Beer Can Chicken
The first time I made this, the Stallion and one of his friends were just returning from the golf course, and we were going to eat dinner before going out that night. I often buy chicken whole because it's so much cheaper per pound and makes it more affordable for me to buy organic, free-range chicken. I'll cook the whole thing and we'll have leftovers, or sometimes I'll have my in-home butcher chop it up and I'll use various pieces for various recipes.
Turns out that plan was blown to hell this time as the entire chicken disappeared in a matter of minutes.
I had heard of this whole 'beer butt chicken' concept before and was intrigued, never actually having had any myself. So, I figured I'd try my hand at it. I read a lot of different recipes and methodologies before starting, and once I thought I had absorbed enough information, I set out to surprise the boys with this for dinner.
It was a surprise because they thought they were going to have to cook their own food when they got home since I am horrible at the grill. Really - abominable.
But I can make a damn fine beer can chicken!
It looks pretty funny on the grill:
Prep is easy - I use a premade BBQ seasoning rub on the chicken (inside and out) and let it sit in the refrigerator for as long as I happen to have thought ahead.
To prep the beer can, open, hand to your own Stallion and have him take a swig. You want about a quarter of it gone. Stuff some smashed garlic cloves in there and sprinkle in a bit more of your rub. Then use a can opener (one of those pointy, triangle-shaped ones that you would use on cans of liquid stuff - like Hershey's syrup. You know - one triangular hole directly opposite the other so the liquid can come out and air can go in.) to poke more holes around the perimeter of the top of the can.
To prep the grill, get a mound of charcoal going. You'll wind up putting an aluminum drip pan under the chicken (you can just fashion one out of foil!), and pushing all of the hot coals around this pan so the bird isn't getting any direct heat. Once your fire is ready, I typically add a few more coals on top to help the heat carry through the cooking - this will take about an hour (depending on bird size) to cook completely.
FIRST-TIMER LESSON: If you have a grill with a second shelf that moves with the grill lid, make sure you're going to have enough room to close the lid while there's a chicken upright on the lower shelf. I lucked out and was able to just barely force the lid closed. But the chicken was squished a bit.
Once you're ready to start cooking, stick the can up what used to be the chicken's behind (man, talking like this makes me feel bad) and set it upright on the grill, using the legs to form some semblance of a tripod. Once the bird is secure, close the lid, and SET IT AND FORGET IT!
When you come back an hour later, the skin will be very dark, but not burnt. And the meat inside will be impeccably juicy and tender. Carefully remove from the grill and extract the hot can of hot beer.
IMPORTANT. No matter what, you must keep the man in your life from cutting into this wonderfully-smelling main course for at least 5 minutes. If it doesn't rest first, it will release all the juice when cut into and you will be left with tough, dry meat. Just remind him he's already got an hour vested in this meal, and if he doesn't wait at least 5 more minutes, all of that time will have been in vain.
We ate ours with quinoa and a spinach salad with strawberries, goat cheese and pecans. What a delectable, fresh summer meal!
Why not switch up the typical burgers and dogs routine for something different this 4th of July? You won't regret it!