Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sunday Supper

I'm on an email list with Cook's Illustrated. Each week I receive a missive from the good folks at the Test Kitchen with recipes and tips. This past week the featured recipe was for Beer Can Chicken. I've avoided this preparation in the past because I thought it was an overly complicated and precarious way to cook chicken. I couldn't have been further from the truth.

Beer can chicken

Beer can chicken requires a chicken, some of your favorite rub, a can of beer, a heat source and some wood chips for smoking. Nothing more than that. Bring both the beer and the chicken to room temperature. Next rinse your chicken thoroughly and pat it dry. Cover the body of the chicken with a dry spice rub. You can make your own or purchase the many, many spice rubs that can be found at your grocery store. Put some into the cavity of the bird and even tuck some between the skin and the breast meat. Don't forget to pierce the fat parts of the body of the chicken to allow the fat to render out more easily. Your chicken is now ready, time to prepare the beer. First, either pour our or drink a 1/4 of a cup of the beer. You don't want your beer boiling over during the cooking time. You'll need to open two more holes in the top of can to allow more steam to escape up into the cavity of the chicken and...bonus.... you'll get to use the weirdly named tool, the Churchkey.

beer can chicken can

As to the quality of the beer, cheap or expensive, it doesn't seem to matter. Actually you can use soda, lemonade or any other flavorful liquid you can put in a can. Cook's Illustrated tried other liquids and suggests beer first, then soda or lemonade. They also suggest breaking up a couple of bay leaves into the beer.

beer can chicken setup

Before we turn the heat on, we've got to get our other flavor element prepared. Wood chunks or chips to help smoke our bird. I'm using apple wood chips in two little smoker pans. I'm using a gas grill that has three burner elements. You can see above I've got smoker pans on each side of the chicken. I also have a drip pan directly beneath the bird to catch any fat or juices. We're cooking chicken with indirect heat so the middle burner is turned off and the surrounding burners are set to medium. Place the can of beer in the middle and carefully insert the can into the cavity of the chicken. Use the legs and the tail nub as a tripod to balance out the chicken. Shut the lid and let it cook at roughly 300 degrees for a little more than an hour depending on the size of your bird. Mine was over four pounds and it went about an hour and fifteen minutes. Test the temperature of the thigh meat. When it reaches 170 to 175, it's done. Here's the trickiest part of the whole deal. You need to remove both the chicken with the can still inside so you'll need a good sturdy set of tongs and something that is heat resistant so you can take chicken off the heat to rest. Fifteen minutes to allow the juices to resettle in the bird and again, mindful of the hot can, remove the beer can from the chicken. Serve immediately.

beer can chicken leg

What you'll be serving is incredibly moist chicken with deliciously crispy skin with tons of flavor. It's that simple and so good they will think you are a grill master. Plus all the kids can brag about having had Ass Can Chicken.



MakingSpace said...

Ha - awesome! My kids would be thrilled to use the word "butt" at dinner without mama frowning.

Does it taste like beer? And how many cans did you have to buy?

Big Shamu said...

Does not taste like beer but does taste moist and delicious. I didn't have to buy any because my good friend Craig bought a twelve pack and gave me the can I needed.

MakingSpace said...

Interesting that it doesn't taste like beer.

Craaaaiiiiiiig!!! I smash an empty can on my forehead in his honor.

the dogs' mother said...

The Ponder boys will tell you that one ALWAYS drinks the quarter cup and that more beer going along with the long wait of one hour and 15 minutes is also mandatory.

Dani said...

Yeah, this could scar Baby Shamy for life.

Buzz Kill said...

I did one of these a couple of years ago and it turned out great. You're so right about the moist part, especially for barbecued chicken. My buddy has a special rack that holds the can and stablizes the chicken better. (Like this:

My only problem is the 1 hour cook time. I rarely have that much time for chicken. I did legs last night that I par-boiled. Total time was about 30 minutes. If you have the time, beer canning the chicken is the way to go for whole roasting birds (bettter than rotisserie).

Big Shamu said...

The Ponder Boys are probably right, it's a preparation men especially enjoy, meat, beer, fire. And the word butt or ass.

Baby Shamy is pretty tough. I expect her to have at least one tattoo by now.

Buzz,I forgot to mention all the special products and racks that do the same thing as a beer can. Frankly I like not having one more thing to store. It is a long time to wait but frankly as hot as it was yesterday, not turning the oven on in the kitchen was a blessing.

Dani said...

I've been craving peaches since you made that yummy pie last week. I decided to make a cobbler instead yesterday. It said to use self-rising flour and they really meant it. *sigh* Came out with a big ole soupy mess.

Big Shamu said...

OH NO Dani, so sorry to hear. Don't give up though, a peach is a terrible thing to waste.

Dani said...

We're gonna try again this afternoon. :)
I was having problems with the peach skins not coming off. Boiled them quick then into the ice you think it has something to do with their ripeness?

Big Shamu said...

Hmmmm, that's my preferred method of peeling peaches, are they not yet ripe? You may have to go the veggie peeler method.

Dani said...

I had peaches on the brain earlier when I was commenting on the blueberry pie you made. Not a peach pie. lol

The peaches seemed ripe....just didn't seem to wanna come off...