My dad has been making beer can chicken for a while, and this was my first try. This is a great meal to make for 4-6 people and gives you a good hour outside of beer drinking, should you want to check on the chicken every so often.
The beer primarily serves two purposes. 1) It makes the chicken moist. 2) It helps prop the chicken up on the grill, and as a result the liquid gets hot and evaporates into the meat.
If you have a signature rub you like for poultry, I suggest you use it on the chicken. We did a standard store bought rub consisting of your average stuff, like: salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne, mustard, etc. I recommend making your own rub consisting of a variation of the above mentioned ingredients. Even with just salt and pepper, this chicken will still be good. You will need about 1/2 cup ++ of spice rub. If you have extra, you can put it into the beer.
I bought a free range organic chicken (perhaps happy chickens taste better, less tuff! he he) from the specialty meat market and it was slightly larger than a roasting chicken you might buy at the grocery store. You will need to remove the neck and gizzards from the chicken (if you have dogs, they will love you forever if you grill this and give it to them!). Then, take olive oil and coat the entire chicken both inside and out. Yes, you will have to stick your hand inside the chickens “hoo-hoo”.
Then, rub the chicken all over (in and out) with freshly ground pepper and sea salt. Then repeat with the rub. Stuff the neck of the chicken with fresh herbs, onions, garlic or anything you have in the fridge that might be a good addition (scallions, peppers, etc).
Drink a little less than half the beer. We used a light beer (bush light, my dad’s favorite, no comments on this please) but I think using different types of beer could alter the flavors slightly in a good way. This time of year, an October Fest or Pumpkin Ale could be a fun option.
The beer can will assist in holding up the chicken. You will stick the beer can up the chicken’s hoo-hoo. (If you watch SouthPark religiously from the CHEF era, you will know where this word comes from.) You can tuck the legs of the chicken behind and it will assist in holding the chicken up.
You will want to grill the chicken on indirect heat. Depending on how many burners you have on your gas grill, turn all up on high heat until it gets good and hot, about 230-250 degrees. Then, turn all burners off except one. Place the chicken on the off burner, near the burner that is on.
Cook chicken for about 1 hour and 30 minutes. Adjust cooking times for the size of your chicken (less or more). Cook until internal temp reaches 160-170 degrees.
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Voila- you have great chicken! I served mine with grilled romaine and roasted pepper salad and baked beans, all of which can be cooked on the grill to save trips inside and out.