In the Can
Any soda can you have around the house will work, we had a La Croix can that had not hit the recycle bin yet so that was my pick. I used a funnel to get all the liquids in and then shoved the peel and herbs in after. You could easily change the aromatics for anything you prefer, but I will say this combination smelled so good. I also will add any leftover rub to the can, just so it will not go to waste.
Mix the sugar and all the dry spices together and set aside while you get your bird ready for its massage. My chicken was huge!! He had to be like 6 pounds, he was so big I could only just fit him in my grill. So keep that in mind when shopping. Once he is fully defrosted rinse the bird inside and out then pat dry. I like to let my bird air dry for a little while too.
Once you are happy with him rub the inside and out with a little olive oil. Then start by seasoning the inside of the bird heavily with the rub, and tucking the rosemary under the skin. Next give the outside of the bird a good rub with the rest of your rub. Make sure the rub to sticks to all the exposed skin; if you need it add more olive oil. You can even slide some under the skin with the rosemary. Don’t forget to tuck the wing tips under.
Now its time to wedge him on to the can…be careful you don’t spill the wine. I recommend that if you will be grilling/smoking him outside that you don’t try to transport the bird balanced on the can. Go outside first then shove him on the can right next to the grill/smoker so you don’t have to transport the balanced bird.
At this point if you have a Traeger or smoker you want to check it is up to the low smoke temperature about 225 on mine. In a regular oven, I don’t think I would go with the whole low and slow cooking, I would just pop the balanced bird into a 350 degree oven like any chicken I was roasting. If you are using a smoker box and BBQ grill I am not the person to give advice on the best cooking time and temperature, ask Bobby Flay I am sure he can tell you what to do.
Ok now it is time to balance your bird in the smoker/oven. The bird I had was very stable on the can but it can vary, use the ends of the legs to help the bird stay standing up. If you are cooking in an oven you will want to have a baking dish under the bird to catch the drippings, in a smoker we just let that drip into the drip pan. They sell special beer can chicken pans and stands in the stores, I have never tried one but if you have one go for it.
The charm of the beer can chicken is that he will need very little attention, other than being sure the smoker has plenty of fuel for the rest of the time he cooks. After an hour I decided to give a quick peak (bad form if you ask the smoker gurus) and he had already started turn pretty color.
I let my bird go for 4 hours on the low smoke setting. Then put a thermometer in to check the temp it was at 147 degrees, I could have left him on low for another hour or so to get him up to 160. (If you are cooking in a regular oven depending on the size of the bird he will cook to 165 in 1-2 hours, just pop a meat thermometer into the breast of the bird to check and see when he is done.)
I have been watching a lot of smoking/BBQing shows on the food network and for poultry lots of cooks turn the heat up right at the end to give the skin a chance to caramelize. So I put my Taeger up to high, or about 400 degrees. I let if run for about 15-20 more minutes. The skin did split which was a little ugly but let me tell you the taste was great. I pulled the bird off the grill with an assist from my husband, it can be tricky so be careful.
I let the bird rest for ten or so minutes before I wiggled him off the can. Let’s be honest the bird basically fell apart and I was able to toss the can in the garbage. (If you made the bird in the oven and have pan juices you could use any liquid left in the can to make them into gravy, just a thought) I served the bird with a cucumber salad and sweet potato fries, it was a great dinner.