I’ve been enjoying this method of preparing chicken for years now. I have yet to find anyone not like it…what’s not to like about moist chicken with crispy skin? Beer can chicken works as such: open a can of beer, drink about 1/3 of the beer, you may add add aromatics into the beer like herbs, garlic, etc. The chicken is placed on to the beer can (up into the cavity) and the beer can plus the two legs act as a tripod. The chicken stands in your grill or oven in an upright position and the magic begins.
What’s happening here is the beer steams inside the chicken’s cavity, leaving you with a moist chicken, perfumed lightly with the aroma and flavour of the beer and anything else you added to the can. The skin becomes crispy, golden-brown. This is one of my favourite ways to prepare roast chicken and the method can easily be adapted to roasting in your home’s oven.
If using your gas or charcoal grill, beer can chicken works with indirect heat. You want one side of your grill to have heat and the other to be without any heat source. The beer-can chicken is placed on the side with no heat and the lid is closed. What now occurs is a circulation of heat – much like what happens in a conventional oven. Conversely, beer can chicken can also be done in your oven with placement of the bird simply being on the lower-middle rack.
In both cases, a drip pan must be used as fat renders and some liquid from within the can may still bubble out (that’s really why you drink a 1/3 of the beer). You don’t want fat flare-ups occuring in your grill and you certainly don’t to create a mess in your oven either! There are many stands for beer can chicken out there…tailored for both outdoor and indoor (oven) use. This simple beer can holder works well in both instances.
The dressing of your bird is really up to you and I change-up the flavours depending on my mood, what herbs are available to me. On this occasion I used lemon verbena and thyme, both from my garden. Chicken (poultry) loves lemon and I always squeeze lemon juice on my chicken. I also like to add the same flavourings into the beer can.
Today, I’m using garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper, sweet paprika, lemon juice, lemon verbena and thyme. As a side, I made some garlic-mashed potatoes and served a side of steamed broccoli and cauliflower tossed in extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and chopped fresh chives.
Beer-Can Chicken With Lemon Verbena & Thyme
1 whole roaster chicken
1/2 small lemon
1 tsp. sweet paprika
2 tsp. fresh thyme
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon verbena, chopped
1 clove of garlic, smashed
1 clove of garlic, minced
approx. 1 Tbsp. olive oil
coarse sea alt and fresh ground pepper
1 can of beer
- Rinse and pat-dry your chicken. In a bowl, add your olive oil, minced garlic, paprika, thyme and lemon verbena and reserve. Light your BBQ and only have 1 burner lit with the lid closed and adjust the dial so that you get a BBQ temperature of approx/ 350-375F. Open your can of beer, drink a 1/3 of it and place into the stand. Insert any aromatic you like into the beer (I added the smashed clove of garlic, the leftover lemon peel, some thyme sprigs and lemon verbena leaves).
- Put the chicken, stand and drip-tray in the side of the BBQ that’s not lit. Close your BBQ and allow the chicken to roast for about 80-90 minutes or until an internal temp. of 180F is reached or juices run clear.
- Check the chicken every-so often in case of BBQ hot spots and rotate the bird to roast & colour evenly. Allow your chicken to rest for 15 minutes before carving and serve.
- Serve with garlic mashed potatoes, steamed cauliflower and broccoli. Serve with a Kir Yianni Petra Roditis white.
*Beer can chicken is just as easy – middle rack position, pre-heated 375F oven, place chicken on beer can stand on a tray to catch drippings.
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