It’s National Beer Day. So, obviously, it’s time for Beer Can Chicken—and we have just the man for it. As a former Top Chef alum and the current Chef de Cuisine at Manhattan’s highest rated barbecue spot in the city—Hill Country Barbecue—Ash Fulk is an entirely self-taught locavore who focuses on regional and seasonal preparations and operates by the principle “If it grows together, it goes together.” And as insane as it sounds to stick a beer can up a roast chicken, it’s as flavorful a chicken as you’ll likely ever have.
- 1 3 lb. Whole chicken
- Chicken Rub (see recipe below)
- 1 can beer (your choice but I like Shiner Bock)
- 1 small package of wood chips (and smoke box if using gas grill)
For Chicken Rub:
- ½ Cup d. brown sugar
- ½ cup sugar in the raw
- ½ cup kosher salt
- ¼ cup paprika
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp white pepper
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp cayenne powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp celery seed
- 1 tsp ancho chili powder
- Toss all ingredients in a bowl
- Preheat oven/grill or smoker to 300 degrees.
- Rinse the chicken under cold running water, inside and out. Drain and blot, both inside and out, with paper towels. Evenly coat the chicken inside and out with Chicken rub. This can be done up to a day in advance, in fact just do that.
- Set up the grill for indirect grilling placing a drip pan in the center. If using a charcoal grill, preheat it to medium. If using a gas grill, place all the wood chips in a smoker box and preheat to high; then when smoke appears, lower the heat to medium.
- Pop the tab on the beer can take a swig and set aside. Then pop another beer and using a ‘church key’-style can opener, make additional holes in the top of the can. Take another sip of beer. Holding the chicken upright, with the opening of the body cavity down, insert the beer can into the cavity.
- When ready to cook, if using charcoal, toss half of the wood chips on the coals. Stand the chicken up in the center of the hot grate, over the drip pan. Spread out the legs to form a sort of tripod, to support the chicken.
- Drink the rest of your beer, maybe have another!
- Cover the grill and cook for about 2 hours or until the internal temperature is 165 degrees. If using charcoal, add 10 to 12 fresh coals per side and the remaining wood chips after 1 hour. Using tongs, lift the bird to a cutting board or platter. Caution: Be careful not to spill hot beer or soda on yourself. Let stand for 5 minutes.
NOTE: IF you don’t drink, there are many great nonalcoholic beers out there that will do the trick! I like Lagunitas nonalcoholic IPNA.