You know, taking an attractive picture of a chicken with a beer can shoved up its, um, cavity is just about impossible. No perfect lighting and no artistic camera angle changes what it is – a dead chicken squatting over an aluminum can.
Now that I have painted such an attractive picture for you, let’s get down to why beer can chicken is so yummy. If you have ever tried it, you know what I’m talking about. The liquid from the beer steams the meat as it’s cooking, so it ends up being so tender and juicy. Unless you just throw common sense out the window and cook your chicken to excess, it is pretty hard to mess this up.
If you aren’t a beer drinker, that’s okay. Believe it or not, beer is not necessarily required. You could use soda or even water, I suspect. Some die-hard beer can chicken aficionados might argue that there is some scientific reaction that takes place between the yeast in the beer and the meat while it’s cooking. However, in all the times I have made beer can chicken I never once thought the meat came out tasting like Budweiser.
We stick with beer because once the chicken is finished The Husband likes to mix the beer with a little salsa to use as a dipping sauce. The beer heats to boiling while it’s on the grill. However, just to be on the safe side I heat the beer in a small saucepan on the stove for about 15 minutes just to make sure there is no risk of salmonella.
Word of advice, don’t go out and spend a bunch of money on some expensive upright chicken roaster. I bought the one you see here for less than $10 at Wal-Mart. Place a pan under the chicken if you want to catch the juices. I like to season the outside with a light brush of olive oil and sprinkle it with a homemade Cajun spice blend. In addition to giving the bird a nice tan, it also gives it a yummy, spicy, kick.
- 1 (4 pound) whole chicken
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves whole garlic
- 1 (12 ounce) can beer
- ¼ - 1 /2 cup salsa
- 2-3 tablespoons Cajun seasoning rub (recipe below)
- 2 tablespoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1-1/2 teaspoons ground white pepper
- 1-1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- Remove giblets from the inside of the chicken. Discard or save for another use. Rinse and pat the chicken dry.
- Prepare grill for indirect heat - once the briquettes have enough ash on them, pile the briquettes to one side, leaving a "cool" side. If using a gas grill, turn on all burners until grill reaches 350 degrees, then turn off the burners on one side.
- If cooking in an oven, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a shallow roasting pan with tin foil to catch any drips.
- Empty out (or drink!) half of the can of beer. Place can in an upright chicken roaster. Carefully fit the chicken over the beer so that the can is snug within the cavity of the chicken.
- Brush outside of chicken with olive oil.
- Combine Cajun seasoning rub ingredients. Sprinkle seasoning all over the outside of the chicken. Pour any unused rub into an airtight jar for a later use.
- Place chicken on the “cool” side of the grill or in the oven. Roast for 1-1/2 – 2 hours, rotating about halfway through cooking time, until an instant read thermometer measures an internal temperature of 180 degrees.
- Remove chicken from the grill or oven. Allow to rest 15 minutes before serving.
- While chicken is resting, bring the beer left in the can to a boil. Boil for 15 minutes. Mix with salsa and serve on the side as a dipping sauce.