I have no idea who invented "beer can chicken". I'm sure I could Google it and there would be at least a thousand people who claim it. But I'm not sure I want to read about the person who thought it would be a good idea to shove a can up a chicken's ass and throw it on a grill. I mean, really, who thinks of things like that?
A genius, maybe?
Well, maybe not about the beer can part, but that shoving a can up the chicken's ass? Genius. Because as I learned from Proud Italian Cook, you don't necessarily have to fill that can with beer. You can rinse that sucker out and fill it with WINE!!!! And we all know everything is better with WINE!
So, everyone knows the premise of beer-can chicken, right? Empty out a few inches of beer from the can, shove it up the chicken's buttocks and put him on the grill. The beer will start to boil and infuse the chicken from the inside out. Sounds great. Except if you don't really like the flavor of beer. I, personally, am OK with beer. I think it's about the best thing you can drink if it's ICE cold on a hot day.
But wine? That's another story. LOVE wine. All. The. Time.
So when I saw this recipe, I knew I'd love it. I l.o.v.e. roast chicken. I buy at least one rotisserie chicken every week. But if I can make my own and make it better....then I'm in.
This recipe is IT. I happen to have the above roaster that I think I got from Sur la Table, but it's totally not necessary. I have made this by just using the can and it's totally fine. This roaster just makes it much easier to get the chicken on and off of the grill without any mishaps.
So you start by emptying any can...soda, beer, V-8...rinsing it out, and filling it with wine...leaving about 2 inches to spare at the top. I used a Sauvignon Blanc, because that's what I like to drink. If your thing is Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay, either of those would probably be fine, however I probably wouldn't use a heavily oaked or buttery Chard. I think you want something with some citrus notes.
Start with some chopped herbs....I used what was growing in my herb garden....some Texas thyme, basil, oregano, variegated basil along with some lemon zest, red pepper flakes, a clove of chopped garlic and salt and pepper.
Mix all of that together with just enough olive oil to make a nice paste.
Lift of the skin of the chicken and run your fingers under there and separate the skin from the flesh. Get in there and get personal with that bird.
Now take that rub and RUB. All over the top, and under the skin and flip it over and just rub it in EVERYWHERE!! It's a good thing!
After you rubbed it all in....just let it sit and rest for about 1/2 hour at room temp. Let it become one with it's new coat. It will love it.
Now's the time to get really personal. Go ahead and shove that can (or your roaster) up that chicken's patootie. It may not thank you, but your guests, or husband, or significant other will thank you later!
Oh and that opening of the chicken at the top...you're gonna want to block it with something. Either a piece of onion or lemon or even a head of garlic. Just something to impart some flavor and not let the steam of the wine escape. You want it to go into the bird....not the interior of your grill.
I probably should have mentioned this earlier, but your bird needs to be grilled over indirect heat. I happen to have six burners on my grill. I light the four outer burners and ignore the two inner burners. I turn the four outer ones on to high and then turn them accordingly to reach an internal temp of between 350 to 400 F. I then place the chicken in the center of the grill, over the two non-lit burners....i.e., indirect heat!!!
If you're using a charcoal grill, heat until you get hot coals, move them to the side and place your chicken on the indirect side.
Roast until the juices run clear. Mine roasts between 375-400F for an hour. I then let it rest on the counter for at least 15 minutes....mostly 30 minutes. By that time it's at a temperature I can handle it and cut it up.
I have to say, this is the best roast chicken I've ever made. Mr. B does not really like chicken and he LOVES this every time I make it. It also makes for great leftovers. I can't recommend this enough.
So thanks to Proud Italian Cook for this recipe. I have to say that her site is the best site for everyday Italian recipes. Everything from her site is always delicious and totally approachable! Check her out.