Frying, grilling, sauteeing - these are things I know. I was happy leaving the roasting to those courageous knights of the kitchen - Betty Crockers, Iron Chefs and moms. Basting? Brining? Meat thermometers? I can’t be bothered.
Then I tried this recipe from Chicken Recipes Please? and as it turns out…it’s simple. I had psyched myself out over a small 4lb chicken, and felt pretty silly about it. (But not as silly as the chicken in this recipe looks sitting on a can.)
This recipe yields a very moist, fall-off-the-bone-tender chicken. You can use your favorite spice rub, but I stuck to the recipe and made a simple 4-ingredient rub. The variations, however, are endless.
You will need:
- 1 whole 4-5 lb chicken
- 1 can of beer (12 .oz)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- ½ tbsp black pepper
Start by cleaning the chicken, including the cavity, and pat dry. Resist the urge to hold the chicken upright and make it dance across the cutting board. This is immature, unacceptable and I didn’t do this at all for one whole minute while giggling.
Next, combine the salt, paprika, brown sugar and pepper. This is your rub. Sprinkle 1 ½ tsp of the mixture around the inside cavity and another ½ tsp around the neck. Completely coat the outside of the chicken with the olive oil, and cover the chicken with 2 tbsp of the rub.
Now for the beer. For this recipe I used Trader Joe’s Simpler Times lager. It’s nothing fancy, but for $3 a six-pack you can’t go wrong. Open the can and pour out about 1/3 of the beer. Spoon the remaining rub into the can. It may froth up a bit, but this is normal.
Sit the can in a roasting pan or baking sheet - you’ll want to put it in something that’ll catch the drippings. Hold the chicken upright with the large cavity facing down, and unceremoniously slide the chicken over the beer can. Now look at the chicken. Just look at it sitting there. Embarrassed. You’d be embarrassed, too.
Bake at 350 degrees for 1 ½ hours. After about half an hour you’ll hear the satisfying sound of beer sizzling away in the can. After removing the chicken from the oven, let it rest for 15-20 minutes. This is important, as it’s the key to keeping it moist.
Removing the can before serving can be a little tricky; the can will be hot so it helps to grasp it with several layers of paper towel while having a partner lift the chicken, taking care not to tip the can and spill hot liquid. I lucked out on my first go - the can created a natural suction seal to the bottom of the pan so I was able to hold the edge of the pan instead of the can.
I served this with a side dish of small red potatoes. I boiled 8 potatoes, halved them and quickly browned them in a pan with olive oil, butter and dried italian seasoning. A simple side to a deliciously simple main course.