This Grand Adventure: Chelsa-Bea: Barbequed Beer Can Chicken

June 10, 2013

Barbequed Beer Can Chicken

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Given the circumstances the day I made this chicken, it would seem more fitting if I were to call it ‘tornado chicken’. No, it’s not because of the ingredients I used, or the way the chicken turned out. But, because the night I decided to make this chicken and shoot these photos, we spent the majority of the time hiding out in the basement of our apartment waiting out tornadoes.

I realize how ridiculous this must sound. Honestly, why was I barbequing a chicken when the tornado sirens were going off? Well, let me start by saying, that as far as I knew there weren’t supposed to be any tornadoes that evening. How would I know this? I am sort of obsessed when it comes to the weather. One of my long time dreams growing up was to become a meteorologist. I’m not even kidding. In my adolescence I used to study cloud formations, and watch The Weather Channel. While I didn’t end up becoming a meteorologist, I still follow the weather pretty faithfully.

Seriously though, that evening I knew we were in store for a rather severe thunderstorm. But, I had been adamantly checking the multiple weather apps on my phone, and, I thought, I knew down to the minute when it was supposed to rain. I seasoned the chicken, and carefully looked at my watch. From what I could tell, I had about an hour and a half before the storm was supposed to hit. This chicken takes an hour and ten minutes to cook, so I was within the time frame. I had already fired up the grill and I quickly whisked the chicken onto the BBQ. Took a few photos and ran back upstairs. Luck must have been on my side that day, because within minutes dark clouds seemed to rush in, and in 10 minutes it was pouring. Apparently, my weather calculations had been wrong because a few moments later the first tornado siren went off.

In the four years I’ve lived in Iowa, there has only been one other time have I actually felt truly threatened by a tornado and had to hide out in the basement. This was one of those evenings. After the second tornado siren blared through the neighborhood, I knew it was time to go. My husband and I wrapped up our cat, Charlie, and headed to the basement. Talk about being seriously scared out of my mind.

Fortunately, I believe we were only down there for about 30 minutes before the tornado warning ended. Once the sirens stopped and the rain subsided, I realized that our chicken was almost done. {Oops, kinda forgot about that one} My husband went outside to make sure the grill was still burning, and surprisingly, the thing hadn’t gone out. In retrospect, it’s sort of disturbing to think about what could have happened if a tornado hit with our gas grill burning. But...well, we won’t go there, because fortunately, Des Moines was okay and so was our chicken.

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This Beer Can Chicken is one of my favorite summer recipes. It’s simple, has few ingredients, and makes the moistest chicken I have ever had. It’s a staple in our house during the summer, and often served with grilled vegetables, a strawberry salad or some roasted potatoes.

Barbequed Beer Can Chicken


3 to 5 lbs chicken
1 can of beer or sparkling water (we use either depending on what we have in the house)
1 teaspoon olive oil
Good chicken seasoning – my favorite is Santa Maria Style Seasoning
Beer Can Chicken Grill Pan

To Make Chicken

Turn on all grill burners to high and let preheat for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, wash the chicken and take out the insides. Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel. Take the olive oil and spread all over chicken including a tad on the inside. Next, rub down the chicken with your favorite BBQ spices. Don’t be afraid to be generous.

Place the beer can in the holder. Carefully, place the chicken on top of the cooking cone. Then, place the cone on top of the can being cautious not to let it tip over. Put a small ball of tin foil into the top hole of the chicken. This helps to keep the moisture from the beer inside of the chicken while it is roasting on the grill.

Place the chicken towards the center of the grill. Turn off the middle burners. We use a 4 Burner Gas Grill, and so we turn off the middle two burners. If you have a 3 burner grill, you would just turn off the middle burner.

Close the grill and allow the chicken to cook for one hour and ten minutes.

Carefully remove the chicken from the top of the grill pan. Place on carving board and let sit for 10 minutes. Carve and enjoy!

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