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Let the Grillin' Begin: Beer Can Chicken

Photo by Mike McCune

The weather's heating up, and I don't know about you guys, but I plan on taking full advantage of the small window of outdoor bliss here in Houston -- the time before the temperatures rise to the point of no return and the sun torches every living thing in its path as the ground becomes molten lava (real life account of a Texas summer from the view of a Northeastener). With the weather nearing perfection, it's about time to start grilling. And what better way to kick off the season than with chicken and beer?

Friends, I bring you the Finest Grilled Poultry in All the Land. The Cream of the Crop. The King of It All. The Full Monty: The Beer Can Chicken.

Look at him (above). He's so damn cute. And he's delicious. I'm gonna rub him all up and down with spices, stick a beer can in his ass and eat the hell out of him! Then I'm gonna drink all the rest of the beer from the case that I purchase. And I can't wait. America!

This method is ingenious. The beer can works as a steamer, adding moisture to the chicken as it cooks away on the grill. And the yeast and malt in the beer keep the meat juicy and tender while the skin crisps.

Ahh beer butt chicken - how I love you so. There are plenty of ways to doctor this baby up, but here's how I do it:

You'll need

  • 1 whole chicken (3½ -4 lbs)
  • 1 can beer (I used Heineken)
  • 1 lemon, for zesting
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Smoked paprika
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Cumin
  • Black pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 onion

    Directions

    Remove giblets, rinse chicken and pat dry.

    Combine 1 tbsp each of lemon zest, cayenne pepper & paprika with 1 tsp each of garlic powder, onion powder, cumin & black pepper and 2 tsp kosher salt. Rub all over chicken, including under the skin and inside the cavity.

    Open the beer can and pour out (or take) a swig to let a few ounces out. Using the point of a beer bottle opener, pierce 2 more holes into the beer can and sit chicken on top of the entire can so that the legs are on the bottom. Plug the top of the chicken with an onion to seal in the juices.

    Heat a gas or charcoal grill, placing a drip can below the grates. Place chicken on grill balanced by the beer can. Cover and cook over indirect heat until the juices run clear, about 1-1½ hours. If using a charcoal grill, move the coals to the side so chicken is not on top of direct heat.

    Remove chicken from grill, cover with foil and let sit (still on beer can) for 10 minutes before carving.

    Enjoy the most tender, juicy chicken off a grill.

    How do you spice your beer can chicken? What's your favorite type of beer to use? Prefer to smoke it instead? Drop us a comment and let us know.



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