Today’s food post turned out to be one where I had to improvise. I got a couple of ceramic “roasters” for making “beer can chicken”.
Beer Can Chicken???
I suppose I’ll have to divert for a moment and explain beer can chicken. It’s a (mostly) Southern thing. 🙂 Beer Butt chicken among the classy folk, lol. At it’s simplest, beer can chicken is standing the chicken upright with an open beer can stuffed in the body cavity. The beer steams the inside of the chicken, keeping it moist, tender, and adding flavor.
Since it’s hard to get the chicken to stand up on end, there are wire racks that you can use to hold the can, and thus keep it upright, OR you can get a ceramic one like I did:
The ceramic is the best option IMO, because you can use anything to “steam” the inside of the chicken. Refined aluminum (ie from the can) has been linked to Alzheimer’s and other health problems, then there’s the whole paint on the can too, so yeah… ceramic for me. Too many other bonuses on top of being able to use something other than skunky beer.
Back to the Meal!
So, I brined the chicken about six hours, then rinsed it off, dried and seasoned it:
The seasoning was a combination of Sucklebuster’s SPG and Clucker Dust:
SPG is just salt, pepper and garlic. Easy to do yourself but handy to have in a single bottle and Sucklebusters really is a top notch spice company. Clucker Dust has a few more seasonings; primarily a little brown sugar and chipotle pepper. Not enough to make it sweet or hot. It’s just enough to make the flavor profile more complex.
OK, so after I got some rub on the chicken, I filled up the “roaster” (some BBQ folks in the South call them thrones), with water, apple juice, garlic, rosemary, basil and oregano. Then I put the chicken on the throne, lol.
At this point is where I hit my problem and had to improvise. The original plan was to smoke the chicken slow and low on the Rec-Tec 680. HOWEVER… the throne was too tall to fit in the smoker.
Improvise, adapt and overcome… Into the oven it went instead:
I cooked it at 275 F (or 135c ) so as to keep the meat tender. I was being cautious there since this was the first time doing chicken this way. If I had it to do over again, I’d cook it at 325 or 350 so that the skin got a little crispier. All in all, it turned out really well though:
You can see the juice running off the chicken onto the cutting board.
Add some steamed and seasoned green beans and some cheddar biscuits:
No, neither of us finished a full half a yard bird either, LOL. Leftovers are all part of the madness here at casa de silk. Here’s a look at how tender that chicken was also:
That meat just pulled right off the leg.
Flavor was there also. The diluted apple juice and seasonings added some mild flavor while still allowing the flavor of the chicken itself to come through. Higher heat might have steamed more flavor into the bird though. 🤔
Anyhoo, we’ve ordered the standard (not tall) size roasters from Amazon, which will shorten the height by 3 inches (7.62cm).
That should give us clearance to use the smoker next time. Probably get a slightly smaller chicken too. This one was fairly big. Overall a successful experiment. I’m looking forward to doing it again and adding some smoke flavor.
An Added Note on These Ceramic Roasters or Thrones:
The nice thing about these is that you can use anything to ‘steam’ the chicken with. Beer and Coca-Cola are the most popular options in the South, but you can use anything from Champagne to dark ale to fruit juice… even sauces. You MIGHT want to dilute stronger liquids with water though, or your lemon chicken could be REALLY lemony. Then add any seasonings you want into that liquid, and viola! Moist, tender chicken flavored any way you chose to do it. And you can use it in the oven, or with a smoker or grill.
They clean up pretty easy also.
There are also ‘throne’ models for turkeys, but that’s going to stand pretty tall…