Monday, July 22, 2013

Beer Can Chicken on the Big Green Egg

It is time to make the famous beer can chicken. Anyone who has been grilling for any amount of time has heard of the fabled beer can chicken. This is the weekend. Let's see what all the fuss is about.

Beer Can Chicken on the Big Green Egg (BGE)


This recipe is the perfect example for why we decided to do this blog. There are tons of resources for beer can chicken, but I couldn't find any of them that seemed really good. That doesn't mean there aren't any, I am sure there are, but I couldn't find them.I looked here and here, and between these and just some googling around I was able to piece together a plan. I did note that almost every place I visited was really promoting some product, like a stand to hold the chicken, or the beer, or the BGE itself. Forgive me for saying it, but the BGE needs no selling.  You just need to show what the machine is capable of producing!

The Plan:

Get two whole chickens because I want to feed 5 (including one very hungry 14-year-old boy). I usually like to source meat and produce at Whole Food or the farmers market because it makes me feel like it is higher quality.  Not sure that it is.  Buy some beer along with some sides that I'll skip for this. We are focusing on birds here.

Cut the top off beer cans, pour about half of the beer out (or just drink it). Wash the birds, rub one bird with 3 beer BBQ rub on one side, and on the other bird just salt and pepper.  Mount the birds on the cans in disposable aluminum pans.  Get the BGE to 375 degrees and cook the birds until their internal temp reaches 175 degrees.


Wash the chickens and get the BGE heating

 Cut the tops off the cans

This was surprisingly difficult. I used a box cutter and nearly cut my finger off several times. There must be a better way. I don't see why you couldn't leave the top on and just open the can.

Rub down the birds and mount on the open cans

Here are the birds before we put them on the BGE. One bird has the 3 beer rub and the other is simply salt and pepper. You can see that the BGE is at about 400 degrees. I decided not to put the plate setter in because I figured the pan would accomplish the same thing, plus I wanted to char some veggies after cooking the birds, and as you probably know, it isn't easy getting the plate setter out at temperature.

Chickens on the grill
Updated photo showing our ceramic chicken holders. Much safer...

They ended up on the grill for about 1 hour 15 minutes ...a recent effort required 1:30 minutes. Don't rush it, let the chicken get to 175 minimum and check for tenderness...  before the breast reached 175 degrees. I took the temperature in several places on the birds but figured out that mid breast seemed to be the last part of the bird to get hot. When I pulled the birds off the BGE, the beer cans were still a quarter full or so.

Perfectly tender and moist

Almost fell apart

Really turned out great as the main for our dinner


It was the best version of chicken we have made on the BGE. Really juicy and tasty. This will be the standard way I will be making chicken on the BGE. It is simple and quick and the birds turned out perfectly. This seems to be a simple and no-fail way to make tender and moist chicken on the BGE.

A few lessons learned:
  • Don't cut the top off the beer. I don't think it would make any difference. In my opinion, the beer imparted no flavor into the bird.  It only provided steam and a way to get more heat into the middle of the bird so that it cooks more evenly.
  • Put the rub under the skin as well as on top. Some people don't eat the skin and miss out on the rub.
  • Don't discount the importance of the whole bird cooked bone-in. This adds a lot of flavor by itself.

Please help support our site, buy something you like on Amazon. Simply click through the links below and though you can pick anything, I suggest the thermometer and knives below:

So apparently Thermoworks doesn't sell through Amazon anymore. You must buy direct. Still the thermometer to have. Go here and order direct. 

Aaron Franklin's Favorite trimming knife:

Dexter-Russell (S131F-6PCP) - 6" Boning Knife - Sani-Safe Series

Aaron Franklin's Favorite Brisket cutting/serving knife:

Sani-Safe S140-12SC-PCP 12" Scalloped Roast Slicer

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