Thursday, March 19, 2009

Gastronomy: Bird is the Word, Beer Can Chicken

When my husband declared "beer can chicken" as the most delectable roasted chicken he has ever tasted, I was more than a little skeptical. If you simply look at our picture to the left, you probably understand what I am talking about: The small, roasting chicken standing upright with everything still intact except for its head. It's weird, right? Although, it looks a little uncomfortable, I can assure you that once you have tasted this treat, you will not be able to get it out of your head. I have even known some chicken haters (you know who you are) that are undeniably hooked. Like a teenager in love, I am infatuated with this technique—it is truly the most flavorful, tender, and unbelievably juicy bird that I have ever encountered. Here are a few tips to making what some call the "best chicken in the world."

  • First things first: Purchase the original Chickcan tool online or from your local cooking or hardware store. It is an essential component as it holds the beer can and the chicken in place. Whether using the oven or the grill, I would not attempt it without this very inexpensive tool.
  • When selecting a chicken, it should be over four pounds. If the cavity of the bird is too small, it will not fit on the can.
  • Using a 12 oz. can of your favorite beer, pour out 1/3 of the contents; reserve the beer for the pie pan or cooking tray that is used under the bird.
  • Remember to evenly distribute salt, pepper, and a dry rub all over the body of the chicken. You may purchase a pre-made blend at the grocery or create one of your own from the spice cabinet. Mesquite works really well when grilling, but I have made it with a French provincial herb blend that was terrific, too.
  • For additional flavor, place a half of a lemon or orange inside the cavity and a teaspoon of the rub in the can of beer.
  • Be sure to keep the temperature stable at 350 degrees for the entire 2 hours of cooking time.
  • If using a grill, smoking enhances the bird’s flavor dramatically, so we recommend using a combination of two different chips, mesquite and hickory.
  • Lastly, when done, remember to keep those bones. When buying a whole, roasting chicken, you get two meals for the price of one. Combine the bones with water, onions, and veggies to make a deliciously rich chicken stock.

With the weather finally turning around after our brutally morbid Midwest winter, we decided to pick up a fresh chicken and crank up the grill. It was just as delectable as I remembered—ridiculously moist meat with crispy, savory skin, and a light, lingering hint of citrus. I have spent most of my adult life trying to master whole roasted chicken and can honestly attest that beer can chicken is far superior to any that I have ever made. The next spring night, turn on the grill, crack open an iced cold one, and delight in this succulent bird—you will not be disappointed. Details:

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SandyWatersDesign May 18, 2009 at 11:52 AM  

My Home Depot carries the beer can chicken holder for under $3.

BloggerB May 18, 2009 at 11:52 AM  

Yes, I bought my at Loews.

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After becoming mothers, sisters Sarah Romine and Leah Weyandt wanted to marry the activities and interests that they experienced before motherhood with their new found lives with children. This was not always an easy task—traveling to obscure places, shopping at off-beat boutiques, and sipping lazy-afternoon cocktails doesn't always fit neatly with parenthood. Stemming from their frustration, they meticulously searched, and continue to search, for activities, establishments, and entertainment that they take pleasure in and their families benefit from. The result? Mod City Mom.

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