I had been hearing about beer can chicken, the whole bird roasted over a can of beer on the grill, for years but had never tried it. While visiting my in-laws this summer my father-in-law made a very tasty beer can chicken. It was moist and flavorful and I was determined to come back to Belgium and try my hand at making my own version.
One only has to search the web to find numerous version of this simple roasted bird. Ingredients may vary but the methods are the same. Invert a whole roasting chicken over a half filled can of beer and grill away. Some recipes call for brining the bird first while others suggest spice rubs. Others have you roasting a completely naked bird. Beer is the most common liquid of choice, hence the beer-can moniker, but other liquids are used as well.
I opted for a spice rub and because I am in Belgium, a Belgian lambic was my beer of choice. Wanting a slightly sweet-spicy and barbecue flavor, my spice rub that included paprika, brown sugar and BBQ 3000 from Penzey’s Spices. (You can easily substitute another spice combination if you prefer). For the beer I chose a cherry lambic which infused the chicken with a slightly sweet-sour fruit flavor. When served alongside some duck fat roasted potatoes and a salad, all I can say is “oh-my”. This recipe is a keeper and is sure to make return appearances at my dinner table. So fire up your grill and break open a can of beer.
Cherry Lambic Beer Can Chicken
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon sweet paprika (or 1/2 tablespoon hot paprika)
1 tablespoon Penzeys Spice BBQ 3000
1 3 1/2 to 4 pound whole chicken
1 can cherry lambic beer
2 garlic cloves, crushed
- To make the spice rub, combine the salt, brown sugar, paprika and BBQ 3000 in a small bowl.
- Drink (or pour out) half of the can of beer. Place the crushed garlic cloves inside of the can.
- To prepare the grill, turn one burner to high and place a grill pan filled with 1/2 an inch of water on the other side of the grill.
- Generously season the chicken with the spice rub by massaging the rub into all sides of the chicken sprinkling any extra spice into the cavity of the bird.
- Place the cavity of the chicken, legs pointing down, onto the open can so that it supports the chicken uprights.
- Place the can, with the chicken on the grill inside of the grill pan.
- Grill the chicken, covered, until cooked through and an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken registers 165 degrees about 45-60 minutes.
- Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before carving.