As we creep into the glorious days of summer grilling season, we’re already planning out exactly what we’ll slap onto our charcoal or gas grills. One thing people love to toss on the barbie is a whole chicken, propped up with a built-in throne made out of a beer can. The name of this esteemed dish? Beer can chicken. (Hey, we don’t award points for creativity.)
Those who enjoy beer can chicken swear by the method, explaining that the beer’s evaporation over the heat keeps the chicken’s interior moist. However, some enthusiasts argue over which type of beer is best to use for this approach (Arby’s, for example, believes it’s Miller High Life). To put the matter to rest, ubiquitous poultry brand Perdue has teamed up with Manhattan-based brewery Torch & Crown to create the ideal beer for beer can chicken. It’s aptly named Beer Can Chicken Beer, which is fun to say five times fast.
What is beer can chicken?
Beer can chicken, for those who haven’t had it, is an entire chicken roasted with an aluminum beer can shoved up its keister. The positioning of the beer allows the chicken to stand upright (as seen in the photo above) and ensures that the juices drip outward, rendering the skin crisp. This is accomplished via indirect grilling, meaning the meat is not exposed to a direct heat source like charcoal or a gas burner.
The beer can is usually only partially full; some people like to throw aromatic seasoning in the half-empty can to generate a perfumed steam, which, in theory, flavors the bird’s interior. It should be said that there’s plenty of debate over whether this is a legit way to cook poultry: Some people say it’s the best way to cook chicken on a grill while others say it’s a myth and that it actually dries out the chicken. (Epicurious wrote all about how it’s a “hoax.”)
Where did beer can chicken come from?
Just like the origin story of every good off-kilter dish, nobody’s entirely sure where beer can chicken originated. Steven Raichlen, author of the foundational cookbook The Barbecue Bible, told Vinepair that he thinks it originated around 1995. He first witnessed it in person at a Memphis barbecue competition, when competitor Bryce Boar Blazer made. use of the showy cooking technique.
This tracks with my memory, based off the hype that would follow in the coming years. I remember a lot of my friends’ dads proudly adopting this method of cooking during those mosquito-filled high school summers.
What kind of beer is Perdue’s Beer Can Chicken Beer?
Since some people like adding herbs and spices to the beer they push up the chicken’s carcass, Perdue’s Beer Can Chicken Beer comes pre-“flavored” with aromatic components. It’s a honey double-citrus summer ale brewed with citra hops and seasonings such as pink peppercorn, rosemary, and thyme, theoretically eliminating any need to season your brew before inserting it in the chicken. If you have a couple spares sitting around afterwards, they don’t sound half-bad as an afternoon sipper while you wait for your chicken to roast.
The Beer Can Chicken Beer will be available for purchase online starting May 22. Memorial Day’s coming up, so you might as well hoist some chickens onto their rightful beer can thrones and let them reign over your grill.