It's the stuff legends are made of...
Known by many as Beer Can Chicken, known by many more as Beer Butt Chicken. But as they say, a Rose by any other name...
There are two reasons to cook a chicken with a can of liquid in it's cavity. First, the steam from the liquid makes for the most moist, most tender chicken you can imagine. Lately several grilling specialty blogs have done side by side taste tests using different liquids. From water to Guinness Stout and about anything in between, the consensus appears to be that the liquid does not matter. Blind taste tests, it's all pretty much the same.
It's just fun (in a 7th grade way) to say Beer Butt Chicken. Not nearly enough fun to say 7-Up Butt Chicken, but that's what I used.
Which brings up the other reason this cooking method makes the best chicken...
Just slice a lemon in half. Actually for authenticity, slice at a little angle so the ends of the lemon are pointed straight and look... Perky (sorry).
Then slip the lemon between the skin and the meat of the breast....
And you get that special look.
BUT, this is more than just cosmetic.
As the chicken cooks, the lemon OOZES hot lemon juice into the breast meat. Infusing that citrus taste deep into the meat.
And it works!
Really rich deep lemony taste. Unlike anything you have ever tried. As good as it gets.
And, just in case you are serving this to actual 7th graders and prefer not to have them giggle throughout dinner...
If you slice off thick slices of the lemon (no tips), this method works just as well.
But really... Not nearly as much fun!
BTW, in the photo the aluminum foil bikini is just for show. Doesn't help nor hinder the cooking process... just for that 7th grader in all of us.
Here's what I did...
You don't need much...
1 whole chicken (I made two. I have been waiting for a sale and found them at 69 cents a POUND!!! I have a 5 pound bird for less than $3.50 cents!!!
You also need a dry rub of spices. Commercial rub is fine. I used a Cajun mix.
For mine, you need a lemon and since I was making a lemon chicken, I decided to use a can of 7-Up for my liquid. Again, not as important what you use. Beer is fine and more fun to say, but soda, juice can... I have even used a Tomato Juice can and it is all good!
The technique is very simple...
Remove about 1/2 of the soda. This step may be the only real advantage to using beer... But I digress.
Cut the top off the can and add a big TBS of the rub to the remaining soda.
Take about 3 TBS of the rub and rub the bird generously. Be sure to rub this between the skin and the meat. Now is when you insert the lemons.
If you have a handy specialty beer can chicken frame form (available at most hardware stores, any grilling specialty store or on-line), slip the can in the form. Or, carefully lower the chicken over the can and use the legs to hold the bird.
I like to line the bottom with tin foil, making a little valley. There will be lots of juices dripping. This way it helps deflect the heat, and steams the chicken in the juices.
And cook... I make mine on my grill (indirect heat, for about an hour and a half). Of course you can move this inside and cook in an oven. I would set it at 350 degrees, be sure to put it in a pie plate to collect the juices.
VERY IMPORTANT... No matter how you cooked the bird, internal temperature of a perfectly finished grilled chicken is 160-165 degrees when measured in the thickest part of the thigh. Any less and the bird is not done. Any higher and for every degree higher, the bird will be just a bit more dried out...
You can tell when the bird is done when the skin on the legs starts to pull away from the bone. But better, use a meat thermometer and make sure it is 160 degrees. measure at the thickest part of the bird and measure in several places.
Let it rest on the can for about 20 minutes before you try to remove the can from the bird cavity. Then rest anpther ten minutes before you cut into the bird. This is VERY important as it allows the juices to stay in the meat and not drip out as you cook.
52 (more actually)... 52 BBQ and Grilling Secret Extras. You Too can become MASTER OF YOUR DOMAIN (as long as your domain is your own backyard)! Be "That Guy" (or Gal) who does back yard open fire cooking just a bit better than the neighbors. It is the little things that will set you apart.
52 BBQ and GRILLING SECRET EXTRAS ... If you are a once a month (or summer) griller, these recipes and techniques are for you. New and simple dishes that will make you shine. If you cook often in a complex series of grills and dedicated smokers in an outdoor kitchen, I bet I still have a few dishes you can add to your repertoire. APPETIZERS, SIDE DISHES, CONDIMENTS, MAIN DISHES and even DESSERTS To MAKE you MASTER OF YOUR DOMAIN!!!
I will be adding something new to the list (already above the 52, but still LOTS more coming). Best way to keep up is to "follow" my 52 Grilling Time Secrets Board on Pinterest. Anytime I have a new recipe for your grilling party I will add a pin.
Of course, I would love to have you share this idea with your friends... Show some Pinterest Love and PIN ME to your favorite site or better still onto a group site...
Thanks and I'll save a rib for you!
Thanks and I'll save a rib for you!