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BEER CAN CHICKEN
By now we have all heard of the famous beer can chicken. If you haven’t…, where have you been hiding? Hah. In all seriousness, if you don’t know what it is, let me tell you. It is a whole roaster chicken placed over an open beer can and cooked over high heat. The theory is that the beer will help to keep the chicken more moist and flavor the chicken as the beer evaporates into the cavity of the bird. There is some debate as to whether it really makes a difference or not, but some people swear by this method. The problem is that if you are cooking on a Weber kettle, this setup is generally too high for the upright bird to fit. If that is an issue that you are having, read on! If not, read on anyway, it’s good stuff.
THE RIGHT TOOLS FOR THE JOB
In order to solve the great Weber Kettle Beer Can Chicken Debacle, we put some of our greatest grilling toys….err uh…. tools to work. We used a Trompo King as the base. What is this Trompo King you speak of CptnRon? Well again, let me tell you. It is a stainless-steel pan with a removable upright spike in the center of it. It was originally designed as a way to make gyros or Al Pastor on a grill, but we have come to find that it has many other uses, including aiding in the cooking of this chicken.
The other cool item we used was a Vortex. The Vortex is a cone shaped piece of metal that can be used to turn a regular grill such as a kettle into an indirect cooker without having to use a deflector. Rather than using it with the small side down as we did to make our wings video , we turned it upside down to produce more of an infrared effect using radiant heat. Don’t mind all of the technical mumbo jumbo, just trust us, it worked.
Lastly, the final tool that we used was probably the favorite of most grillers…. the can of beer! That sweet golden liquid gold works wonders for a more tender and moist final product. As was mentioned above, some will argue and claim that this doesn’t really work but we always seem to notice a difference. Who knows, maybe it is just because it feels so cool to incorporate our favorite carbonated beverage into our cooking.
HOW IT WORKS
In this section, I am simply going to quote what it says about it directly from Vortex. Here it is, straight from them: “This is a method that allows a perfect roasted protein without the need for an expensive rotisserie or having to spatchcock the bird before cooking. The Vortex deflects the direct heat while radiating high heat and giving your food the outdoor cooking flavor. Place Vortex wide-end up with a piece of foil in the bottom to block the air flow as well as catch drippings. Place bird or small roast on the beer-can holder (with or without liquid in it). Pour chimney full of ‘set’ coals equally around the Vortex and close the lid. Let the chicken/roast come up to temp while rotating the exhaust (kettle only) 45 degrees every 20 mins.”
Now, I varied a bit from their directions because well, I just have to be different. If you are more comfortable using a charcoal chimney then have at it, I won’t stop you. Either way, you’ll want a hot fire in order to get that skin to a level of crispiness that won’t make you make a funny face and chew on a rubbery substance. That’s just gross.
DOES IT REALLY WORK?
In short, yes, it certainly does work, and it works well. I would have changed a few of the things that I did in the video the next time even though I had practiced it before filming it. I would let the coals get hotter before putting the chicken in the grill for one. When I did it again after this, the skin was actually much darker colored and was far crispier all around. All three times though, we ate a very tasty and juicy bird. In the end, that is what I am looking for in a BBQ Chicken. It was definitely fun to cook on a Weber Kettle again and it reminded me of how versatile these grills can be.
- Remove the grate from the Weber Kettle. Spray the chicken with Duck Fat Spray and coat it with the Greek Freak seasoning and sprinkle it with the Ghost Pepper Salt. Lay the Vortex on the Trompo King with the wide end facing up. Place the chicken over the ¾ full beer can with the legs side down. Slide the chicken onto the spike of the Trompo King with the spike running along the side of the beer can. Place the whole onion on the chicken to block the opening in the top of the bird. Insert the Meater thermometer into the thickest part of the breast and set it for a final cooking temp of 160°. Place the Trompo King with the chicken in the center of the charcoal grate.
- Pour the FOGO Premium Black Bag charcoal all around the outside of the Vortex and use the FOGO Fire Starters to light the charcoal in 4-5 different spots. You can also use a charcoal chimney to get some hot coals going and pour them on the coals around the Vortex.
- Close the lid on the kettle and cook the chicken at 375° until the Meater reaches the desired temperature. Turn the lid so that the top vent is in a different position every 20 minutes to make for more even cooking.
- Remove the Trompo King setup from the grill and slide the chicken up off of the spike and beer can and allow it to rest for 10 minutes before carving.