Cook the Book: The Original Beer-Can Chicken

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Photograph from digitalprimate on Flickr

Beer-Can Chicken has probably been around ever since folks started sitting around campfires or grills drinking beer, so Elizabeth Karmel wisely takes absolutely no credit for its invention. But she's also smart enough to recognize a winning recipe when she sees one. She has two versions in her book Taming the Flame, but I prefer the one with the simple salt-and-pepper spice mix. You won't believe how moist and flavorful the chicken meat gets using this method.

Karmel also gives a recipe for beer-can turkey in her book, which you can win here.

The Original Beer Can Chicken
- makes 4 servings -
Karmel advises grilling the bird over indirect medium heat. She also says you can omit the dry rub and just use kosher salt and black pepper for classic roast chicken flavor.

Ingredients
1 whole roasting chicken, 4 to 5 pounds

Olive oil

3 tablespoons dry spice rub, divided

1 twelve-ounce can domestic beer, such as Budweiser


Procedure
1. Remove neck and giblets, and rinse the chicken inside and out if desired; pat dry with paper towels. Coat chicken lightly with olive oil; season with 2 tablespoons of dry rub.

2. Build a charcoal fire or preheat a gas grill. Open beer can, pour out about 1/4 of the beer, and make an extra hole in the top of the can with a church-key can opener. Sprinkle remaining tablespoon of dry rub inside beer can. Place beer can in the center of the cooking grate over indirect medium heat; sit chicken on top of can. Chicken will appear to be sitting on the grate.

3. Cover and cook chicken for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until the internal temperature registers 165°F in the breast area and 180°F in the thigh. Remove it carefully to a platter, holding the can with tongs. Let it rest for 10 minutes before carving.

Note: When removing the chicken from the grill, be careful not to spill the beer can—it and its contents will be hot.

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