Friday, June 22, 2012

Three Tips from the Pros for the BEST Beer Can Chicken

Beer Can Chicken Roaster and Flavor Enhancer w/ Potato Prongs
Deluxe Beer Can Chicken Roaster with Potato Prongs
Beer-can chicken is a classic American technique for cooking a whole chicken in a smoker or on a grill. Anyone who's ever had the pleasure of tasting beer-can chicken cooked by a BBQ champion or professional will most likely rave that it was unbelievably moist and juicy, tender, perfectly done throughout (white meat not dried out and dark meat succulent), with wonderfully golden-brown crispy skin and with just the right balance of seasonings infusing all of the meat (not just right under the skin) without overwhelming the natural flavor of the chicken.

Beer-can chicken isn't difficult to make, but if you want to master the technique for blue-ribbon results every time, here are three tips from the pros to help you achieve championship quality beer-can chicken every time.

1.  First, don't use a beer can. Wait a minute - it's called BEER CAN chicken, right?? So what should you use instead? Use what the pros use: A sturdy metal upright chicken roaster like the Deluxe Beer-Can Chicken Roaster with Potato Prongs. Face it, a beer can is thin and flimsy, easily tipped over, and only usable once. In contrast, this professional-quality vertical chicken roaster is built to last and features a stable base to support the chicken, holding it in place and also providing a surface on which you can add vegetables such as onions, peppers, squash etc. And the potato prongs are a stroke of brilliance, letting you roast potatoes or sweet potatoes simultaneously and ensuring that they cook evenly because the prongs transmit heat into the middle of the potatoes. Most importantly, the can-like cylinder is removable and can be filled with any liquid you'd like, greatly broadening your flavor horizons by letting you use any type of beer (not just canned brands), or wine, or a favorite marinade, etc. Plus it's washable and reusable, and won't crush or dent or tip over.

2.  Drink half of the beer first. Okay, well, you don't really have to drink half of the beer if you don't want to. The point is, don't cook with a full can of beer. Pour off half of the beer (and drink it if you wish, or use it to make a basting sauce), then add your seasonings such as herbs, spices, chopped onion, garlic cloves and the like to the beer left in the can or cylinder. This will prevent the liquid from bubbling over and splashing on the heat source and will also allow the chicken interior to be steamed and flavored by the aromatic steam rising from the can.

3.  Crossed legs will keep your chicken safe. Huh? Safe from what?? From two things, actually: From tipping over or otherwise shifting, and also from being underdone. After inserting the can or cylinder into the chicken cavity and placing the chicken upright on your smoker or grill, make sure the chicken legs are bent forward. Doing so will add stability and support. More importantly, it will give you a way to check for doneness: You'll know the chicken is fully cooked when the legs move freely... No, not on their own, silly! No dancing chickens here. I mean that the legs will bend at the joints when you tug on them. Of course, to be completely sure that the chicken is at a safe temperature, you'll want to use a grill thermometer to make sure that the internal temperature has reached 180°F.

If you have a favorite recipe for beer-can chicken, or your own tips that you'd like to share, please leave a comment here.

Zestfully yours,

PS: Here's a bonus tip: Keep the chicken skin on and rub with a poultry-friendly blend of seasonings before smoking or roasting on your grill--I recommend Bone Suckin' Poultry Seasoning Rub or Gator Hammock Gator Sprinkle.

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