When you think of summer, you might imagine making barbecue chicken while sipping on craft beer. But have you ever considered putting the two together? Beer-can chicken is one of the best American cooking techniques because it keeps the meat nice and moist while at the same time imparting flavor. Of course, your drunken bird will only cook properly if you use the right strategies. Follow these steps to make the perfect beer-can chicken:
1. Gather your ingredients
In the case of beer-can chicken, you’ll need a whole chicken, beer and a spice rub. You can make your own rub to your liking or pick up a premade version. If you do it yourself, consider combining onion powder, cumin, paprika, chili powder, garlic power, salt and pepper. Taste the rub to see how you like it, then make adjustments.
Select a beer that has plenty of flavor – the taste of the liquid will infuse the chicken, which is why bolder is better. Stouts are a great option for beer-can chicken because they have a strong taste that will hold up to the meat.
2. Prep your beer
Start by opening your beer can and pouring 1/3 to 1/2 of it in a glass, which you can drink if you want. Then add some of your spice rub to the can. The seasoning will mix with the liquid and add flavor to the chicken from the inside out as the bird cooks. Then poke a hole near the top on the side of the can – this is why you don’t want to start with a full can.
3. Prep your chicken
Your chicken-prep process will depend on the type of bird you buy. No matter what kind of chicken you use, you’ll want to grill one that’s been brined. You can purchase a whole chicken already brined or do so yourself. Fill a 2-gallon pot with water then add 3/4 cup of salt, 2/3 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup of olive oil. Heat the water and stir to dissolve the salt and sugar. Then turn off the heat, allowing the water to get to room temperature, add the chicken and refrigerate for a minimum of four hours
Once your chicken is ready to grill, rub some oil and spices on the bird. You may want to use a beer-can chicken stand. The metal wire holds the can upright so you can slide the bird right on top without worrying about whether the setup will fall over in the grill. Place the stand with the beer and chicken in a tin pan and slide it in your ready-to-go grill. Heat the grill to 345 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook the chicken for about 90 minutes, checking the internal temperature for doneness.