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How's this for an old-school recipe? Yet again faced with the conundrum of what to do with a whole chicken, I decided to make one of the most basic (and popular) recipes favored by BBQ chefs across America. Also called Beer Can Chicken or Beer Butt Chicken, this recipe is simple and presents great results.
Here's where personal choice comes into play. Some folks out there in Internet land swear that you should use a flavorful lager. Others will tell you a pale ale (especially an IPA) will be ideal. A few people note that dark beers, like stouts, will produce bitter results. Still others will insist that adding the beer will do nothing at all in terms of flavor and to just use water so good beer doesn't go to waste.
Just my observation--I didn't get an overpowering flavor of beer. I do think there was a slight beer-y flavor, and the chicken was amazingly moist. But I think all the chicken we get from Painted Hill is amazingly moist. And I would have used this style beer anyway, because it's what we have in the house to drink. I wouldn't go out and specifically buy a Budweiser just for this. So do whatever you choose, it's your beer and your chicken.
So I drank what was left. And maybe I opened a second bottle of beer. Just to make sure that this batch of beer was okay.
You could let your chicken marinate in the rub, or you could get it cooking right away.
Pick out a nice, sturdy, flat pan for your chicken to sit in, too.
Conversely, you could do the chicken on the grill. I love the way grilled chicken tastes--however, I dislike using my grill as an oven, as we have a propane tank and I'm a bit stingy with it. So I used the oven.
Now it just looks like it's kicking back and relaxing.
The taste of this moist, rich chicken will haunt you so much you might have to make it again the next day. And the next. And perhaps again after that. I loved it, and so will you!
Recipe: Coq Au Can
4-5 lb. chicken, whole
4-6 tbsp. BBQ Chicken Dry Rub (recipe here)
1 can beer (or 1 bottle beer and one clean, empty can)
1 large bay leaf
2 garlic cloves
1 very small onion (or 1/4-1/5 regular onion), cut into chunks
small palmful whole peppercorns
1/3 fresh jalapeno
Wash chicken (inside and out); dry thoroughly. Rub the outside of the chicken with the dry rub. Let marinate for up to 24 hours, if desired.
Carefully cut most of the top of the can off. Empty enough beer from the can to fit bay leaf, garlic, onion pieces, peppercorns, and jalapeno.
Spray outside of can (and baking sheet) very well with nonstick spray. Fold the ends of the chicken's wings underneath themselves to prevent burning. Carefully hold the chicken upright (legs down) and insert the can into the chicken cavity. Adjust chicken and/or can to maximize stability.
Preheat oven to 350F. Arrange racks to accommodate an upright chicken. Bake chicken for 1 hour or until cooked completely. Baste entire chicken every 15 minutes with pan drippings.
Carefully separate chicken from can, discarding hot liquid. Let chicken rest 10-15 minutes before cutting.