Tuesday, January 20, 2009

No Beer Belly Here - Beer Can Chicken

I love to make a roast chicken, it fills the house with such a delicious aroma when it is cooking. A few years ago, one of our friends make a beer can chicken on the barbecue at their lake house. It was very simple, he took a chicken, put it over a can or beer and cooked it on the grill.

All of a sudden, there seemed to be an explosion of beer can chicken recipes and forms to hold the beer can chicken. I know that I bought a form in Wal-Mart for a few dollars, and they were being sold everywhere. A few months ago, I happened to be in the Waterloo outlet center in Rochester, New York and browsing around in Le Gourmet Chef, a kitchen lover's paradise. It was the end of the summer here (you know, the summer that lasts for a month up here) and they had a ton of barbecue things on sale. I happened to see a Non-Stick/Self Basting Chicken Roaster from The Grilling Enthusiast on sale and bought it.

I immediately took it home with the intention of making a beer can chicken. I found a recipe, put it on the grill and it was delicious. Of course as I said, summer here lasts a day or two and them the grill is covered with snow. I made it again, this time in the oven and it was just as good.

I had found a recipe in Fine Cooking Magazine that I liked and then changed it and redid it. You can really do any type of spice blend that you want too, if you don't have the ingredients I used. Anything that you can use to make a rub will work to make a great beer can chicken. I have used the sauce that comes with the recipe (although I must admit, I don't really like beer, so I am not a big fan of the sauce, but the men in the house seem to like it.) I have poured wine in with the beer on occasion, soy sauce and Worcestershire on another occasion. You can really do this any way you want to. The important thing is that the beer steams the chicken from the inside and makes it so moist. The seasonings on the outside, make the skin delicous! Try it, you'll like it and get yourself one of the chicken roasting racks, they are not expensive at all!

Based on a recipe from Fine Cooking Magazine

Here is the recipe I used yesterday:

Beer Can Chicken:
Elise Feiner

1 whole chicken about 4-6 lbs (I use Purdue Oven Stuffer Roaster) use whatever you have
1 package Sazon Goya con culantro y Achiote
1 teaspoon dried mustard
1 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon Kosher Salt
1/8 – ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon onion salt
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon Symeon’s Spices
1 teaspoon Mc Cormick’s Season All Seasoned Salt
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon Mc Cormick’s Montreal Steak Seasoning
1 can of Beer

The chicken should be prepared one day ahead of time for maximum flavor, although I have done it the same day with very good results. Wash the chicken inside and out; remove any gizzards and discard (or use them if you like them.)

Spread a large piece of aluminum foil on your counter before starting the next step. Mix everything together but the chicken and the beer. Take out one tablespoon of the spice mix and set aside. Dry the chicken with paper toweling. Insert your fingers under the skin in the area around the breast. Insert some of the spice mix under the skin. Place some spice mix in the cavity of the chicken. Rub remaining spice mix all over the chicken, making sure to get it in between the leg and wing parts. Wrap the chicken in the foil and plate it on a plate in the refrigerator. Let the chicken stay in the spice mix for several hours or overnight.

Beer Can Sauce Mix:

6 tablespoons ketchup
6 tablespoons Jack Daniels No 7 mustard (use whatever mustard you have)
2 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons brown sugar
¼ teaspoon Hot Sauce (Franks, Tabasco, whatever you have handy)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1½ tablespoons red wine vinegar, with garlic
1 tablespoon reserved spice mix
Mix all the ingredients together for the sauce and add the tablespoon of the reserved spice mix. Set aside.
Refrigerate until ready to use.

On the day you are making the chicken, remove from the refrigerator and tie some Butcher’s twine around the wings to hold them in place. Open the beer and remove half of the beer from the can. Add the sauce to the beer can and put it in whatever holder you are going to use for the chicken. Place the chicken over the beer can and tie the legs together. If there is any sauce leftover, put it back in the refrigerator to add to the can drippings later. Place the Chicken roaster on a cookie sheet to catch the grease if the roasting pan is perforated.

