Last Friday was intended to be a BBQ night, as earlier in the week the weather called for a beautiful day, the warmest one of the year so far. We had big plans to sit on our back deck, have a couple drinks, and fire up a delicious beer can chicken on the BBQ (I realized just now how completely redneck that sounds, hence the title of the recipe). What we got were clouds, a lingering threat of rain, and temperatures dropping rather quickly towards the end of the day. Let’s just say neither of us were in the mood to BBQ (Who am I kidding? I am not the BBQer in the house.) Instead, we made more or less the same recipe in the oven.
There are no specific times or temperatures to this recipe, what I’ve given is a guideline but the most important thing is to just cook it ’till it’s done. Any combination of root vegetables can be used, and you can either cook them under the chicken, or separately, whichever your preference. It is easier to cook the vegetables separate because sometimes they don’t cook at the same timing as the chicken, but then they don’t get to cook in the delicious chicken juice. Obviously, I am not on a diet. The prep can be done ahead and this recipe is low on active time and long on cooking time, so it makes a great low-effort / high-impact meal when you have guests over. Folks are always impressed with the beer can bit, like it’s a fancy party trick, but really it just keeps the chicken moist and tender. And I’ve found most people love food with beer in it, so you can’t go wrong!
potatoes (Any potatoes will do – I used Peruvian fingerlings from our winter CSA from Bryson Farms – they look amazing and if your guests are impressed by sticking a beer can up a chicken’s butt, these will blow their minds!)
fresh ground salt and pepper
can of beer
1. Stuff a couple of sprigs of fresh rosemary inside the chicken. Coat the chicken in olive oil. Sprinkle all over with poultry seasoning, sage, savoury, salt and pepper (it’s easiest to do this as a two man job to avoid cross-contaminating your kitchen – one with his hand up the chicken to rotate it and the other to sprinkle the herbs. Guess which job I chose!)
2. Open the beer and drink a little bit (this step may or may not be necessary…). Poor a little bit in the bottom of the pan. Wiggle the can up inside the chicken until it’s secure and the chicken’s legs are sitting down around it. Place in the centre of a baking dish or pan.
3. Roughly dice potatoes and onion and toss them in the pan around the chicken. Quarter the lemon and throw it in. Tuck some more rosemary in around the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Preheat the oven to 350. Bake chicken and potatoes until an internal temperature of 85 C (185 F) is reached, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Take out occasionally to stir potatoes and ensure the pan isn’t dry. If the pan starts to look dry, add more beer (or if you drank it all, chicken stock also works! Not that that ever happens to us.)
NOTE: The chicken and beer drippings left in the bottom of the pan would make an amazing gravy. We were too lazy and hungry by the time the meal was ready, so I threw the remaining liquid in my freezer with the label “chicken juice” where it will wait until the next time I make soup!