Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Original Beer Can Chicken

I'm discovering that I have a huge problem when it comes to photos of the food, I never remember to take a picture of the finished product. When it came to the beer can chicken, by the time I remembered it was too late. None left on the platter! It is that good. Enough said.

Beer Can Chicken - adapted from the book "How to Grill" by Steven Raichlen (quite possibly the BEST grilling book ever printed, enough said)

1 large chicken (a big fatty is always good on the grill)
1 12 ounce can of beer
2-4 tbsp of the Basic BBQ Rub (see below)
1/2 tsp liquid smoke (optional)

Begin 2 hours before you're going to put the chicken on the grill. Brine your girl. Brining keeps her nice and moist. But, don't overdo it. Too long and it's rubbery!
Fill a large container or bowl with 2-3 quarts of COLD water. In a smaller measuring cup, dilute 1/2 cup of kosher salt in warm water. Add to the bowl of cold water and add your chicken, submerging it. I usually will add ice because we never have room in the fridge for the bowl. If you have room, put it in the fridge. (we brine pork and salmon too, but follow a different ratio and amount).
Don't brine the chicken for more than 2 hours.
Prepare your charcoal grill for indirect grilling and medium heat. Place a foil drip pan in the middle of the coals.
Remove from the brining liquid, rinse and pat dry with a paper towel inside and out.
Rub the chicken inside and out with 2-3 tbsp of the rub. Open the can of beer, immediately drink about 1/3 of the contents and then taking a church key bottle opener, punch a few extra holes in the top of the can. Put a teaspoon of the rub and a teaspoon of liquid smoke into the beer can. Sitting the can on a baking sheet, place the chicken legs down on top of the beer can. She'll sit nice an pretty right on the can.
This past weekend was the first time that I added the liquid smoke to the beer can and man o'man was that good! Highly recommend giving that a try, delish!
Stand the chicken on the grill, over the drip pan and cover. She'll be done in a little over an hour. (usually about an hour and 15 minutes). But check it with an instant read thermometer. She should be at about 160 degrees.
Carefully remove from the grill, this is where my purchase of the leather welding gloves comes in really handy! Just pick the chicken right up with the gloves on and remove the can.
Let her rest for a few minutes covered with foil before you carve and enjoy!

You know how the Sam's Club whole chickens come in packs of 2, we always make both of them at the same time and freeze the leftovers (if there are any).
Trust me on the liquid smoke thing too. It's deliscious!

Basic BBQ Rub

1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup paprika (I will use Penzy's Smoked Paprika for extra flavor)
1/4 cup kosher salt
3 tbsp course ground black pepper
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tsp celery seed
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl with your fingers to break up the brown sugar. Store extra in an empty jar, it will keep for several months. We make a double batch to last for the summer. This is great on BBQ spareribs too!

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