Beer Can Chicken
In case you all haven’t gotten the vibe from our other posts, I, Jeff, like beer. I like making it, cooking with it, and mostly drinking it. Today, I’m going to give you the rundown on a tasty chicken recipe that’s also healthy. I’ll break it down step by step, and give you some of my reasons for doing it the way I do. For starters, let’s go over our ingredient list.
For the Brine:
1 Gallon water
1/2 cup Kosher Salt
2/3 cup Brown Sugar (I prefer Dark Brown)
1 ½ Teaspoon Chicken Herb Seasoning (I have it around, you could sub in your favorite seasoning if you need to)
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
For the Bird
4-5 Pound Chicken
1 16oz Can of Beer
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
Salt to season
Black Pepper to Season
2 Teaspoons Herb Chicken Seasoning (Again, you can use also something else)
The night before you plan on cooking your chicken, you need to brine that beauty. Why brine? Brining ensures a moist, flavorful bird. It’s also a great way to get flavor into the meat. You can do just about anything you want with brine. I tend to keep mine simple. The only requirements are sugar, salt, and water. From there, you can do as little or as much as you like. I make my brine in the same pot I intend to brine the chicken in.
1.) Put the sugar, salt, and seasoning in the pot
2.) Add 1.5 pints of hot, and I mean hot, tap water. Stir the mixture until the sugar and salt are dissolved.
3.) Add the remaining 2.5 pints of water. This water needs to be cold, as cold as you can get it. Mine wasn’t quite cold enough, so I added ice until the brine was very cool. Now add the Soy Sauce.
This is a critical point. If you don’t have cool brine, you are going to do one of two things. If your brine is actually hot, you will start to cook the chicken. Don’t do that. If your brine isn’t cool enough, you will be promoting the putting of your chicken in the danger zone for bacteria.
4.) Put the chicken in the brine. Make sure you have removed the innards of the chicken before putting it in the brine. I threw mine away, but if you like eating the garbage parts of the animal, save them and cook them on your own. Don’t bother inviting me over though. Let the chicken brine overnight. Make sure that it is fully submerged in the brine. If it isn’t, flip the bird over half way through the brining process.
Once the time comes to cook your chicken, there are a few things you need to remember. First and foremost, sanitation is key. Cross contamination can ruin your day. If you touch raw meat, don’t touch anything else until you have washed your hands. When making chicken this way, I probably wash my hands about ten times in the process. So, now that we have that in mind, let’s get this thing going.
1.) Turn on the grill. For my grill, I turned the two outside burners to high, left the two middle burners off, and turned my rotisserie burner to medium. The goal here is to get a stable temperature in your grill. Keep it between 350 and 400 degrees. I did mine around 375.
2.) Drink half a beer. This is one of the best parts of this recipe. As far as beer goes, don’t use a light beer. I like light beer from time to time, but never for cooking. It has next to no flavor. I go with Pabst Blue Ribbon for this recipe. Just to be clear, PBR is not cheap animal beer. It actually costs more to make than a lot of domestic beers. Also, its flavor is closer to beer than most things on the shelf. It has to do with the fermentables. I go with 16 oz cans for this recipe. I feel like they are a better size for holding the chicken. After you drink your beer, poke some extra holes in the top of the can so more steam can escape.
3.) Drain and dry the bird. Get the bird out of the brine, and pat it dry with paper towels. We’re going to put oil on this guy, and if he’s wet it will have a tougher time sticking.
4.) Massage the oil into the bird. Be sure to get it in all the nooks and crannies. Once the oil is on, season the outside of the bird liberally with salt, pepper, and the herb seasoning. Make sure you avoid cross contamination here.
5.) Once the bird is seasoned, and your grill is ready to go, we need to get the bird on the grill. First, we need to get our chicken on the can. This really isn’t that tough. Once he’s on there, move him to the grill. I use some foil under the bird to keep from getting flare ups. Get him on the grill and get him standing up. You’re going to get raw chicken on your hands, but that’s ok. Get him stable, and close the lid (not with chicken hands though).
From here on out, it’s a simple matter of monitoring. Because I used my rotisserie burner, I had to rotate my chicken every fifteen minutes or so. Just keep an eye on it. The only way to know when it’s done is by taking its temperature. You want to take the chicken off the grill when the temperature of the breast is close to 160, and the thighs are close to 170. Because of the way you are cooking the chicken, the temperatures will reach their destination at the same time.
6.) Once your chicken has reached his temperature, get him off the grill, and let him rest. You need to give him a ten minute rest so that the juices we’ve worked so hard to put in the bird stay in the bird. After the rest, carve him up, and enjoy!
We also thought we would share the sides we prepared this week. They are super simple and easy, and done on the grill. We don’t have air conditioning. For those of you who don’t have air conditioning, you know that in the summer, keeping the house cool can be a chore. This is one of the reasons we love the grill so much. It doesn’t heat up the house. Anyway, here are the side dishes we had with the chicken.
(Check out the recipes section for more pictures!)
2 Pounds asparagus
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 ¼ teaspoon Garlic Salt
½ teaspoon Black pepper
1.) Trim the woody ends off of the asparagus. After that, put them in a gallon Ziploc bag with all the other ingredients. Toss to coat.
2.) Turn on the grill, and take it to medium high. All that’s left now is grilling the asparagus. Make sure not to burn it. A pair of tongs is you friend here. Cook until the asparagus is tender, and the outside is just charred, about seven minutes.,
Grilled Sweet Potatoes:
3 Medium sized Sweet Potatoes
2 Tablespoons Olive oil
¾ Teaspoon Seasoned Salt
½ Teaspoon Black pepper.3
½ Teaspoon Cinnamon
Pinch of Nutmeg
1.) About an hour or so before grilling, we need to par-cook the taters. Stab them with a bunch of holes, and put them in a microwave for about three minutes. Flip them over and cook them for another minute and a half. Let them cool for a few minutes.
2.) Once you can handle the potatoes, cut them into ½ – ¾ inch slices. Place the potatoes in a gallon Ziploc bag with the other seasonings. Toss to combine. You can put these guys in the fridge now.
3.) Get your grill on medium high. Give it a good shot of non-stick cooking spray. Place the rounds on the grill, and cook them until the insides are heated through, and there is a good char on the outside. It should take about eight minutes. Enjoy!