Serious Eats: Recipes

Beer Cola-Can Chicken

I was discussing Memorial Day eats on the ride home with my coworker and mentioned the possibility of smoking some beer-can chicken this weekend. This utterance caused my workmate to drop his jaw, take his eyes off the road to stare directly at me and exclaim with puzzled excitement, "What the hell is that?!?!" His response left me equally dumbfounded, since beer-can chicken has been such a staple in my grilling repertoire that I couldn't fathom another human being not knowing the gastronomic joys this bird brings.

The virtues of grilling a chicken vertically over a beer-can, which creates an extremely moist and flavorful bird, are disseminated countless times over the internet and cookbooks, but I've never let the phrase "beer-can chicken" pigeonhole this into a singular dish. Instead I use the concept as a starting point for endless experimentation to create some unique versions of this grilling classic. This time around I took a cue from Steven Raichlen and tried it out with cola, Dr Pepper (my favorite cola) to be exact, which resulted in a subtly sweet and spicy bird that easily held its own against those made with beer. So on Memorial Day, this king of grilled chicken recipes can be a new and exhilarating experience for the uninitiated and seasoned pros alike.

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