beer can chicken with rice and pea purée
BBQ season is finally here! Or so I thought... as I write this the weather has changed from 8C and sunny, to 0C and a mix of rain, snow and slush.... ugh... But that doesn't stop me from staying optimistic that winter is on it's way out, and the time for patios, bbq and my zebra striped Speedo are around the corner! Just kidding..... it's leopard print.
I've found over the years that there are just some things that taste best cooked a certain way, and chicken on the BBQ is one of them. As a kid, my dad would make a beer can (or beer butt, depending on where you're from) chicken once in a while and I just thought he was being funny, propping the chicken up on a can of beer, but it really makes the most unbelievable, moist, juicy chicken, with a delicious crisp skin.
This is only my second time attempting the art of beer can chicken and I think I learnt from my first round mistakes. I created a wet rub which consisted of olive oil, garlic, chipotles, lime juice, orange juice, salt, pepper, cilantro and brown sugar, and really made sure to get it everywhere, including under the skin and inside the cavity. I also dropped a bit into the beer can itself. This time I also placed half a lime into the top cavity of the chicken (this helps keep all the steam inside the chicken, and not allowing it to escape.) An important piece here, is the chicken needs to be cooked on indirect heat on the BBQ. This means you would turn on the burners away from where you're going to be propping your chicken, and let it cook over the unlit burners. The total cook time for the chicken will be about 1.5 hours, at 350F. I also finish mine by adding some wood chips to smoker pucks and allowing it to smoke for the last 30 minutes of cooking.
When it comes to the beer, some say the different types of beer will affect the taste of the chicken, but I think the jury is still out on that one. I choose the beer I want to drink! The great part of doing a beer can chicken, is that you have to get rid of half the beer in the can, so where better than in your mouth (Editor's note: make sure you drink the beer before you put the wet rub in there!). I went with one of my go-to's, the ClockTower Red, from Clocktower Brewery in Ottawa.
For the sides, go with whatever you're feeling like having. A salad, some steamed veggies, loaded baked potatoes. I went with a wild grain rice with corn, and a pea puree (went the puree route because I figured it would look cool. Peas are peas... but if you want to do the puree, cook the peas, then add to a blender or food processor and add milk, salt, pepper, and mint and blend until smooth).
For plating, from the different pictures in this post, I clearly couldn't decide on what I wanted to do, so here they all are! In the first, i simply placed the chicken leg/thigh onto the puree and rice, while on the board, I have a leg, wing and breast all stacked on the puree, with the rice on the side. I also would have kept the flesh in the orange slice, but hey, the picture was already taken. Cooking and plating is all about trial and error. Don't be afraid to try something and learn from it if you don't like what you've done.
This meal can be made in a couple hours, but is relatively hands off once the chicken is on the BBQ. It's also very important to let the chicken rest once it's off the grill. Wrapping it in foil, and letting it rest for 10-15 minutes (while you finish off the other pieces of your dinner) will allow it to absorb it's juices. We don't want to be losing those when we cut into the chicken! This meal is great after work, with kids, or when having a dinner party. The can in the cavity of the chicken always seems to be a great conversation starter.
Feel free to make it your own. Change up spices, do a dry rub as opposed to a wet, whatever you're feeling! Hope you enjoy it!
- The Kid
1 whole chicken (approx 3 lbs)
For the wet rub:
1.5 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves fresh garlic (minced)
1.5 chipotles in adobo sauce
Juice of 1/2 fresh lime
Juice of 1/3 orange
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp smoked sea salt
2 tbsp cilantro (chopped)
1/2 tsp brown sugar
1 tall boy can of beer
1 aluminum pie plate
For the rice:
Long grain wild rice
Sweet corn on the cob (cooked, and kernels removed)
1. Rinse and pat dry the chicken, and set aside.
2. Turn on BBQ burners farthest from where you will be cooking the chicken, and heat to 350
3. Combine all ingredients of the wet rub in a bowl. Rub the wet rub all over the inside, outside, and under the skin of the chicken. Save about 1 tsp of the rub.
3. Open and drink 2-3 good mouth fulls of the beer from the can. Add remaining wet rub to the inside of the can
4. Place the chicken on the can, and plug the top cavity with 1/2 of a lime. Place the chicken on the BBQ (indirect burner)
5. Cook for 1.5 hours - keep an eye on the temperature.
6. Remove chicken from the grill and remove the beer can. Place on a board to rest, and cover with aluminum foil. Let sit for 10-15 minutes, or until the rest of your meal is ready
7. Using a sharp knife, carve the chicken and serve!
*If making the rice shown in the pictures, simply cook the rice as directed on the package, cook a cob of corn, then cut off the kernels and add to the rice with salt, pepper and butter and stir to combine.