Beer and chicken: one of the best flavor combinations ever invented. Although you may be more used to cracking open a can of beer to drink with your chicken, you can also cook with it to create perfectly grilled chicken that’s juicy on the inside and crispy on the outside. Safety tip: do not forget to open the can! Pick up a Sanderson Farms Whole Chicken on sale and try our Beer Can Chicken for yourself this weekend!
1 (4 to 4 1/2 lbs) whole chicken
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 can beer, optional
Preheat gas grill to medium heat (about 400° F). Remove giblets from chicken; trim excess skin and fat. Loosen skin over the breast and thigh meat. Rub oil, salt and pepper under skin onto the breast meat and leg meat. Rub a little on the skin and inside the cavity.
Hold chicken upright and fit opening of the cavity over vertical grilling rack or large beer can (can should be open and full of beer). Turn off half of the grill burners. Place chicken on grill rack over cool side of grill.
Close lid. Grill until chicken is very tender and an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh without touching bone registers 165° F, about 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes. Transfer chicken to clean cutting board. Let rest for 10 minutes before carving.
Calories: 418, Fat: 27 g (7 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 132 mg, Sodium: 1286 mg, Carbohydrates: 0 g, Fiber: 0 g, Protein: 41 g.
No Beer Substitutions and No Grill Options
If you don’t have a can of beer or a vertical cooking rack at home, there are a number of other options you can try. For starters, any soda can will do, from Coke to Mountain Dew to Dr. Pepper or even good old soda water. Canned juices also work well, and if all you have is an empty can, you can fill it with water or chicken stock in a pinch.
No grill? No problem. You can cook Beer Can Chicken in a smoker or an oven. Just make sure whatever method you choose for cooking your chicken, you keep things safe. Placing the chicken on your grill or in the oven can be tricky, and removing it can be even trickier. If you’re using a rack with a shallow drip tray, it may become filled with hot fat which can spill and cause burns. Likewise, your can is full of hot liquid, so be careful when handling.
Carving Your Bird
With Beer Can Chicken, there are two methods for carving your bird. The first and simplest is to leave the chicken on the can and carve it in its upright position – assuming it doesn’t literally fall off the bone! Just be sure to allow time for the chicken to rest before carving. The second method is to remove the can and carve the chicken horizontally on a chopping board. Be very careful when lifting the bird from the can. Your best bet is to wiggle it to make sure it isn’t stuck and then gently lift the chicken off the can using a pair of tongs. Place the bird breast side up on your chopping board. Remove the legs and thighs, then cut the breast meat by making a deep cut along each side of the breast bone and working the meat off the rib cage with your knife or by hand. Remove the wings from the breast meat by cutting at the joint.