Yes you can: how to make beer-can chicken – recipe

Tom Hunt

Even though it’s vulgar-looking, I’ve always wanted to cook beer-can chicken. The technique is more than just a novelty, however, and actually helps to moisten the meat. It’s also a fun way to use up beer dregs. So next time you get to the end of a can andfind it warm, flat and undrinkable, think beer-can chicken.

Beer cans are lined with a Bisphenol-A (BPA) plastic lining. Cook’s Illustrated did some tests to see if it was safe to cook with BPA residues, and came to the conclusion that “ the beer can cooking method is safe”. However, if you have any concerns, I would suggest using a vertical roaster.

For simplicity’s sake, I’ve written an oven-roast recipe, but if you have a barbecue with a lid, I’d encourage the adventure of barbecuing this dish outside: the flavour will be further enhanced by the fire and smoke.

Beer can chicken with a spent coffee rub

Although this may look like a chicken dancing the can-can, it’s much more than a novelty. When cooked with care, beer-can chicken is tender, moist and flavourful – a hat-trick of deliciousness that I want on my table. Cooking the bird upright allows the maillard reaction to work its magic, browning it on each side and creating a perfect golden crust.

So next time you find a little beer left in a can, don’t chuck it! Use this technique to upcycle it into an impressive party dish. It’s questionable how much steam the beer can actually provides, so I suggest pouring a little into the tray, to make sure there is plenty of steam to help keep the chicken moist.

Season or marinade the meat the day before, or at least four hours before cooking. Either way, take the chicken out of the fridge four hours before cooking, so it isn’t too cold when you come to cook it. This will reduce the cooking time and help it cook more evenly. The back of the oven is hottest, so have the chicken with its breasts facing towards the front for most of the cooking time, and turn it only if you need to brown the breasts further. This will help keep them moist.

I’ve created a rub marinade with spent coffee grounds, but, of course, you could roast the chicken plain with a little oil and sea salt rubbed into it before cooking, or indeed use any marinade of your choice.

Beer-can chicken

For the chicken
¼-⅓ x 500ml can beer
1 whole chicken

For the spent coffee ground rub (optional)
2 tsp spent coffee grounds
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 garlic clove
, peeled and crushed
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp treacle, maple syrup or honey

At least three hours before cooking, mixall the rub ingredients (if using), then massage into the chicken both inside and out.

To cook, remove all but the bottom shelf from the oven and heat it to 210C (190C fan)/400F/gas 6½. Season the chicken with sea salt and oil, or your choice of marinade.

Take a heavy roasting tin or enamel dish and pour the beer into the middle of the tray. Carefully lift the chicken on to the empty can, and slide the tray into the oven. Roast for 50-60 minutes, until the juices run clear, then leave to rest for 15 minutes while you make gravy from the meat juices and the leftover beer.

Courtesy: theguardian