Summer has arrived and with it, grilling season. There’s nothing quite like lighting up the grill and prepping BBQ staples like a juicy T-bone, succulent ribs or a good old-fashioned burger. This past weekend I made one of my personal favorites, beer can chicken, and found an amazing amount of versatility in this delightful dish.
The Meat: When it comes to grilling chicken, many people cook it in parts. But the whole chicken, cooked low and slow, can be even more juicy and flavorful. Any whole chicken will do just fine, but if you are into spending a little more money, an organic chicken from your local butcher shop can pack a flavorful punch.
The Method: The key to this brilliant dish is, of course, the beer can, which steams the chicken from the inside while standing vertically on the grill. This time around, I used a smoker with Adler wood to achieve a mild smoky flavor. I have also cooked a beer can chicken on a gas grill and a charcoal grill, and they both worked well, each providing a unique crust and flavor profile. Use your own preferred method, just remember the key to success is low and slow.
The Meal: Remove the breasts completely from the bird and slice them up horizontally. Then cut the thighs, wings and legs off, leaving them whole or pulling the meat off the bone and cutting it into chunks. Chances are, once you remove all the meat and put it on a platter, you or your guests will go at it like lions picking at their prey. If you can avoid the savagery, the beer can chicken goes well with any type of grilled vegetables and baked beans. You can also get creative and use the meat from the chicken to make some pretty sick smoked nachos (see photo). It is entirely up to you. Be as creative as you can with this versatile meal. We can guarantee it’ll be unforgettable.
Beer Can Chicken
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon Kosher Salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 whole chicken about 4 pounds with neck and giblets removed
1 12-ounce can of beer
1 jar of your favorite BBQ Sauce
1. Prepare the smoker for 250 degrees.
2. Combine all the dry ingredients for the rub and mix.
3. Cover the entire chicken with the olive oil and then season the chicken with the rub.
4. Open the beer can and drink half the beer. Poke a few extra holes in the top of the can. Slide the chicken over the can so that it fits into the cavity and then stand the chicken up on the grill balancing it on its two legs and the can of beer.
5. Cook for about two hours, then start brushing BBQ sauce on the entire chicken. Repeat the process three times before finishing.
6. When the internal temperature of the deepest part of the thigh is at 170 degrees, remove the chicken from the grill and, using oven mitts, take the beer can out of the chicken and discard it. Be careful not to spill the beer, it will be hot. Let the chicken rest for 5 to 10 minutes, then slice and serve warm.