Remove the top shelf from the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Place the chicken on the lower rack of the oven. Depending on the size of the chicken roast it about 1½ hours. Check the chicken after about 30 minutes and if it is getting too brown, tent it with aluminum foil. Check with a meat thermometer until the temperature reaches about 170 degrees, or until a pop up thermometer comes up. Poultry should be cooked to 180 degrees F, but the chicken will continue to cook after it is removed from the oven and will go up 10 degrees.

This prevents the chicken from drying out. Let the chicken sit for about 10 minutes. Carefully remove the chicken from the beer can roaster (use potholders, get help if you need it, be careful here! Carve the chicken and serve.

Take the can of beer (use potholders, the metal is hot!!!!) and pour the mixture into a small sauce pot. Add any remaining sauce from the refrigerator and about 3 tablespoons of the grease from the bottom of the roasting pan. Heat to a boil and then serve on the side with the chicken.

You can also do this on a barbecue grill if the lid of you grill is high enough. If you have a three burner grill leave the center on off and leave the two sides on medium. If you have a two-burner grill turn only one on. The chicken will cook by indirect heat. You want to keep the grill temperature at about 350 – 375 degrees F. The chicken should start to brown after about 15 minutes. Depending on the size of the chicken it should take about 75 – 90 minutes to cook. It will take longer for a bigger bird, obviously. Again, check the temperature with a meat thermometer.

Here is what you will need for the recipe (I forgot to put the vinegar in the picture, so there is a separate picture for the sauce below as well):

You will also need kitchen twine

Cut two pieces of twine; one long enough to go around the
body of the chicken and one to tie the legs together and set aside

Take the Sazon Goya
( If you have never used this, it is a
spice used in Spanish Cooking, it is
found in the supermarket in the Spanish
Food aisle. If your store carries Goya
products, you will find it there - I also use it
to marinade my Thanksgiving Turkey)

and place it in a small glass bowl

add the dried mustard

the paprika

the kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper

the onion salt

garlic salt

add the Symeons spices

the Season All Seasoned Salt

the brown sugar ( I use brownulated,
use what you have)

The Mc Cormick's Montreal Steak Seasoning

Mix everything well

Take a tablespoon of the mix

and set it aside in a small bowl

Now, you will make the sauce for the beer can chicken

Here is what you need for the sauce:

In a small bowl (I used a small plastic container
with I lid so I could just place it in the refrigerator)

Place the ketchup

the mustard (I use Jack Daniels No. 7
use whatever kind
you have, Dijon, Stone Ground)

the brown sugar

the honey

the hot sauce

the vanilla

and the garlic flavored wine vinegar
I must have a thing about the vinegar, forgot the picture too!

and mix well

and the reserved spices from the chicken rub

Stir everything together and set aside

Now it is time to prep the chicken

Unwrap the chicken

Insert your hand into the cavity of the chicken
and remove the gizzards

Check the other side too,
some companies place
the neck bones in the other cavity
Discard the parts unless you have a reason to use them

Run the chicken under cold water to
remove any blood from the
cavity, then turn and
do it from the other side
Remove any excess fat, clots, feathers, etc.

Lay a large piece of aluminum foil on
your work surface
(this serves two purposes, less mess to
clean up and when you are finished
putting the rub on the chicken yu can just wrap
it in the foil and refrigerate it)

Move the chicken to the foil

Insert your fingers to loosen the skin
around the breast side of the chicken

Be careful not to rip the skin
Insert some of the rub mixture under the loosened
skin and try to work it back as far as you can

Place some of the rub inside the cavity
of the bird

and rub in around inside the cavity

Now take a good amount of the rub and
place it on the breast

Be sure to get in the crevices of the legs
and the wings (kind of like changing a diaper
you have to powder the rolls)

Make sure all areas are well coated

Turn the chicken over

Place the spice mix on the back of the chicken

Coat the back well, and then turn over

Insert a piece of the kitchen twine that you
already cut and slide it under the wing area

Capture the wings and tie
them up just to secure

Trim the twine with a scissors

Do not tie the legs yet (you need to be able to insert
the beer can first)

Wrap the foil around the bird

Place the bird on a platter or dish so in case it
leaks it doesn't dirty, or more
importantly contanimate your refrigerator
and place in the refrigerator for a few hours

Cover the sauce mixture

Place in the refrigerator with the chicken

Let it stay in the refrigerator a few hours or overnight to flavor

When you are ready to cook the chicken
if you are doing in the oven (if for
example your grill is buried under twenty feet of snow)
remove the top shelf from the oven leaving only
the bottom shelf in

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F
(or light the grill if you are using a
grill as per directions above)

We're coming to the end now...

