Easily one of the most interesting ways to cook chicken. Never tried it? You should! I’ve used this recipe many times with various ingredients and it has always produced the same result – a flavorful and juicy bird that falls apart. Even if you don’t like beer or alcohol in general, don’t shy away from this method of cooking chicken. I have used soda with equally excellent results. In fact, in a pinch even water in a can would work – but be sure to add some herbs to the liquid to increase the subtle flavoring of the meat from the inside. I love how the cooking time is extremely shortened (a 5 pound chicken will cook in a little over an hour) and that you can actually get more meat out of pulling it apart than by cutting the edible parts away from the bones.
Here is the basic recipe that I found online, and the tips I found useful. Enjoy!
1 (4-pound) whole chicken
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Dry spice rub
1 12-ounce can beer
- Remove neck and giblets from chicken and discard. Rinse chicken inside and out, and pat dry with paper towels.
- Rub chicken lightly with oil then rub inside and out with salt, pepper and dry rub. Set aside.
- Open beer can and take several gulps (make them big gulps so that the can is half full). Place beer can on a solid surface. Grabbing a chicken leg in each hand, plunk the bird cavity over the beer can.
- Transfer the bird-on-a-can to your grill and place in the center of the grate, balancing the bird on its 2 legs and the can like a tripod.
- Cook the chicken over medium-high, indirect heat (i.e. no coals or burners on directly under the bird), with the grill cover on, for approximately 1 1/4 hours or until the internal temperature registers 165 degrees F in the breast area and 180 degrees F in the thigh, or until the thigh juice runs clear when stabbed with a sharp knife. Remove from grill and let rest for 10 minutes before carving.
* This can also be done in a 375 degree oven for about 1 1/2 hours.
** Practical tips from Jana:
Put a potato, apple, onion, or lemon (whole or part) in the neck cavity and pull the skin back over it. Sometimes I’ll pin it with a toothpick. This helps keep the vapors inside the chicken for more flavor and faster, more even, cooking.
You can use soda instead of beer. The flavor is subtle, so any liquid in a can will work. Add a clove or two of garlic and some herbs to the liquid for more flavor. Don’t have a can of anything handy? Take an empty 12-ounce can, rinse it out, and add any liquid you like.
Place a pan (lined with foil for easier clean up) under the bird for more stability and to keep as much of the liquid from spilling onto the flames as possible and keeps the heat indirect. Make sure the lid doesn’t touch the chicken.
McCormick makes some great rubs (my favorite is Montréal Chicken Rub.) You can also make a basic rub using: Kosher salt, ground black pepper, paprika, and brown sugar in equal parts, plus some garlic powder and onion powder.