The first time I had Beer Can Chicken was last summer while visiting my brother, Larry and sister-in-law, Aggie. I don't know why I waited a year to make it myself. This is such a fun and delicious way to make chicken on the grill. It turned out super good. Give it a try this Memorial Day weekend or during the summer. It will make a great presentation for your family and friends.
The recipe I followed was from Steven Raichlen's cookbook, How to Grill, The Completed Illustrated Book of Barbecue Techniques. My mother-in-law gave us this book years ago and it's an excellent all-around barbecue cookbook.
See below for the Barbecue Rub recipe and some of my tips with preparing and cooking this chicken.
Recipe from Steven Raichlen’s How To Grill cookbook
1/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1/4 cup paprika
3 tablespoons black pepper
3 tablespoons coarse salt (I used Kosher)
1 tablespoon hickory-smoked salt or more coarse salt
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons celery seeds
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and stir or whisk to mix. Transfer to an airtight jar or container and store away from heat and light. The rub will keep for at least 6 months.
Makes 1 cup
Tips: Use a 12 oz can of beer. Pour half out (you can drink it of course or use it along with water to soak your wood chips, if using). I put 2 teaspoons of the barbecue rub in the beer. I put 2 heaping teaspoons of the rub in the body and neck cavities of the chicken. I rubbed canola oil on the outside of the chicken and then applied about 3 teaspoons of the rub all over the outside of the chicken.
I bought a Beer Can Chicken holder at Lowes for a few dollars and it worked great. There were no worries that the chicken was going to fall over. I also used a wood chip smoking box that I also purchased at Lowes along with a bag of Apple wood chips. I have a gas grill and I've never used the wood chips but always wanted to try them. I soaked about 4 handfuls of the wood chips for at least 30 minutes. You place them in the smoking box and place on the heated grill for about 10 minutes until it gets really smoking. Then you put the chicken on the grill on the side with no burner on. (this will keep it from burning) You keep the other side burner on and close the lid. You may not think the chicken will cook but it does. It takes about 1 1/4 hours but I recommend checking the temperature at 1 hour. It should be about 180 degrees when inserted in the thigh. It smelled incredible. I'm sure all my neighbors were jealous : )
Let it rest for at least 5 minutes before taking it off the beer can. My husband used tongs placed under the chicken to pull it carefully off the beer can.
Mom's Cooking Club Lesson: You can vary your can with root beer, cola or lemon lime soda. You can also use your own favorite barbecue rub.