You had me at beer. My hubby looooves chicken and I loooove beer, so when I was searching the internet for new chicken recipes and came across Paula Deen’s Drunken Chicken I knew I had hit the jackpot. I posted her version along with a couple of others on the blog a while back, and have been meaning to try one of them forever. The fact that we did not have a grill and other intimidating factors, such as removing the giblets and shoving a beer can up a chickens yoohoo deterred me. But I knew the time had come, so I put my big girl panties on and finally defiled a chicken. I ended up using Simply Recipe’s version pretty much to a T, and all in all I think it turned out pretty good. The coolest part is I was able to use the leftover chicken in my chicken chili recipe the next night. So, essentially we got two meals out of one. I love when that happens!
- 1 4-pound whole chicken
- 2 tablespoon olive oil or other vegetable oil
- 1 opened, half-full can of beer, room temperature (I used a blonde ale, but next time I am going to try Guinness!)
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves, or 1 tablespoon dried thyme (I used fresh thyme.)
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
Prepare your grill for indirect heat. If you are using charcoal, put the coals on one side of the grill, leaving another side free of coals. If you are using a gas grill, fire up only half of the burners.
Remove neck and giblets from cavity of chicken, if the chicken came with them. (Mine did and it was simple, so don’t get scared! It was all tied up in a little bag inside the chicken cavity. Super easy to throw away)
Rub the chicken all over with olive oil. Mix the salt, pepper, and thyme in a little bowl, then sprinkle it all over the chicken.
Make sure the beer can is open, and only half-filled with beer. You can drink the other half! (I did that and had a couple more while I was at it.)
If you want, you can put a sprig of thyme, or another herb like rosemary or sage, in the beer can. (I did that and it turned out well.)
Lower the chicken on to the open can, so that the chicken is sitting upright, with the can in its cavity. Place the chicken on the cool side of the grill, using the legs and beer can as a tripod to support the chicken on the grill and keep it stable.
Cover the grill and walk away. Do not even check the chicken for at least an hour. (I love recipes like this!)
After an hour, check the chicken and refresh the coals if needed. Keep checking the chicken every 15 minutes or so, until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 160°F – 165°F. The total cooking time will vary depending on the size of your chicken, and the internal temperature of the grill. A 4 lb chicken will usually take around 1 1/2 hours. (Mine was 4 lbs and some change and it took exactly 1 1/2 hours.)
If you don’t have a meat thermometer, a way to tell if the chicken is done is to poke it deeply with a knife (the thigh is a good place to do this), if the juices run clear, not pink, the chicken is done.
Carefully transfer the chicken to a tray or pan. I say “carefully” because the beer can, and the beer inside of it, is quite hot. One way to do this is to slide a metal spatula under the bottom of the beer can. Use tongs to hold the top of the chicken. Lift the chicken, beer can still inside, and move it to a tray. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes. Carefully lift the chicken off of the can. If it gets stuck, lay the chicken on its side, and pull out the can with tongs. (Or call your husband in to pull it out while you hold it.)
Notes: This recipe was a complete success! The chicken was moist, the flavor was just right and we had enough for left overs. I am definitely making this one again, but like I said, next time I am using Guinness.