Beer Can Chicken

Beer Can Chicken
Sunday is the perfect day of the week for roast chicken. Nothing beats a hearty dinner to cap off the weekend, and one that will result in leftovers that end up in meals for the upcoming workweek. Despite that, roasting a chicken in the oven is deceptively simple. Achieving crisp, mahogany skin while not drying out the bird can be a major challenge.

Last weekend I skipped the oven and moved the chicken to the grill. I made a spice rub with ancho chile pepper to enhance the smoky flavor. I stood the bird upright on a half-full can of beer. The finished product had dark brown lacquered skin with a juicy interior. Beer can chicken had me questioning if I will ever roast chicken in the oven again.

Beer Can Chicken
Beer Can Chicken

Makes 1 whole chicken

1-4 pound whole chicken
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon ancho chile pepper
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 can light beer

Prepare a gas or charcoal grill for indirect medium heat.

Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel and remove the giblets.

In a small bowl, combine the cumin, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, ancho chile pepper, oregano, salt and pepper. Rub the chicken all over with the spice mix. Pour out (drink) half the beer. Hold the chicken upright and set it on top of the can.

Place the chicken on the grill using the legs to balance it like a tripod. Grill the chicken for 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours until the internal temperature in the thickest part of the thigh is 165 degrees F. Carefully remove the chicken from the grill and let it rest for 15 minutes before carving and serving.

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