It’s summertime, which means lots of sun, beaches, BBQs and beer – preferably enjoyed all at once. My recent posts have had a bit of an Italian flair, but considering last weekend was the 4th of July, I think it’s about time I started to focus on the American Summer. Between outdoor BBQs (I use that term in a loose sense, we’re usually not talking real BBQ here), pool parties, clambakes, pig roasts and everything else that comes with the season, there’s no shortage of great food. Of course it’s not just the food – there’s something about sitting outside during the summer that actually makes American light lagers taste good.
The best part of eating during the American Summer is that the simple, old fashioned classics still take center stage. There’s something dare I say magical about the simplicity of hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill with plenty of cheap, cold beer in the cooler. To kick things off, let me introduce you to something that combines the two. Meet the “beer can chicken”…
In the name of beer and BBQs, I grilled up a beer can chicken (also known as drunken chicken) this weekend. I’d walk you through a recipe, but the instructions are in the name. Take a whole chicken and a beer can, open beer can, drink half of it (or spill it out if you’re crazy) and stick the beer can into the chicken. Stand the chicken up on grill (not over direct heat) and let cook for about an hour and a half until the chicken is cooked through. You should also consider rubbing the chicken with some salt, pepper and whatever other herbs or spices you like before grilling – I used a little parsley and rosemary.
Why bother with the beer can? Well it looks cool and adds a bit of flair to what is otherwise a simple roast chicken (not that there’s anything wrong with simple, this is a BBQ we’re talking about here). From what I’ve read, and from my own experience, the beer doesn’t get hot enough to boil and steam up and so it doesn’t actually contribute to the cooking process nor does it impart any flavor. The chicken does come out extremely moist and juicy, with a perfectly crisped skin, but this actually comes from cooking the chicken standing up. You could probably even use an empty beer can to the same effect – your guests won’t know the difference – but where’s the fun in that!?