How to make Beer Can Chicken

August 1, 2010 (CHICAGO) Peapod Grocer Tony Stallone says it's easier than you may think. He's visits ABC7 to walk through the steps of this odd-sounding but delicious grilling legend.

(FROM TONY STALLONE) -- Get out the beer cans, get out the grill and get ready for some amazingly moist Beer Can Chicken! Awhile back Peapod posted the recipe on our Facebook Fan page, one that I first did 12 years ago. I was amazed at the response from fans, how many people loved it and how many were inspired to try this grilling legend.

There are many variations of this great recipe, but one thing everyone agrees on is that it is easier to do than most people think. The results are fantastic with a moist, flavorful chicken every time. I thought this Sunday would be a great day to go into the dos and don'ts of this fabulous recipe.

  • Do wash your chicken inside and out and do pat it dry with a paper towel before seasoning.

  • Do wash your hands each and every time you touch raw chicken.

  • Do pour approximately one-half of the beer out first; having less liquid will allow the beer to steam properly.

  • Do punch holes in the beer can after pouring out one-half to allow the can to vent.

  • Do keep the grill lid closed while cooking.

  • Do use an instant read thermometer to ensure it is fully cooked; insert between the leg and thigh, it's done when it reads between 165 degrees F to 175 degrees F. If you do not have an instant read thermometer, pierce the chicken in the same spot and make sure the juices run clear.

  • Don't ever use a bottle or plastic can of beer; always use an aluminum can. You can also substitute a can of orange soda, ginger ale or cola for similarly moist chicken with a different flavor.

  • Don't cook over an open flame. Use an indirect method of heat on the either side of the chicken, whether you are using charcoal or gas.

  • Don't handle the cooked chicken without tongs, grill mitts or pot holders, it is extremely hot.

  • Don't cut into the chicken for at least 10 minutes after cooking, this allows all the juices to be reabsorbed.

    Recipe for Beer Can Chicken

    1can Beer, any kind will do (aluminum can only!)
    3 to 4-lbs. Whole Chicken remove giblets
    1 1/2t Kosher Salt
    1 teaspoon Black pepper cracked
    1 teaspoon Chili powder hot or mild
    1 teaspoon Paprika
    1 1/2 teaspoon Brown Sugar
    1 tablespoon Olive oil

    Thoroughly wash chicken, pat dry and let rest. Combine all dry ingredients. Prepare grill using indirect cooking method (coals on the side or gas on the side, with no heat in the center of the grill), Rub oil on chicken, then sprinkle chicken with seasoning mixture, including inside cavity. Rub seasoning until the entire chicken is coated. Pour half the beer out, (you can use the excess beer to soak wood chips and then place on fire), poke holes in top half of beer can to vent. Insert beer can in chicken's cavity. Place chicken upright on the center of medium hot grill using a tripod method with the beer can as the back leg and the 2 drumsticks as the front legs. Make sure chicken is secure, close lid and cook 50 to 60 minutes until chicken registers 165 to 175 degrees in the thigh. Remove and let stand 10 minutes before carving.

    My recipe is simple and easy. First, wash your chicken thoroughly, then pat dry. I like to brush the chicken with a little olive oil, then I apply my seasoning rub all over and inside the cavity as well. Really work the seasoning into the chicken, breasts and back, inside the wings and legs.

    There is a bit of a debate about which beer to use, some people say not to use a dark beer as it will give the chicken a bitter flavor, but I actually like the caramel flavors a dark beer imparts. In truth, the beer is more of a moistening agent vs. a flavoring agent. So, any good beer will do. Remember to always pour off half the beer then poke some holes in the top portion of the can to allow it to vent. (Tip: Some people like to drink the excess beer. Truth be told, so do I, but you can also use that excess beer to soak wood chips in an aluminum container and place on the hot side of the grill to add more smoky beer flavor.)

    Insert beer can into the cavity then place the chicken on the grill (indirect heat) forming a tripod with the beer can acting as the back leg and leaning the 2 drumsticks forward. This will stabilize the bird on the grill and let it cook upright with out falling over.

    Medium heat is best, if your grill has a temperature gauge keep between 350 degrees and 400 degrees F. A 3 to 4-lbs. bird will cook in 50-60 minutes.

    Be very careful removing the chicken from the grill, the chicken contains hot juices. Ther can is hot,and liquid inside is extremely hot at this point. Please use a grill mitt and tongs. I hold the top of the chicken with the tongs and use a mitt to hold the beer can down while pulling the chicken off the can.

    Let it rest for 10 minutes before carving. You will want to carve on a cutting board that can capture any excess juices. This is a fun and easy recipe that will have your friends and family talking for weeks to come.

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