HOT DAMN, that’s a fine looking chicken.
Beer can chicken is one of those gimmicky things that I usually avoid. The beer doesn’t really impart any additional flavor, and the whole process is messy, and frankly, a bit obscene. I’m all for violating my birds in the name of flavor, but sticking a can of beer up its butt so that it permanently looks like this? There’s a line, people!
However, it is undeniable that beer can chicken can make for a show-stopping presentation, especially when it’s charred and bronzed and beautiful like this one. Holding the chicken upright, which is basically all the can is doing, means that the chicken’s juices drip down during the cooking process, basting the chicken naturally and imparting all sorts of juicy goodness into the meat.
How Sweet Eats’ recipe took it one step further, slathering a chipotle-laced spice rub all over the inside and outside of the chicken (and you know how I love buttering under the skin) and putting whole slices of lime under the skin.
The end result is this gorgeous beauty, which was just barely photographed (thanks to a mandatory 20-minute resting period) before it was devoured in a Fourth of July feeding frenzy.
- 1 5-6 pound whole chicken
- 1 12- or 16-ounce beer can (see note)
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt
- 1/2 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 limes
- Remove the giblets and any other loose parts of the chicken (discard or set aside for another use). Pat the chicken completely dry with paper towels. (If you have time to do this ahead, you can pat the chicken dry and then put it on a plate, uncovered, in the fridge for a few hours, up to one day. #CRISPYSKIN)
- Preheat the oven to 425F. Drink or pour out 1/4 of the beer.
- In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, salt, black pepper, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, chipotle chili powder and cayenne.
- Combine the butter with 1/3 of the spice rub and mix until smooth. Use your thumb and forefinger to carefully loosen the skin and apply the butter directly to the breasts, thighs, legs and anywhere else you can stick your hand. (This will be messy.) Slice one of the limes into 1/8-inch slices and slide them underneath the skin in one layer.
- Place the beer can in the cavity of the chicken, then place the beer-chicken unit in the center of a 9-x-13 roasting pan. Rub the outside of the chicken with the olive oil and then with the leftover spice mixture -- don't miss any spots. Slice the other lime into wedges and place them in the neck cavity.
- Roast the chicken for 75 minutes, rotating the roasting pan halfway. Remove the roasting pan from the oven and let the chicken rest for 20 minutes.
- Use tongs to lift the chicken while a handy helper gently wiggles the can out from underneath (I've never been able to do this step on my own, so if you have any ideas, please send!) Serve the chicken.