Open the can of beer

and pour half out
(drink it, discard it, whatever you want to do)

Using a funnel,

pour as much of the sauce mix
as you can into the can, but

don''t fill it completely, you'll need a little
room for expansion

Place any leftover sauce back in the refrigerator

Get the chicken roaster ready

Place it on a cookie sheet ( I use a disposable one)
to catch the drippings)

Place the beer can in the middle of the holder

slip the cover over it

open the legs of the chicken (no nasty comments here, folks!)

Slide the chicken over the can and holder

Secure the legs with the second piece of twine
trim the twine

make sure the chicken is well balanced depending
on the type of rack you are using

place the chicken on the bottom shelf of the oven

Roast for about 1 1/2 hours - 2 hours
depending on the size of the chicken
Check after 30 minutes
and if getting too brown
lightly tent the chicken in aluminum foil
(just loosely place over the top)

Check with a meat thermometer to
be sure it's done or look
for the pop-up timer
I always remove the chicken at about 170 degrees
on the meat thermometer because the
bird will go up another 10 degrees as it
sits out for several minutes
ans this way it won't dry out

Add any leftover sauce (from the frig)
to a small pot

Let the bird sit a bit

don't forget to snip the tie around
legs and then carefully

remove the bird from the roaster use a
pot holder, towel, whatever, just not your bare hands)
ask for some help if you need it!

Place the cutting board over a platter
and place some paper towels under it to
catch any of the drippings

Place the chicken on the cutting board and remove
any of the insert if it stuck to the bird
and get your knife ready -I use an electric knife)

Remove the twine from the wing
area by cutting with a scissor

Remove the beer can - again, use a pot holder,
that metal is hot;

pour the liquid
into a pot with the other sauce

Remove about 3 tablespoons of grease from
the pan and add it to the sauce

Dispose of any remaining grease, unless you want to make
a more traditional gravy.

If you so, add some of the drippings to some Wondra flour
season with garlic salt, and freshly ground black pepper
and some Gravy Master or Kitchen Bouquet
Add some cold water and blend well, bring to boil and
taste for and adjust seasoning

Bring the sauce to a boil while you are carving the chicken
(don't forget to stir it)


For some reason, I have been the official bird carver in my house for as long as I can remember, since the early 70's at least. I once read an article in the newspaper, I think it was the Parade section of our local papers years ago describing how to carve a turkey, thought it looked cool, and decided to try it. It was great and I've been doing chickens and turkeys the same way every since. It's very easy, you always get a perfect bird, and you always get a big yield from the bird.
Here's how you do it:

Starting with the wings, pull them
away from the body and feel for the joint and cut
right at the joint and set aside

Do the same with the legs and set aside

Next, run the knife down along side the beast
bone and come away from the bird
and remove the whole half of the breast

Place the breast on the cutting board

Repeat with the other side

When both halves of the breasts
have been removed and laid flat
on the cutting board,
begin slicing them against the grain
in about 1/2 -inch slices

Continue until you have cut the whole half

Repeat with the second half

Carefully pick up the sliced breast and move it to
a platter and fan it out gently

Repeat with the other side

Place the legs in the middle of the tray

and the wings on the ends

Serve and enjoy

Place the sauce in a gravy boat and
serve on the side (I would encourage
people to take a small taste before
adding it to the chicken
(I don't like beer, so I didn't use the sauce
and it has a little sweet and distinct flavor)

I served it with creamed spinach
and a box of Far East Rice Pilaf
to which I added a small bottle of
mushrooms, some grated cheese, and some
sliced, blanched almonds!

Bon Appetit

Beer Can Chicken on Foodista

1 comment:

  1. Great idea and good, instructional photos. I am going it try it too, though I never heard of such.

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