Anyone who has grilled a chicken in the last decade is familiar with the beer can trick. The sight of a humble chicken stoically roasting with a beer can stuck in its butt has become an icon of the backyard cookout. The technique is not just comical - it's brilliant. The juices from the beer steam the interior, keeping the meat moist and cooking it through faster, while the skin crisps. The breast meat stays juicy, the leg meat cooks through, and the resulting cooking liquid of beer inundated with pepper and chicken drippings makes a tasty jus for dipping.
- 1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons grated nutmeg
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
- 1 chicken (about 4 pounds), washed and patted dry
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 can (about 12 ounces) lager beer
Light a grill for indirect medium heat, about 325°F.
Mix the spices together. Rub the chicken inside and out with 2 tablespoons of the spice mixture, and rub the outside of the chicken with 2 teaspoons of the oil.
Open the can of beer, and pour off 1/4 cup (toss if you don't want to drink it). Stir the remaining spice mixture into the beer in the can. Coat the outside of the can with the remaining oil. Lower the chicken onto the can, inserting the can into the cavity of the bird. Position the chicken so that the legs and the can form a tripod, which holds the chicken upright. Put the chicken and can on the grill away from the heat, cover the grill, and cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the inside of a thigh registers about 165°F, about 1 hour and 10 minutes.
Transfer the chicken, still on the can, to a sturdy surface. Holding the can with tongs and gripping the chicken with a towel, twist and lift the chicken off the can. Transfer to a carving board. Let rest for 8 to 10 minutes, carve, and serve.
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