Patty Leon: Be a tailgate party hero with delicious Beer-Can Chicken

Patty Leon: Be a tailgate party hero with delicious Beer-Can Chicken

It’s football season! For folks like me, that means it’s time for tailgate foods: chicken wings, nachos, chili-cheese fries and, of course, ice cold BEER!

Beer and chicken combine well together in one of my favorite recipesโ€”Beer-Can Chicken.

The first time I heard of Beer-Can Chicken, I thought, โ€œWhy in the world would you sacrifice a can of beer in that manner?โ€ I mean, it’s bad enough you’re wasting precious beer, but shoving the can up the bird’s innards, too? Jeepers! But a few years later and a bit wise when it comes to food, I must confess that if you’re going to sacrifice a brew, this is likely the best thing to use it for.

And if you don’t feel comfortable sticking an aluminum can up the bird, they now have cooking kits you can use.

I’m a purist, though.

Just give me a good can of beer and that will do.

No fancy equipment required.

Beer-Can Chicken is actually easy to make.

First marinate the chicken however you wish.

Open a can of beer and pour one-third of the beer into the roasting pan, then place the open can in the center of the pan and slide the chicken on top of it. I like roasting my chicken between 375-400 degrees, and usually 90 minutes does the trick, though it depends on the size of the bird.

If you don’t want to pour some of the beer into the roasting pan, just drink a third of it, if you have self-control. I don’t, so it’s usually one can of beer for the bird and one can for me โ€” the chef.

The beer keeps the chicken moist and imparts flavor. This same technique can be done outside in a covered gas or charcoal grill.

I’ve found that darker beers or stouts are great for making barbecue-flavored Beer-Can Chicken.

They add a woodsy flavor profile that blends well with the smoke from the grill and the barbecue sauce.

When I make my Rosemary and Garlic Beer-Can Chicken, I rub the bird with butter โ€” on the skin and pushed under the skin โ€” and herbs and spices, but I also add sprigs of fresh rosemary and a few whole garlic gloves into the can of beer. The beer steam blends with the herbs and spices, and that gets infused into the meat.

If you don’t want to use beer, you can substitute chicken broth โ€” my friend used a blend of chicken broth and orange juice, which was fantastic โ€” but you can’t call that Beer-Can Chicken! That would be more like Chicken Broth/Orange Juice Chicken, cooked in a fancy equipment pan thingy.

Some people call Beer-Can Chicken โ€œDrunken Chicken,โ€ and I can live with that. But for me, Drunken Chicken is when I cook chicken on the stovetop, add teriyaki or barbecue sauce or another flavor of choice, hit it with some bourbon and light it up. That creates a thick crust on the chicken’s skin and a great pan sauce with which you can top the chicken once plated.

I have, on occasion, used a spray bottle filled with a mixture of apple or cinnamon bourbon, chicken broth and apple cider vinegar to make my Oven Drunken Beer-Can Chicken. I follow the same steps as regular Beer-Can Chicken, but every so often, I open the oven, carefully slide out the bird, spritz the chicken with the mixture and then place it back in the oven to continue cooking. Give Beer-Can Chicken a try and let me know what you think. I happen to enjoy it served with a side of hot, crispy fries and some Beer Cheese Dip!

Have a recipe you’d like to share? Let Patty know at pleon@coastalcourier. com.



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