Looking For A Unique Grilling Adventure? Try This Easy Beer Can Chicken Recipe From America’s Test Kitchen
Photo courtesy America’s Test Kitchen
Cooking a whole chicken with a can of beer may feel like an odd choice, but one bite of this flavorful fall-off-the-bone meat will be enough to convince you that this is a perfect match.
For the spice rub:1/2 cup sweet paprika2 tablespoons kosher salt2 tablespoons garlic powder1 tablespoon dried thyme2 teaspoons ground celery seed2 teaspoons ground black pepper2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
For the chicken:2 cups wood chips, or 2 (3-inch) wood chunks1 whole chicken (about 3 1/2 pounds)1 can beer (12-ounce)2 bay leavesLarge disposable aluminum baking pan (13 by 9-inch)
For the spice rub: Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl. Measure 3 tablespoons for use in this recipe. Extra rub can be stored (or frozen) in an airtight container for several weeks.
For the chicken: Soak the wood chunks or chips in cold water to cover for 1 hour and drain. If using wood chips, divide them between two 18-inch squares of aluminum foil, seal to make two packets, and use a fork to create about six holes in each packet to allow smoke to escape.
Massage the spice rub all over the chicken, inside and out. Lift up the skin over the breast and rub the spice rub directly onto the meat. Open the beer can and pour out (or drink) about 1/4 cup. With a church key can opener, punch two more large holes in the top of the can (for a total of three holes). Crumble the bay leaves into the beer. Slide the chicken over the can so that the drumsticks reach down to the bottom of the can and the chicken stands upright; set aside at room temperature.
Light a large chimney starter filled two-thirds with charcoal (4 quarts, or about 60 briquettes) and allow to burn until the coals are fully ignited and partially covered with a thin layer of ash, 15 to 20 minutes.
Place the disposable pan in the center of the grill. Pour half of the coals into a pile on each side of the grill, leaving the pan in the center. Nestle 1 soaked wood chunk (or 1 foil packet) on top of each coal pile. Position the cooking grate over the coals, cover the grill, and heat until hot, about 5 minutes; scrape the grate clean with a grill brush.
Place the chicken (with the can) in the center of the cooking grate with the wings facing the coals (the ends of the drumsticks will touch the grate and help steady the bird, see the illustration below). Cover and grill-roast, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 170 to 175 degrees, 65 to 85 minutes.
With a large wad of paper towels in each hand, transfer the chicken to a platter or tray, making sure to keep the can upright; let rest for 15 minutes. Using wads of paper towels, carefully lift the chicken off the can and onto a platter or cutting board. Discard the remaining beer and can. Carve the chicken and serve.
Grill-roasting two chickens: There are some occasions when you may want to cook more than one chicken – when you have more guests to serve or if you’d like to have leftovers on hand. Here’s how:
Increase the number of wood chunks to 4 (or 4 cups of wood chips), use 6 tablespoons Spice Rub, two 3 1/2 pound chickens and increase the amount of charcoal to a three-quarters full chimney (4 1/2 quarts, or about 70 briquettes). In step 6, set the chickens (and cans) in the middle of the cooking grate, with the chickens breasts facing one another, about 3 inches apart (keeping the chickens close together ensures that they won’t hit the top of the domed grill lid). Grill-roast as directed.
Notes: Using the right amount of charcoal is crucial here; using too much charcoal will burn the chicken, while using too little will extend the cooking time substantially. The temperature inside the grill should be about 375 degrees at the outset and will fall to about 300 by the time the chicken is done. For added accuracy, place a grill thermometer in the lid vents as the chicken cooks. If you prefer, use lemonade instead of beer; fill an empty 12-ounce soda or beer can with 10 ounces (1 1/4 cups) of lemonade and proceed as directed.
This One-Pot Spring Chicken Recipe Is Our New All-Time Favorite
Getty / Neustockimages
Sure, sheet pan suppers are all the rage, and rightfully so. But sometimes you want a dish that is even easier and even more hands-off. Which for me, means a Dutch oven dinner. With a quick amount of prep and then a long slow cook in the oven, a one-pot dinner like this is practically foolproof, and very forgiving on timing.
RELATED: 30 Easy One-Pot Recipes, From Dinner to Dessert
My favorite this spring (and one that is in nearly constant rotation in our house), is a simple French-inspired dish of beans and chicken in an intense aromatic broth. The best part is that it is a technique that is easily adaptable, so once you know how, you can change up some of the ingredients or aromatics to make the flavor profile different. Start with the basic, and then feel free to play.
RELATED: 100+ Easy Chicken Recipes Your Family Will LoveThe Best One-pot Spring Chicken Recipe
The ingredients couldn’t be simpler (or more inexpensive):
1 cup small beans, preferably dried (I like flageolets, white beans, pinto beans, black-eyed peas)
1 medium yellow onion
1-2 small leeks
2-3 cloves garlic
Salt and pepper
1 package each of fresh thyme and sage
2 bay leaves (preferably fresh)
6-8 large bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
8 cups chicken stock (homemade or low-sodium store-bought)
And the recipe is as easy as it gets!
1. Soak the dried beans overnight in water. It is worth using dried here instead of canned, since canned are likely to break down a bit too much during the cooking. I love flageolets in this—their small size is perfect and the flavor is mild—but any small bean will work. (Consider stocking some beans from Rancho Gordo in your pantry this season; they carry the flageolets and other extraordinary heirloom varieties that will improve all your bean cooking.)
2. Preheat oven to 350°.
3. Chop the carrots, onion, the white and pale green part of the leeks, and mince the garlic. Sweat vegetables in ¼ cup olive oil in a large Dutch oven with the lid on for about 10-15 minutes over medium-high heat, stirring every few minutes, until they are softened but not browned. Season well with salt and pepper.
4. Drain the soaked beans and mix into the vegetables. Tie the thyme and sage with cotton twine into a large bouquet garnis and nestle with bay leaves into the mixture.
5. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper, then place on top of the vegetables skin side up. Add enough chicken stock to leave about a half-inch of chicken poking up out of the liquid (reserve extra stock in case you need it).
6. Cover and bring to a boil on the stovetop, then transfer to your oven for about 2 ½ hours.
7. To finish after cooking, remove the lid and remove the skin from thighs and with a pair of tongs, slide the bones out of the thighs (they should slip out easily). Remove the bay leaves and herb bundle. Give the pot a good stir which will naturally break up the chicken meat into large chunks (not shredded). Season to taste with salt and pepper.
If you want the broth to thicken a bit to more of a glaze, put the pot back on the stove over high heat until it reduces. But I like it with the broth (all the better for dunking hearty bread into). Serve with a light green salad as is, or over rustic skin-on mashed potatoes, rice, or polenta.Delicious variations on the basic recipe
Once you have made this recipe once, you will find endless ways to enhance it. Try these fun variations!
Add strips of lemon or orange zest or switch up the herbs.
Toss in a whole serrano or habanero pepper for some heat or swap out the garlic for ginger or lemongrass or both.
Replace 1 cup of the chicken stock with 1 cup of white wine.
Want it creamier? Stir in a couple tablespoons of butter or crème fraiche at the end of cooking. Want it punchier? Stir in a tablespoon of Dijon mustard, a pepper puree like aji amarillo, or an herb sauce like salsa verde or chimichurri.
Prefer white meat? Use 4 large split breast halves.
Not in the mood for chicken? Try it with cubes of pork shoulder, veal osso buco, or lamb shank. Garnish if you are feeling fancy with chopped parsley, toasted buttered bread croutons, or gremolata.