The basic process is to take a half full can of beer with the top cut off. Place it where you are going to be doing the cooking and then place the chicken over it so that the beer can is inside the chicken. Since it's advent, people have begun adding all kinds of spices and extras to the beer to make it more flavorful. Generally, you will see garlic, cayenne, diced onions, or cumin added but you can use almost anything you want to. I also like to make a bouquet from the fresh herbs in my garden and put them into the cavity of the chicken, for a little extra flavor.
Why Beer?: So why does this work so well? First of all, you are adding a source of moisture to the chicken that keeps it from drying out. Second, you are adding beer. Now, more than the fact that beer is good, the yeast and malt found in beer reacts with the chicken, particularly the skin, making it thin and crispy while the meat remains juicy.
The biggest problem you might run into is the chicken tipping over. The weight of a half full can of beer just isn't enough to keep the chicken standing, especially if you are doing a large bird. But never fear, your fellow outdoor cooks have recognized the need and a host of products have appeared on the market to help you out.
Good Luck and enjoy.
Beer Can Chicken
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons paprika
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 (12 fluid ounce) can beer
2 whole cloves garlic
fresh herb bouquet tied
1 (3 pound) whole chickenDirections
1.Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat, about 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Mix the brown sugar, chili powder, paprika, dry mustard, salt, and ground black pepper in a small bowl. Place the half-full can of beer in the center of a plate.
Rinse chicken under cold running water. Discard giblets and neck from chicken; drain and pat dry. Drop whole garlic pieces into the beer along with the herb bouquet. Fit whole chicken over the can of beer with the legs on the bottom; keep upright. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of the seasoning mix into the top cavity of the chicken. The beer may foam up when the seasonings fall inside the can. Rub the remaining seasoning mix over the entire surface of the chicken.
Place the chicken, standing on the can, directly on the preheated grill. Close the lid and barbecue the chicken until no longer pink at the bone and the juices run clear, about 1 hour 15 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, near the bone should read 180 degrees F (82 degrees C). Remove the chicken from the grill and discard the beer can. Cover the chicken with a doubled sheet of aluminum foil, and allow to rest in a warm area for 10 minutes before slicing.
Also I use an aluminum pie plate large enough to hold the beer can and chicken. This catches all the drippings and reduces flare-ups. I've also made this recipe using a spice called Montreal Chicken Seasoning.