Beer can chicken

There is something deliciously hilarious about this recipe that appeals to all men. Beer combined with bored hillbillies is guaranteed to result in either disaster or hilarity. In this particular case, depending on whether or not you are the proctologically doomed chicken in question, it’s a little bit of both.

Skip to the short version

” I have no intention of finding out what Schlitz logo ink tastes like “

In a stroke of blind luck (or pure genius), it turns out that this is one of the easiest ways you can imagine to cook up a juicy, tender, and flavorful bird. The basic idea is that you’re steaming the chicken from the inside while roasting it on the outside, and there a number of different ways to accomplish this. In addition to using beer as the “steaming medium”, you can also use wine, cola, broth, lemonade… the list is endless. I’ll detail my own favorite recipe below, but don’t be afraid to experiment with different flavors.

A bottle of booze and a couple things from the yard are all you really need.

A bottle of booze and a couple things from the yard are all you really need.

Truth be told, I have never tried using an actual can of beer; there are all sorts of things in and on aluminum cans that were never intended to be exposed to high temperatures. I have no intention of finding out what Schlitz logo ink tastes like, so instead I use a specially made porcelain steamer thingy called a Sittin’ Chicken. There are a number of different options that also accomplish the same thing, most notably the Poultry Pal. Choose whatever gizmo you like best and start getting your ingredients together.


Ingredients

  • a chicken!
  • white wine
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 4 or 5 fresh rosemary sprigs
  • olive oil
  • poultry seasoning


Other stuff you’ll need

  • a drip pan or disposable aluminum tray
  • a wooden skewer
  • a meat thermometer
  • a steamer to sit your chicken on (can of beer, Sittin’ Chicken, etc.)
  • someone to take incriminating pictures of you sticking things in a chicken’s butt


Directions

You can use either a barbecue or an oven to prepare this recipe. A regular old charcoal barbecue or grill is preferable, but anything capable of maintaining medium heat for a few hours will do. This recipe does best when the heat is concentrated below the chicken, so if your oven will do that sort of thing (sometimes called a “baking” setting), set it up that way. If you’re using a smoker or barbecue, you want direct heat right on the bottom of the chicken. Not tons of heat, but it should be direct as opposed to indirect. What we want to do is get the liquid in the steamer (or can) as hot as possible, preferably boiling. If you just roast or broil the chicken, the steamer will be the last thing to heat up and will only reach about 165 degrees, doing a poor job of providing flavor and steam. So, set up your oven or grill for direct, bottom-only heat and start it warming up. Aim for about 275-300 degrees F.

Cut up the lemon and the onion into rough chunks and put them in the steamer, filling it loosely about halfway. Place the rosemary sprigs in the center of the steamer, standing them up like a bouquet. Pour in the white wine, filling it almost all the way to the top. Place the whole thing in the center of your drip pan.

Please have a seat and enjoy the sauna.

Please have a seat and enjoy the sauna.

Rinse the chicken with water, inside and out. Remove the giblets and any other nasty bits you find inside and throw them away. Or, if you have carnivorous pets, throw the giblets in the drip pan instead and they will become delicious and disgusting treats for later. Sprinkle a healthy amount of your poultry seasoning (I sometimes just use thyme and oregano) inside the chicken cavity. Carefully sit the chicken on top of the steamer, making sure all the rosemary sprigs end up inside the bird. Rub the skin thoroughly with olive oil and sprinkle or rub more of your seasoning on the outside. Using the skewer, “sew” the neck of the chicken shut so that none of the steam can escape. Put your new best bird friend in your oven or barbecue and begin rubbing your hands with glee.

The dinner guest has arrived.

The dinner guest has arrived.

Start checking the internal temperature of the chicken after about an hour. You will want to probe multiple locations with the meat thermometer, namely the legs, back, breast, neck, and cavity. Poultry is considered done at 165 degrees F, so make absolutely sure there aren’t any spots on the bird below that temperature. I tend to go a bit above that when making this recipe, mostly because you don’t need to worry as much about the meat drying out thanks to the steamer. I prefer my chicken (especially the dark meat) falling-off-the-bone tender as opposed to barely done, but that’s just me. Once the chicken is done how you like it, remove it from wherever it’s been cooking and try not to drool on it. Depending on the size of the bird, your particular grill or oven, and the type and degree of heat, it will take from 1 to 3 hours to cook completely. It’s done when it’s done; trying to force a specific timeline on it will only lead to tears.

Remove the chicken from the steamer and serve sliced, quartered, pulled, or just get in there with your bare hands and devour it like a wild animal.


Now that's what I'm talking about.

Now that’s what I’m talking about.



tl;dr

Beer can chicken

Ingredients

  • a chicken!
  • white wine
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 4 or 5 fresh rosemary sprigs
  • olive oil
  • poultry seasoning


Other stuff you’ll need

  • a drip pan or disposable aluminum tray
  • a wooden skewer
  • a meat thermometer
  • a steamer to sit your chicken on (can of beer, Sittin’ Chicken, etc.)


Directions

Set up barbecue for direct heat, 275-300 degrees F. Cut lemon and onion into rough chunks and place in steamer along with rosemary sprigs. Fill steamer with white wine and place in center of drip pan. Rinse chicken with water, remove giblets, and place upright over steamer. Rub skin with olive oil and sprinkle with poultry seasoning. Use wooden skewer to sew neck hole shut. Roast chicken for 1-3 hours, until internal temperature is at least 165 degrees F. Check multiple points around chicken, including thigh joints. Remove from heat and serve immediately.




See also


7 thoughts on “Beer can chicken

  1. Have heard of this or seen this done on some video, and always thought of trying it, but for some reason never did. Looks like it actually gives you a moist roasted chicken, judging from that last photo. Maybe I’ll give it a try, after all! Thanks for the recipe. XOXO, Angie.

    Like

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