Chicken · Grilling

Northwoods Beer Can Chicken

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I love chicken. There are so many different ways to cook it, from simple to fancy and everything in between. It’s tasty on its own, or can take on a million different flavors. In the winter, I love a good roast chicken with smashed potatoes & brown gravy. (Stay tuned, I just might share that secret with you this Fall). In the summer, it’s a rare day that I’m even remotely interested in having my oven on for two hours. So if I’m in the mood for a whole chicken – which sometimes is just because I like it and sometimes because it’s so simple – I go for Beer Can Chicken. 

I don’t think it really matters what kind of liquid you use. I’ve used beer, and soda, & don’t think I can really tell the difference.. What does matter is that you season the liquid. I love Penzeys’ Northwoods seasoning for Beer Can Chicken, but you can experiment with different rubs to find your favorite. 

BCC does take a while to cook, so you’ll need a little patience. Try to speed it up by increasing the heat, and all you’ll get is a black bird that’s not quite done inside. It’s still done in almost half the time it would take in the oven, and requires no basting or other intervention. The meat will be tasty, tender, and moist.

It takes a little practice to get the can back out when the chicken is done, but if you’re having trouble just carve the chicken right in the pan with the can still in it. There will be a lot of liquid, but you can work around that if you need to. I enlisted the help of my carver-in-residence to lift the bird up while I pulled the can out with a neoprene oven mitt. Don’t use fabric, it’ll just get wet & burn you. I’ve done it alone, too, by stabbing the can with the tine of a chicken-lifter & holding it down with one hand while pulling the chicken the other way with a carving fork. Messy, but effective. You’ll find a printer-friendly version of the recipe at the bottom of this page.

Ingredients:

1 whole chicken, about 6 pounds

Penzeys Northwoods seasoning, or your favorite rub

1 can of beer or soda (you get to drink the other half!)

rimmed pan you don’t mind getting a bit charred (disposable aluminum pans work well for this, but you’ll need a sturdier pan to put under it for carrying.)

Preparation:

1.) Poke a couple of extra holes in the top of the can. Drink or pour off half of the liquid. Put in a teaspoon or so of your seasoning. You can also add chopped onion, garlic, or whatever else you like & can fit through the holes.

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2.) Preheat your grill. Rub your seasoning all over the chicken. Stand the can in the pan, and put the chicken on the can so that the can goes up the hole in the bottom of the chicken. Adjust as needed so that the whole unit can stand on its own. The legs can help make a tripod. (Note: If you’re using a disposable aluminum pan, put it on a tray or cookie sheet to take it to the grill & back.)

3.) Put the chicken, pan and all, on the grill and close the lid. Turn your heat down to medium. Cook for about an hour, or until internal temperature of the thigh meat reaches 165° on a meat thermometer. You’ll want to check on it once or twice to be sure your grill isn’t too hot, so the skin & seasoning aren’t getting scorched.

4.) Carefully remove the can from the chicken, carve, & serve.

Northwoods Beer Can Chicken


Ingredients


1 whole chicken, about 6 pounds
Penzeys Northwoods seasoning, or your favorite rub
1 can of beer or soda (you get to drink the other half!)
rimmed pan you don’t mind getting a bit charred

Directions


1.) Poke a couple of extra holes in the top of the can. Drink or pour off half of the liquid. Put in a teaspoon or so of your seasoning. You can also add chopped onion, garlic, or whatever else you like & can fit through the holes.
2.) Preheat your grill. Rub your seasoning all over the chicken. Stand the can in the pan, and put the chicken on the can so that the can goes up the hole in the bottom of the chicken. Adjust as needed so that the whole unit can stand on its own. The legs can help make a tripod. (Note: If you’re using a disposable aluminum pan, put it on a tray or cookie sheet to take it to the grill & back.)
3.) Put the chicken, pan and all, on the grill and close the lid. Turn your heat down to medium. Cook for about an hour, or until internal temperature of the thigh meat reaches 165° on a meat thermometer. You’ll want to check on it once or twice to be sure your grill isn’t too hot, so the skin & seasoning aren’t getting scorched.
4.) Carefully remove the can from the chicken, carve, & serve.

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