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Tearing it a new one. (BEERCAN CHICKEN)

June 6, 2009

beercan_3chix

I finally did it! And it was just as easy as I thought it would be, or as everyone said it would. What we’re talking here is a grill-ready, party-starting, (hilariously photogenic) dish called beercan chicken. The concept is to stick a half-full can of beer into the cavity of a whole chicken. The chicken, now supported by the can and its own legs in tripod fashion, is placed upright on the grill (or in the oven) and cooked to absolute perfection with beer basting the meat throughout the process. You probably know all about beercan chicken already and I am the one that is late to the party. But, I am late to every party and this chicken is damn good!

A dry rub seems to be the best method of seasoning for this because it sticks! The spices get nicely toasted while infusing their flavor inside and out. I splashed the birds with a very light coat of canola oil and a touch of lime juice before the spice-rub pat down and covertly slipped a few cloves of crushed garlic into the beer cans. For these party chickens we used the Salt Lick Dry Rub straight from the great state of Texas. (See Grandma, they did do something for us!) Since the rub does contain salt, I went very lightly on additional salt and pepper. It’s important to test how salty the spice mix you are using is, especially if store-bought, so as not to over season in the end. Tony Chachere’s, for example, is so salty that no extra dusting is needed. Brent’s Blacken Spice is lighter on salt, so ample salting will make it just right. Take a little taste of your chosen rub before the raw poultry gets involved.

On this new grilling venture J9 advised me to use tall boys, which made the half-can-of-beer-drinking contest slightly more substantial but unfortunately our little grill was not tall enough to replace the lid once the chickens were assembled and vertical. Since a firmly closed lid* is vital to the cooking process and I had lots of hungry people milling about, I thought fast and made the cavity a bit wider by cracking the breast bone with my bare hands. It was easy to jam the chickens a little further down onto the cans which adjusted the height, worked fine and prevented a reckless waste of beer. (Beercan chicken is foolproof!) For the first half hour or so the chicks grilled beautifully on the Weber, but to make room for some Arthur Avenue sausages, we moved them to the oven to finish them off (400 degrees, 30 minutes more). The smoky goodness of the grill was locked in and the Salt Lick spices made it especially addictive. After the mandatory resting period, we savagely carved pieces right off of the cans. The chicken quickly disappeared in a frenzy of smmmmmacking… and the sausages barely made it off of the grill.

*close the lid to keep in the heat, yes, but leave that little air-hole thingy open or you suffocate the fire. Ask me how I know…

The menu:
Sun-dried tomato hummus and pita chips
Olive tapenade + smoked mozzarella flatbread
Quinoa with roasted mushrooms and carrots
Marinated roasted peppers
Parsley and cheese sausages
Salt lick beercan chicken
…and grilled pizza dough handled in various creative ways

BEERCAN CHICKEN
1 whole chicken, about 3.5 pounds
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 lime, juiced
1/4 cup chikken grillin spice rub of yo choice
1 can of beer
2 cloves of garlic crushed

  • Prep your grill or preheat oven to 400F.
  • Place whole chicken on a foil covered tray and remove gizzards. etc.
  • Mix oil and lime juice in a small bowl and rub it all over the chicken, inside and out.
  • Sprinkle chicken evenly with spice rub, inside and out.
  • Drink 1/2 can of beer and drop garlic into the can.
  • Place chicken onto can.
  • Grill or roast until clear juices run out of pierced flesh (pierce several spots, thigh, breast, leg)
  • Let rest ten minutes before carving and beware, the cans will still be very hot.

Enjoy!!

beercanchix_firePhoto by Stan

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