Bodacious Beer Can Chicken

By on October 22, 2014

What did he say? Fuse crispy caramelized-crusted grilled chicken with beloved, benevolence-bearing bouquet rich and more bountiful than ever beer?

Beer can chicken — awesome idea; an even better meal. One of my goals in this column is to convince you, and lead by example, that Grate Grilling doesn’t have to be great trouble or time consuming; that we can quickly prepare delicious freshly grilled fresh-aired meals in the same time as cooking indoors. Prep time from start to grill is 15-20 minutes, and once your bird is in position and feeling the heat, you literally walk away for 60-75 minutes to do whatever you please.

Your chicken is slowly absorbing your smoky fragrant fire and beer of choice. Unlike many grilled foods there is no need to hover, handle or stare down this meal. The indirect flame cooks without worry, the spices permeate and boost the bird’s natural flavors, and the beer enriches and moisturizes better than a hot foam barber chair shave.

One of my favorite accompaniments to this simple yet flavorful meal is good, hard Italian cheese, like Pecorino Romano; a classic Italian sheep’s milk cheese. Saltier and firmer than most hard cheese, it’s excellent for grating on hot pasta or used in casseroles because it doesn’t melt into a pool when cooked. Slice the cheese when cool or at room temp and pair with warm crusty Italian or French bread. You’ll be impressed with how well it compliments your ever so slightly boozy bird. Include a glass of everyday table red, and your taste buds will be singing.

Want to go the extra yard? Buy ready-to-bake French or Italian bread, and at about the 40-45 minute mark, soothe it to delicious on your grill using the no fire 2 zone heat side cooking your de-feathered friend.

Wayne Bagrowski has been grilling for 30 years, often 150 days annually. An Upstate N.Y. guy who isn’t afraid of rain, cold and snow, he can be found in foul-weather gear on his deck and patio, often shovel and hat in-hand, sending smoke signals to fellow enthusiasts. Long-term wine and spirits and restaurant careers round-out his food and drink passions.

 

——- Bodacious Beer Can Chicken ——–

Ingredients

  • one can of full-flavored beer, or your personal favorite
  • one 3½ to 4-lb. chicken
  • two tbsp. olive oil
  • Poultry spice rub, bought or created. Throw together chili, onion, garlic powders with salt, pepper, cumin, paprika… or try Montreal Poultry Seasoning or Stubbs Chicken Rubb.
  • For hardwood flavors use 4 to 5 oz. of mesquite or hickory chips soaked in water for a few hours. Drian the water, place chips in any can or small foil pouch close to but not on direct heat.
  • Want a special spicy sweet dipping sauce? Mix four parts honey with one part Red Hot sauce.

    If you have a chicken, and a can of beer to spare, you can work magic. Wayne prefers his bodacious beer can chicken with a side of Pecorino Romano cheese, warm crusty bread and red wine. (Photo by Wayne) The image up top shows the proper way to use a Master Forge Beer Can Chicken Rack.

    If you have a chicken, and a can of beer to spare, you can work magic. Wayne prefers his bodacious beer can chicken with a side of Pecorino Romano cheese, warm crusty bread and red wine. (Photo by Wayne)
    The image up top shows the proper way to use a Master Forge Beer Can Chicken Rack.

 Instructions

  • Pour out directly into the drip pan ¼ of the beer. If you like big bodied beers go with one of those, but any decent beer works.
  • Puncture two or three more holes in top or on upper sides of can
  • Prepare grill for high, indirect heat and fit with grill pan (for a charcoal grill, pile hot coals on one side of grill and put drip pan on empty side. For gas grills, leave one burner off and place drip pan over unlit burner). Add water to beer in pan to a depth of 1/3 inch. Inexpensive, throw away HD foil drip pans are easily found in any supermarket
  • Rub chicken with a light coat of olive oil
  • Season liberally with your favorite poultry spice rub
  • Place two tbsp. of same spice rub into beer can. This provides even more moist flavor.
  • Place cavity of chicken, legs pointing down, onto open can so that it supports chicken upright. (Another option is to purchase a Master Forge Beer Can Chicken Rack for $4.99). Place the can and chicken in a drip pan over indirect heat.
  • Grill chicken at 375 degrees with grill covered until cooked through. Use an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of thigh, wait until it registers 160 to 165 degrees, usually 45 to 60 minutes into grilling with a 3½ to 4 pound bird. (If using charcoal, you may need to add more to maintain heat.)
  • Let chicken rest 8 to 10 minutes before carving. Serve with pan drippings (optional).

Nutritional Information

Makes four servings. one serving contains: Calories (kcal) 340 Fat (g) 3.5 Saturated Fat (g) 1 Cholesterol (mg) 160 Carbohydrates (g) 3 Dietary Fiber (g) 0 Total Sugars (g) 2 Protein (g) 64 Sodium (mg) 1140.

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