No doubt about it, barbecuing a spice-rubbed chicken on top of a beer can looks odd. But if the result is crackling crisp skin and moist, juicy meat, why not give it a try?
The beer in the open can simmers and turns to steam as the chicken roasts, which makes the meat remarkably juicy and rich-textured, similar to braised chicken. Plus, you don’t have to spend money on an expensive beer, a cheap brew works just fine.
BBQ enthusiast, pit master, and Traeger Grills ambassador, Josh “traegerdixon” Dixon provide us with some tips.
Tips And Tricks For The Best Beer Can Chicken
● The upright position allows the fat to drain away, giving you a crispy skin whilst the beer steams away flavoring the chook from the inside out. What you walk away with is a juicy, moist, and succulent bird.
● Start off at a lower temp as opposed to going high and overcooking the chicken. Gradually increasing the temp gives you a better overall cooked chicken.
● If short on time simply pat dry the skin and cavity, apply the rub, and then pop it straight onto the grill. However, if you have some to properly prepare, Josh recommends an overnight marinate to really lock in the flavours, something like a buttermilk and hot sauce combo.
Alternatively, you can air dry the chicken, uncovered in the fridge (always on the bottom shelf to avoid cross-contamination). This method will reduce the moisture content of the chicken giving you an even crispier skin, which we know is an absolute crowd pleaser!
If it’s a Traeger Grill you’re using, expect your chicken to wind up with an added smokiness thanks to the pellet grill system – a woodfired flavour like no other.
A hot tip for when you go to place the chicken onto the beer can for cooking, the easiest way is to place the beer directly onto the grill to begin with, then slide on your chicken. Just be careful when you go to place the chicken onto the beer can; the easiest way is to place the can directly onto the grill to begin with (open and with a few holes pierced to allow for more steam/flavour), and then slide the chicken on top. Just be careful to support the can – no one wants to see a good beer go to waste!
Once your bird looks crisp and ready, always, always set aside to rest before carving up and serving. You want to make sure those juices have properly settled in
Serves | 4 people
Prep Time – 5 mins
Cook Time – Approx. 1hr 20mins
• 1.5kg whole free-range chicken
• 1x 330ml can of beer – I prefer a Pale Ale for additional flavour than Lager
• Olive oil
• Traeger Chicken Rub (Pork & Poultry rub also works a treat). Alternately, combines black pepper and chili powder team up with citrus and cane sugar for a deliciously balanced addition to chicken and other poultry.
• Traeger Mesquite BBQ Wood Pellets
1. Set your Traeger Grill (or BBQ) to 175 Celsius (350F) and pre heat for 15mins
2. Use paper towel to pat dry the chicken
3. Lather a small amount of olive oil on the chicken
4. Apply a healthy coating of spice rub to the chicken not forgetting inside the cavity of the chicken as well
5. Open the can of beer – remove (drink don’t throw away!!) 1⁄4 of the beer and slide the chicken on top of the beer. (some people find it easier to place the beer in their grill first and then chicken on top)
6. You are aiming for an internal temperature of 73 Celsius (165F) (measured in the thickest part of the breast meat) – which should be about an hour.
7. Remove chicken from grill and let it rest for at least 10mins before carving.
8. Be careful when removing the beer can from the chicken as it will very hot
9. Slice and enjoy with your favourite sides – mines roast vegetables during the winter months and green salad and potato salad during the warmer months.