The first time I heard of beer-can chicken, I thought, "Why in the world would you sacrifice a can of beer in that manner?"
I mean, it’s bad enough you’re wasting precious beer but shoving the can up the bird’s innards too, jeepers!
Well a few years later and a bit wiser when it comes to food, I must confess that if you’re going to sacrifice a brew, this is likely the best thing to use it for. And if you don’t feel comfortable sticking an aluminum can up the bird, they now have cooking kits you can use.
I’m a purist though. Just give me a good can of beer and that will do. No fancy equipment required.
Beer-can chicken is actually easy to make. You marinate the chicken however you wish. Open a can of beer and pour 1/3 of it into the roasting pan. Place the open can in the center of the roasting pan and slide the chicken on top of the can. I like roasting my chicken anywhere between 375-400 degrees and usually 90 minutes does the trick (it depends on the size of the bird).
If you don’t want to pour some of the beer into the roasting pan, just drink a third of the beer, if you have self-control. I don’t, so it’s usually one can of beer for the bird and one can for me.
The beer keeps the chicken moist and imparts flavor. This same technique can be done outside in a covered gas or charcoal grill.
I’ve found that darker beers or stouts are great for making barbecue flavored beer can chicken. It adds a woodsy flavor profile that blends well with the smoke from the grill and the barbecue sauce.
When I make my rosemary and garlic beer can chicken, I rub the bird with butter (on the skin and pushed under the skin), the herbs and spices, but I also add sprigs of fresh rosemary and a few whole garlic gloves into the can of beer. The beer steam blends with the herbs and spices and that gets infused into the meat.
If you don’t want to use beer, you can substitute chicken broth. My friend used a blend of chicken stock and orange juice, which was fantastic.
But you can’t call that beer-can chicken! That would be more like chicken-broth/orange juice chicken, cooked in the fancy equipment pan thingy.
Some people call beer-can chicken, drunken chicken and I can live with that.
But for me drunken chicken is when I cook chicken on the stove top, douse it with some bourbon and light it up, creating a thick sauce on my bourbon glazed drunken chicken.
I have, on occasion, used a spray bottle filled with bourbon to make my oven drunk beer-can chicken. Same steps as regular beer-can chicken but every 15 minutes I open the oven, carefully slide out the bird, spritz the chicken with the bourbon (then spritz my mouth with the bourbon) and place it back in the oven to continue cooking.
That’s my bourbon sprayed beer-can chicken recipe. I think I’ll call that two-sheets to the wind drunken beer-can chicken from now on because by the time it’s done I am usually done too.
Anyways give beer-can chicken a try and let me know how it tasted.