Wood-Roasted Beer-Can Chicken
“It’s the wood that makes it good.” If you can name that quote without Googling, we are already on our way to becoming best friends.
All television trivia aside, it’s no secret: chicken (well, most foods for that matter) tastes better when cooked with wood and fire. There’s something supremely delicious about cooking using a method that’s been around for 1 million years. Perhaps it’s some archaic, nearly dormant lobe in our brain that goes wild when treated to pre-civilization nostalgia. Whatever the reason, I can promise you two things: This will be the easiest chicken you’ve ever cooked, AND, more than likely, the tastiest.
Beer-can chicken was a major fad a couple of decades or so ago. Kenny Chesney even wrote a song about it, from my understanding. Proponents of the technique praised the flavor and juiciness of a bird roasted vertically atop a beer can containing a mix of beer and spices.
However, most professional chefs argue beer inside the cavity of a bird does not add any sort of flavor. They consider the method simply a waste of beer, though they do agree on one thing – a bird roasted vertically over indirect heat will cook evenly and finish with a crispy, delicious skin. Translation: Use this recipe as an excuse to grab a case and drink all that beer, saving only the number of cans proportionate to the number of chickens you plan to roast.
PLEASE NOTE: Be mindful of where you purchase your wood. Make sure it’s natural, preferably locally cut, something that won’t burn black. Quality wood should burn cleanly with white smoke. Should you ever see black smoke, pull that wood safely and immediately.
What You'll NeedTools
- Pyro Tower
- Pyro Tower Firewood Rack
- Pyro Cooking Kit
- Pyro Baking Steel
- Grill gloves
- A couple bundles of quality wood
- Hatchet to split logs for kindling
- Paper napkins to dry chicken and ignite kindling
- Beer can (12- or 16-ounce)
- Spatula or tongs, if planning to fry potatoes for side dish
- Aluminum Foil
- A meat thermometer (recommended)
Ingredients (serves 4 people)
- 3- to 4-pound fresh chicken
- Your favorite poultry rub (I used just a mix of kosher salt, black pepper, granulated garlic and cayenne powder)
- 2 pounds potatoes (optional), diced dime-size and lightly salt-&-peppered to fry in leftover chicken grease
How to Make It
Pull chicken a couple of hours ahead of cooking and rub down with your favorite spice mix.
Place Firewood Rack in lower left of Pyro Tower and install grill grate, placing Baking Steel atop right of grate.
Start a fire in Firewood Rack.
Half an hour before ready to cook, apply napkins to bottom and top of chicken to dry skin (dry skin = crispy skin).
Stuff beer can into cavity of chicken and place atop Baking Steel, approximately 6 inches from edge of steel.
Close all doors of Pyro Tower and manage vents and amount of wood to keep temperature between 300 and 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Rotate chicken using grill gloves occasionally for an even roast.
Roast for 1.5 to 2 hours until when tested with meat thermometer the internal temperature of breast reads 160 or above and thigh reads 175 or above. Remove when done and tent with aluminum foil, allowing to rest so juices can redistribute for 20 minutes.
Optional: Dice some potatoes and fry until golden in chicken grease that has pooled atop baking steel. Feel free to add beer to loose chicken fat so it sticks to potatoes.
Carve and enjoy!
Any questions, feel free to reach out to me on Instagram: @WildGameJack