It's Not Complicated
Michael Symon Wants You to Make Beer Can Chicken the Right Way
The adage “don’t knock it ’till you try it” comes to mind when considering a recipe where the primary mode of flavor delivery is shoving a can of beer inside a chicken. Any attempt to uncover the origins of this crude-but-delicious dish yields little in the way of believable information. In other words, it’s a total crapshoot. Luckily, knowing who first made it and where matters little when considering the sheer preparatory simplicity that goes into making something so worth the charcoal. All you need: a few usual suspects from the spice cabinet, half a lemon, a can of cheap beer and a chicken. Beer can chicken is a celebration of the boneheaded brilliance of the person who decided the best use of three-quarters of a can of cheap beer is as an upright, flavor-imparting kickstand for a small bird. The recipe that follows, from celebrity-chef Michael Symon’s new cookbook Playing With Fire, embraces this simplicity and offers a few tips and tricks along the way.
Beer Can Chicken
Makes 1 Chicken (Serves 4)
1 ½ tablespoons garlic salt
1 ½ tablespoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon ground toasted coriander seeds
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 ½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon, halved
1 (3- to 4-pound) whole chicken
1 (12-ounce) can of cheap beer
Playing With Fire is the first cookbook to hone in exclusively on live fire cooking for Cleveland’s finest celebrity chef, Michael Symon. The book features more than 70 recipes, a treasure trove of “How-To”s and a handful of profiles on some of America’s marquee masters of the flame. Buy Now: $18
1. Using a small bowl, mix to combine the garlic salt, oregano, coriander, paprika, kosher salt and pepper. Squeeze the lemon halves all over the inside and outside of the chicken. Season the chicken inside and out with the spice mixture and refrigerate, uncovered, for at least three hours (preferably overnight).
2. Prepare and preheat your lump charcoal grill and create two heat zones: high and low.
3. Drink ⅓ of the beer, then place the chicken on top of the beer can, sliding the can up and into the cavity of the bird as best you can. Set the bird upright and coat the chicken in olive oil. Position the chicken on the low-heat side of the grill, using the beer can and legs to stabilize it. Cover and cook until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees (Fahrenheit) at the meaty part of the leg, about 45 minutes.
4. Remove the chicken from the grill, loosely tent with aluminum foil, and let rest for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the beer can (discard warm beer), carve, serve, eat.