If you’re an aficionado of beer, there is a high chance you’ve come across the idea of beer can chicken. After all, such recipes pair most beer aficionados’ two greatest obsessions: great-tasting food and amazing beer. What’s not to love?
Beer can chicken is a barbecue dish where a can of beer is used to help cook a whole chicken. The beer uses an indirect grilling method. A grill or an oven can be used for this dish. The beer can is inserted into the chicken’s cavity. During the cooking process, the liquid inside the beer can help moisturize and steam the chicken from the inside out.
This not only adds a unique beer flavor to the chicken meat, but it also does wonders when it comes to juiciness. If you’ve ever tried your hand barbecuing chicken, you know full well the range of challenges you’re up against. It boils down to avoiding dry chicken which is easier said and done.
There are tons of recipes available online that supposedly help ensure juicy chicken every single time you get in front of that barbecue. But as you probably already know from trying those recipes, nothing is guaranteed.
With beer can chicken, you have a very powerful aid that can help ensure tender, moist, and delicious chicken every time. If you can’t wait to sink your teeth into some succulent, well-grilled barbecued chicken meat, listen up.
You just have to set up your beer can chicken the right way and you pretty much in for a slam dunk of a barbecue. That’s right, I said slam dunk meaning you will get the moisture you need when you need it so you can enjoy a great plate of chicken barbecue.
You only need to have the right ingredients. There is a wide range of seasoning mixes and recipes available online. Pick one that fits your flavor preferences. The same goes with the beer ingredient.
Craft beer aficionados have a wide range of palates. Maybe you like a craft beer that is a little bit on the sweet side or maybe you are after a bitter aftertaste. Whatever excites your palate is fair game. You know your taste and preferences better than anybody else.
The same goes for the type of beer. Now that you know the flavor profile that you prefer, the same goes for ales and lager. You need to make that choice. The key here is to understand the limitations of ale.
While you can use any type of beer you prefer, keep in mind that there is a reason lager is usually the most used type of beer as far as beer can chicken recipes go. Lager ensures that the taste of the chicken inside doesn’t get too bitter.
Season Your Chicken Just Right
It’s important to make sure that you get the timing of the chicken seasoning right. You have to ensure that the chicken is properly marinated and seasoned before you cook. You can’t season at the last minute because the internal beer steaming might prevent the seasoning from soaking into the meat.
At the very least, the taste would seem shallow. You’d want a deep marinade so as much as possible marinate and season the chicken for several hours or overnight before you barbecue it.
Position the Chicken Properly
To get beer can chicken to produce the kind of culinary magic that you expect from it, you have to position the chicken properly. This means the chicken has to be standing over the beer can instead of lying on its side.
This positioning ensures that the chicken is cooked and steamed inside evenly. It’s also important to avoid direct heat. You want your chicken to have that perfect roasted color. You don’t want it to look burnt on the outside. The best way to do this is through indirect or reflected heat.
To get the most flavorful chicken, it’s imperative to marinate the chicken in a soak for at least 48 hours. If you want to go the dry rub route, give yourself one to two days. Just keep the chicken refrigerated and it should be okay. But give yourself the time ranges above for the best-tasting barbecue beer can chicken.
Basic Ingredients for the Best Beer Can Chicken
- One can of lager beer
- Seasoning or a dry rub mix. This can be a combination of paprika, thyme, cumin, and salt
- One whole chicken sauce. This can be made of a quarter cup of beer, apple cider, and brown sugar.
- Optional marinade. If you don’t want to use a dry rub and would like to soak your chicken for at least 48 hours in a marinade, try pineapple juice, soy sauce, and light chili powder.
How to Cook Beer Can Chicken
- Use one-quarter of a can of beer for your sauce. Next is combine the spices and season the chicken inside and out or marinate it.
- Using a baking pan, place the beer can at the center and prop the chicken on top of the can. Make sure that the can is securely fit inside the chicken’s cavity.
- Place the pan in an oven or indirect heat and pour a cup of water into the pan to help the chicken cook with steam.
- Cook for 35 minutes or until the chicken is brown
- Use the prepared beer sauce. Baste the chicken every 10 minutes. Make sure that there’s enough beer inside the can to steam the chicken from the inside out. The key is to pay close attention to the color of the chicken. You’re looking for a nice, golden roasted color.
- Once the chicken is cooked, remove the chicken from the pan and let it rest for about 10 minutes.
- Remove the chicken from the beer can and cut it up on a carving board.