It’s winter, which means if you don’t live in a warm climate or you’re not getting a visit from Global Warming, you may prefer cooking indoors right now. We’ve been dealing with freezing rain in the Midwest, so when we were craving a beer-can chicken, we decided to do it in the oven.
One of the huge benefits of using your oven instead of your grill is that you can easily change the temperature midway through the cooking process with the touch of a button. For this chicken you start in a hot 450-degree oven to help the skin crisp up. Then, after 10 minutes, you lower the temperature to 350 degrees to create a cooking environment very similar to a grill set up for indirect grilling.
This recipe calls for a barbecue rub, and you should feel free to get creative but do get one with lots of sugar in it. You aren’t going to get the same charred flavor you get from the grill, but with a sugary rub you will get some caramelization that can mimic some of those grill flavors.
Also, it’s really important to follow the final instructions in the recipe. The whole idea behind beer-can chicken is that you’re infusing it with flavorful liquid throughout the cooking process. If you cut it while it’s still too hot, you’ll see all those flavorful juices ooze out of the meat onto the cutting board. But if you’re able to exercise some amount of patience you’ll be rewarded with some of the juiciest chicken you’ve ever tasted.
Oven Beer-Can Chicken
1 whole chicken, 4-5 pounds
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon kosher salt (plus more for the can)
1 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1 tablespoon barbecue rub (plus more for the can)
1 12-ounce can beer, opened and with half the beer removed
3 cloves garlic, quartered
Preheat your oven to 450ºF.
Put the chicken in a large mixing bowl with the olive oil, mustard, soy sauce, salt, pepper, and barbecue rub. Rub the bird so all of the components are fairly evenly distributed, making sure to get inside the cavity, too. Set the chicken aside.
Add a little bit of salt to the can (be careful, it will foam up) and once the foam has settled, add another shake of salt and about the same amount of barbecue rub. Add the garlic to the can. Place the chicken on the can inside a large enough roasting or baking pan to hold it and put it in the oven on one of the lowest racks. Let it cook for 10 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees and allow the chicken to cook for another hour, until the thigh meat registers 180 degrees on a meat thermometer.
Remove from the oven and let the chicken sit on the can for at least 10 minutes. Remove the chicken from the can and allow to cool for at least another 10 minutes. Cut and serve.