I went to my Family Fun: All About the Grill cooking class yesterday and we made Soda Can Chicken. Why did we use Coke instead of Beer? Because we had kids in the class. Chef Kat said coke or Dr Pepper will make the chicken infuse a sweet flavor to the chicken while sprite would give the chicken more of a citrus flavor. Personally I couldn’t tell. I was more concerned about the spicy rub we, or I should say I, slathered all over the bird, but it was pretty mild and the bird was very moist and fell apart...I mean it was delicious.
I would presume that a can of beer would do the same thing...moist, falls apart with a hint of a Budweiser or your favorite Lager.
Since we made ours in a classroom setting there were no grills, we baked ours in the oven at 425F for an hour to reach an internal temperature of 175. Chef Kat says chicken needs to be at the minimum 165F for the internal temperature of the thigh.
It always worries me when I grill, broil or sear meat, because there are carcinogenic compounds that can form called HCA's (heterocyclic amines) and PHA’s (Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons). Learning to use certain spices and herbs not only make food taste better, they can help lower HCA and PAH content. Did you know that a dark beer marinade can reduce PHA by 53% and using olive oil along with rosemary, basil, thyme, garlic, onion powder, sage oregano and turmeric can reduce HCA from 70% to 94%?
As far as our 3-4lb whole bird we can’t marinate it but we can lather it in olive oil and use a spice rub using some of the spices I’ve mentioned... AND to top it off use a Dark Beer for that little birdie to sit on! So when it comes down to what’s better Soda Can Chicken or Beer Can Chicken...it’s not what’s better tasting, it’s whats better for you. If a dark beer might help reduce PHAs..I’m choosing the beer! (personally I don’t think the chicken going to soak up that much alcohol anyway)
Spice Rub Ingredients:
1/2 cup paprika (if using an oven instead of a grill use smoked paprika)
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon thyme
2 teaspoons ground celery seeds
2 teaspoons pepper
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
Enough oil to drizzle on entire chicken
1 can of soda or beer
1 3 1\2-4 lb whole chicken, giblets discarded
2 bay leaves
2 cups of wood chips, soaked in water 15 minutes and drained
1 13” x 9” disposable roasting pan, if using a charcoal grill or in the oven.
Open beer or soda and drink 1/4 cup. Punch 2 extra holes in the top of the can then crumble the bay leaves into the can.
Pat dry your chicken, then drizzle on the oil and rub it in ..all over. Then rub in the spices on the outside and the inside. Slide the chicken over the can all the way down making sure it will stand upright. Tuck wings underneath.
You can now bake the bird in the oven at 400F for and hour and a half or
Using a large piece of foil wrap the soaked wood chips in a 8” x 4 1/2” foil packet and cut 2 evenly spaced 2” slits at the top of the packet.
Charcoal Grill:use 4 quarts of charcoal briquettes. Light them and when the top coals are partially covered with ash place the wood chip package on top. Make sure grate is secured and heat grill until hot and wood chips are smoking. Open vent halfway and place the chicken (in the disposable pan) in the center of the grill. Cover with the lid vent over the chicken and cook until thigh reached 175 degrees, 1-1 1/2 hours.
Gas Grill:remove grate and place wood chip packet directly on the primary burner, replace grate. Cover, turn burners on high and heat grill until hot and wood chips are smoking, 15 minutes. Turn burners to medium or retain a temperature of 325 degrees. Place chicken in the center of the grill, cover and cook 1-1 1/2 hours or thigh temperature reaches 175 degrees.
When done carefully transfer the chicken to a tray, tent with foil and let feast 15 minutes before you remove it from the can and start carving. Yum Yum!