The concept behind beer can chicken is that the beer in the can is heated to create steam, which not only flavors the chicken it also helps keep the meat moist. The steam will carry the flavors from the heated brew into the chicken. The question is then, why just use beer? You can create your own recipe and with an empty can you are on your way to creating beer chicken without the beer. Many of you that love chicken have experienced dry chicken, in particular the breast meat. There is a way of roasting the perfect chicken, and keeping it moist at the same time.
Start with a fresh whole chicken or one that is thoroughly defrosted. Rinse well and pat dry making sure you have removed the pack that contains the heart, liver and gizzard before cooking. Trim excess skin and fat from around the cavities with a sharp paring knife. To prevent the wing tips from burning you can wrap in foil, or clip off.
Place the chicken in a pan and refrigerate until you have prepared the rub and the non-beer can. Make sure the chicken is in a pan that prevents any juices from contaminating other foods in the refrigerator. Food handling safety is important, so make sure you thoroughly sanitize any cutting boards and preparation surfaces with an appropriate disinfectant. Wash your hands thoroughly, as well.
Ingredients Needed For the Rub
- 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
- 2 Fresh Basil Leaves
- 1 Teaspoon Minced garlic
- Pinch of Poultry Seasoning or Sage
- 1 Teaspoon Sea Salt (Substitute Mrs. Dash If You Are Watching Your Sodium Intake)
- 1 Tablespoon Coarse Ground Black Pepper
Preparing the Rub and Applying It to the Chicken
Take a small sauté pan and place over low heat. Once warmed add the olive oil, crushed garlic and bruise the basil as you put it in the oil, the basil and garlic will infuse with the oil. You can add the other ingredients or simply rub them on after brushing the chicken with the infused olive oil. Allow the oil to heat for at least ten minutes.
Remove from heat and let cool. Once cooled brush the oil on using a pastry brush making sure you distribute over the chicken evenly. If you did not add the other seasonings to the oil, you can now pat them on the chicken. The oil not only flavors the meat it also helps keep the spices in place while cooking. If you have the time, you should allow the chicken at least two more hours in the refrigerator after applying the rub.
Ingredients and Preparing the Non-Beer Can Contents
- 1 Quarter Cup Of White Or Cider Vinegar
- 1 Quarter Cup Of Pure Apple Juice (You Can Choose Any Juice)
- 1 Tablespoon of Lime Juice
As you can see, the recipe combines natural acids. White vinegar is fermented alcohol or acetic acid. The recipe also uses lime juice, or citric acid for flavor, as well as, a tenderizing agent. White vinegar is a popular meat tenderizer, as well. The acid will help to break down the meat, which tenderizes it. The apple juice or any juice will add flavor. Combine all these ingredients with heat and you have a super charged meat tenderizer and flavor enhancer. Simply add all the ingredients together and pour into any empty soda or beer can. You want the can half-full or less to keep it from boiling over.
Make sure you have pre-heated your oven or grill. Pre-heating helps keep the spices in place. Once the oil warms, it will begin to run. You want the outside to sear and seal as quickly as possible. Carry the can and chicken over to the oven or grill and insert the can. For oven cooking cook on a baking sheet that has high enough sides to prevent spills. You will have to remove a rack to make room because of course the chicken is standing up. You can, if using a grill, place foil or a pan under the chicken to keep the leg ends from burning.
Once you begin to smell the chicken cooking, you will want to begin tearing pieces off to eat. However, you must restrain yourself and make sure the chicken is thoroughly cooked. The internal temperature must reach at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit or 74 degrees Celsius. When done allow the chicken to rest to allow the juices to settle. The outside will be crisp and well browned, while the inside is juicy and ever so flavorful.
Beer Can Chicken who said it has to be cooked using beer. Experiment and try different ingredients for the most tender and juicy non-beer can chicken ever.