The master recipe for the beer can chicken, the show stopper that will dazzle your family and friends. This odd recipe makes some of the most moist, succulent, flavorful barbecued chicken I’ve ever tasted.
If you’ve never made beer can chicken before, start here, and once you’ve mastered the basic procedure, there’s no limit to its variations.
Not a new dish, but the secret is REALLY in the Rub! The beer will evaporate, steam the chicken from the inside, while the outside gets nice and crisp. and it works! Juiciest chicken ever.
The most basic version of this recipe requires a whole chicken and a can of beer. However if you really want to add a lot of extra flavor you should also include a good Spice Rub. You can go as basic as salt and pepper or you and mix up something fancy. It’s entirely up to you.
As is the selection of beers. Some people are militant about this decision. You will see advice telling you stout is the only beer for beer can chicken, while others will tell you any beer but stout. I don’t want to get into that here. Personally I like a good, malty beer with lots of flavor, but then I like beer and I like the taste of beer.
You don’t even have to use beer. Wine has become a popular substitution for this recipe. People who prefer to keep their alcohol as far from their food (or themselves) as possible have started using canned chicken broth with seasonings in it. Pretty much anything you want can end up in your chicken. What’s important is that there is a good source of liquid to keep the chicken moist as it cooks.
For that matter you don’t even need to use a can. I know some guys who cook up hundreds of beer can chickens on any given weekend and they use one pint mason jars. There are also a wide range of chicken roasters on the market that do exactly what the can will for nearly infinite more money.
Having said all that … the ingredients for this recipe are here, on my Cooking Blog.
* The Chicken
* 1 can (12 ounces) beer ( I always use a Bud =)
* 1 chicken (3 1/2 to 4 pounds)
* 2 tablespoons All-Purpose Barbecue Rub (recipe below) or your favorite commercial rub
* 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
* 4 cloves of crushed garlic
* 1 small onion, chopped
* salt and pepper
* BBQ Rub
* 1/4 cup coarse salt (kosher or sea)
* 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
* 1/4 cup sweet paprika
* 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
1. BBQ Rub
2. Put the salt, brown sugar, paprika, and pepper in a small bowl and stir to mix. (Your fingers actually work better for mixing the rub than a spoon or whisk does.) Store the rub in an airtight jar away from heat and light; it will keep for at least 6 months. Makes about 3/4 cup
3. The Beer Can Chicken:
4. Pop the tab off the beer can. Pour half of the beer (3/4 cup) over the soaking wood chips or chunks, or reserve for another use (Drink it!)
5. If cooking the chicken on the can, using a church key-style can opener, make 2 additional holes in its top. Put a couple cloves of crushed garlic, some onion, some salt and pepper in the beer. Set the can of beer aside.
6. 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.
7. 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 rub and rub it all over the skin. Spoon the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons of rub into the beer through a hole in the top of the can. Don’t worry if the beer foams up: This is normal.
8. If cooking on a can: Hold the bird upright, with the opening of the body cavity at the bottom, and lower it onto the beer can 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 beer can. If cooking on a roaster: Fill it with the beer mixture and position the chicken on top, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
9. 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.
10. 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), 11/4 to 11/2 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.
11. If cooking on a can: Using tongs, hold the bird by the can and carefully transfer it in an upright position to a platter. If cooking on a roaster: Use oven mitts or pot holders to remove the bird from the grill while it’s still on the vertical roaster.
12. Present the bird to your guests. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes, then carefully lift it off its support. Take care not to spill the hot beer or otherwise burn yourself. Halve, quarter, or carve the chicken and serve.
~~ Variations – You can also barbecue a chicken on a can of cola, lemon-lime soda, or root beer. Use a “tall boy” (16 ounce) can of beer to barbecue a capon or duck. Use a “mini” (8 ounce) can of beer to barbecue a game hen.