, minced
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
1 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
olive oil for rubbing
1 half full can of beer (any brand is good)
Light charcoal grill with coals only on one side of the grill or start up a gas one, only lighting one side of the grill. Remove giblets and neck from inside the bird and rinse well. Pat dry and rub with oil and minced herbs and salt and pepper. Place can securely inside cavity of chicken and stand it up on the counter to make sure it supports the chicken’s weight. Also, make sure your grill cover will fit over the upright chicken; mine didn’t so we put foil over it and weighed it down on the grill to ensure the steaming of the bird actually took place. If you need to use foil, be sure to check the chicken 45 minutes after placing it on the grill since it seems to cook faster with the foil. Place chicken on the side of the grill not over the direct heat and cover. Cook 45-60 minutes or until done. Enjoy!
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