By Aaron Ramson
I don’t know about you guys, but there’s been silver linings of sorts to this whole not-being-able-to-have-a-life thing. For starters, I may have lost 99% of my income, but that’s been totally nullified by the fact that I spent 99% of my income on frivolous shit anyway. Remember that scene in Dumb and Dumber where Lloyd says he’s going to the store for the bare essentials, and comes back carrying two cases of beer with a giant pinwheel sticking out of the top in his left hand, whacking a paddleball in his right hand, and wearing an oversized cowboy hat? Totally me. Welp, this time around, I DID get the bare essentials (which included beer. What? It’s a tax write-off, geez), and everything I needed to cook quarantine meal #120. All I needed was a can of beer and a whole chicken, because that’s all tonight’s recipe calls for. We’re making Beer Can Chicken.
OVEN BAKED BEER CAN CHICKEN
4 lb. whole chicken.
1 can of beer (A 12 oz can, don’t do what I did and buy a Foster’s oil can size, it’ll only make things a little more difficult later). Open the can and drink half of it, you’ll only need your beer to be half full to cook a chicken on it.
1 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp smoked paprika
1 Tbsp dried thyme
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
3 cloves of garlic, crushed and pressed
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 lime, juiced
This is a go-to recipe for a lot of grilling enthusiasts, but can be just as easily done in the oven. Take your bird out of the fridge and let it come to room temp for about 20 minutes while pre-heating your oven to 375 degrees. Mix together the salt, thyme, paprika, garlic and onion powders in a bowl, adding the pressed garlic, vegetable oil and lime juice. Mix into a thick paste. This is a very simple yet delicious rotisserie blend that’s gluten-free, sugar-free, soy-free, and sucka-free, and you’re gonna rub it all over your bird.
Before you rub it all over your bird, you’ll want to remove said bird from the plastic bag that it came in, remove the organs from the cavity (save those for a stock, or if you’re a savage like me and my lady, you coat them in the seasoning paste and roast them up along with your bird. Chicken gizzards and hearts taste amazing), rinse the bird under cold water and pat it dry. And I mean really dry, your oil and spice rub isn’t going to stick to the chicken skin very well if it’s already wet. So, rub is what you do; you scoop the paste into your hands and rub it into the cavity of the chicken, making sure the entire inside of the bird is seasoned. Pull the skin away from the muscle, and massage the spice mix under the skin. Press and rub the paste all over, making sure the entire chicken is coated in the mixture. Next, we’re going to sit that bird on a can of beer. I chose Foster’s Premium Ale for this recipe, and with that comes the educational portion of this week’s article:
Foster’s Lager was created in 1888 by Irish-American brothers William and Ralph Foster, who’d immigrated to Melbourne to begin brewing their namesake beer. Decades of corporate mergers, licensing agreements, and distribution deals have resulted in the brand having been owned by many different companies throughout the years including SABMiller, AB InBev, and most recently, Asahi Breweries. Despite the changes in corporate ownership, Foster’s has maintained a consistent level of popularity, especially in the UK where it’s the second highest selling beer in the country. It enjoys wide distribution in the US, where the distinctively oversized “oil can” design allows it to stand out wherever it’s shelved. The green and gold can of Foster’s Premium Ale was appealing enough for me to choose it over other brands of beer, and in my shopping cart it went along with the other ingredients for this recipe.
This decision came back to bite me in the rear when it was time to sit my chicken on the can.
As it turns out, a 12 oz. normal can of beer is the perfect size for stuffing into a chicken, while inserting the Foster’s oil can size requires an effort that is equal parts Herculean and pornographic. I’m glad there were no children or small pets in the kitchen while I sweat and grunted that can into the bird, lemme tell ya what.
Sit your beer can chicken into a roasting pan, and cook for 1 hour and 45 minutes at 375 degrees until golden brown. Your chicken will be sitting upright with its legs and the can acting as a tripod (not mine, mine looked like a little chicken king sitting on a beer throne with his legs hanging off) to keep it in place. The convective heat of the oven roasts the bird from the outside, while the 375 degree can of steaming liquid simultaneously cooks it from the inside.
Remove from oven and allow the chicken to rest for 15 minutes before gripping the bottom of the beer can and firmly lifting the chicken off of it. Now, you’ve got a half a can of chicken flavored beer, and a roasting pan full of spices and juices, and trust me on this, you’re going to want to make some chicken and ale gravy with it.
CHICKEN AND ALE GRAVY *BONUS RECIPE*
½ stick of butter
2 tsp all-purpose flour
Pan drippings and ½ can of beer left over from cooked chicken
Melt the butter over medium heat in a medium saucepan, slowly adding flour and stirring continuously. Cook until the butter is a golden-brown color. This is a roux; it’s used to thicken sauces and gravies. Add the pan drippings and left-over beer, and continue to simmer until slightly reduced and to desired consistency.