This unusual recipe makes some of the moistest, succulent, flavorful barbecued chicken we have ever tasted. The secret: an open can of beer is inserted into the cavity of the bird, which is cooked upright on the grill. Besides being incredibly tender, the bird makes a great conversation piece. The proper beverage? Beer, of course. I also find that the larger 18 to 24 ounce tall beer cans work better for standing up the bird in all its glory! The beer adds moisture in addition to flavor during the slow grill roasting process, and if wood chips are added a nice smoke flavor also imparts the most wonderful tasting chicken. My own Finger Lickin Rub adds just the right spice and you can order it from the links provided below. And since summer officially is still on until Tuesday, this is one more shot at getting the grill fired up before the Autumnal Equinox on the 22nd.
Serves 4 to 6
1 large whole chicken (4 to 5 pounds)
3 tablespoons Finger Lickin Rub¹
1 can (18-24 ounces) beer
1. Remove and discard the fat just inside the body cavities of the chicken. Remove the package of giblets, and set aside for another use. Rinse the chicken, inside and out, under cold running water, then drain and blot dry, inside and out, with paper towels. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the rub inside the body and neck cavities, the rub another 1 tablespoon all over the skin of the bird. If you wish, rub another 1/2 tablespoon of the mixture between the flesh and the skin. Cover and refrigerate the chicken while you preheat the grill.
2. Set the drip pan in the center of the grill, between the mounds of coals. Place the food on the grate over the drip pan, and cover the grill. You’ll need to add about 10 to 12 fresh briquettes to each side after an hour of cooking. If you want to add a smoke flavor, add 1 to 2 cups of presoaked wood chips, or 2 to 4 chunks, to the coals just before you start to cook, and again whenever you replenish the coals. Set up the grill for indirect grilling* placing a drip pan in the center. If using a charcoal grill, preheat it to medium. If using a gas grill, place all the wood chips in the smoker box and preheat the grill to high; then, when smoke appears, lower the heat to medium. (NOTE: Click image for a larger view.)
3. Pop the tab on the beer can and take a good sip or until it is within an inch of the top. Using a “church key” –style can opener, make 6 or 7 holes in the top of the can. Then spoon the remaining dry rub through the holes into the beer. Holding the chicken upright, with the opening of the body cavity down, insert the beer can into the cavity.
4. When ready to cook, if using charcoal, toss half the wood chips on the coals. Oil the grill grate. Stand the chicken up in the center of the hot grate, over the drip pan. Spread out the legs to form a sort of tripod, to support the bird.
5. Cover the grill and cook the chicken until fall-off-the-bone tender, 2 hours. If using charcoal, add 10 to 12 fresh coals per side and the remaining wood chips after 1 hour.
6. Using tongs lift the bird to a cutting board or platter, holding the metal spatula underneath the beer can for support. (Have the board or platter right next to the bird to make the move shorter. Be careful not to spill hot beer on yourself.) Let stand for 5 minutes before carving the meat off the upright carcass. (Toss the beer can out along with the carcass.)
* Indirect grilling on a Charcoal Grill:
To set up you grill for indirect grilling, light the coals.
When they are blazing red, use tongs to transfer them to opposite sides of the grill, arranging them in two piles. Some grills have special half-moon-shaped baskets to hold the coals at the sides; others have wire fences that hook onto the bottom gate. Let the coals burn until they are covered with a thin layer of gray ash.
Set the drip pan in the center of the grill, between the mounds of coals. Place the food on the grate over the drip pan, and cover the grill. You’ll need to add about 10 to 12 fresh briquettes to each side after an hour of cooking.
If you want to add a smoke flavor, add 1 to 2 cups of presoaked wood chips, or 2 to 4 chunks, to the coals just before you start to cook, and again whenever you replenish the coals.
Man oh man, this stuff really is finger lickin good! We use it for all our barbecues on chicken, pork, beef, shrimp, scallops…you name it, if you can grill it you can season it with our Finger Lickin’ Que Rub!