Let me introduce you to the joys of cheap, easy chicken. For about $12 (assuming you have spices already) you can prepare a totally awesome dinner for four. Here’s what you’ll need:

beer chicken 3

  • a 6-pack of your favorite crappy canned beer
  • some leftover white wine
  • a lime
  • a bay leaf for the bird
  • some garlic
  • an onion (sliced into 8ths, but take one of those 8ths and dice it)
  • some butter
  • cooking spray (not pictured, because I forgot)
  • a chicken
  • spices. Here’s what I used:
    • lots of paprika
    • cayenne pepper
    • fancy salt (or regular. But my sister got me this rocking truffle salt that I used today)
    • pepper. I used a red/black blend

Now to the cooking! First, preparing your kitchen.

  1. Move the racks in your oven to the lowest possible setting
  2. beer chicken 1

  3. Scrub out at least one half of your sink. This will be your staging area later, when you are up to your elbows in chicken yuckies
  4. beer chicken 2

  5. Get a ziplock bag and put it in a cup. This is for the gobbets and globules of stuff inside your chicken
    beer chicken 4

And that’s pretty much it to preparing your kitchen.

Now the fun part! Non chicken prep work! Drink your beer and mix together your rub. Combine the spices you have until it tastes okay. Then add a few more spices from your pantry. Have another sip of beer, and dice your garlic and butter. Have some more beer. You will have to fit all the garlic and all the butter and all the wine into that beer can. Add more salt to the rub than you originally thought was necessary. For this I switched to regular old kosher salt. Have another sip of beer and cut your lime up for squeezing. Now open another can of beer, because that’s the one that will actually go in to the chicken. Here’s what I ended up with by the time I was ready to prep my chicken:

beer chicken 6

  1. brown sugar (just a little bit)
  2. lemon pepper
  3. garlic powder
  4. paprika
  5. onion powder
  6. kosher salt
  7. truffle salt
  8. red/black pepper mix
  9. cayenne pepper

Remember to keep tasting it until it tastes delicious, but a little stronger than you’d like. It’s a rub; that means most of it won’t actually make it into your mouth but instead be absorbed by your chicken.

Now turn on your oven to 350°

beer chicken 5

Take a last sip of beer. Stuff all your diced garlic and most of your butter, as well as some of that onion into your second beer. Pour the wine into it and squeeze in half of the lime. It should look totally unappetizing.

beer chicken 7

Good!  Now spray down the outside very well with some cooking spray. Otherwise it will stick inside your chicken and be a pain to get out later.

Now prep your chicken. I didn’t take many pictures of this part, because I was covered in bits of chicken. Some of them I recognized, but mostly not. Anyway.

  1. Take all the innards out of your chicken and put them in your ziplok cup. Later, you can put it in the freezer with your bones and skin to make stock. Yum!
  2. Rinse the whole bird out and pat it dry with some paper towels (drying is totally optional. I forgot to pull off some paper towels ahead of time, so this time I didn’t dry it off. Your chicken skin will be less crispy if you forget this step).
  3. To loosen the skin, run your fingers around the chicken between the skin and the meat.
  4. Once that’s done, rub that remaining butter all over between the meat and the skin and on top of the skin. Squeeze the other half of the lime all over inside and out. Rub down the inside of the bird with the rub you made, and also put it between the skin and meat and all over the outside of the skin. Before you finish, your oven will probably be hot.
  5. Reach all the way inside the chicken and tuck the neck in until it’s inside the cavity.
  6. Drop in your used lime halves and the un-diced parts of your onion.
  7. Put the beer into the middle of a pan, and the balance the chicken over it. The beer is the main supportive structure here, so from now on be very careful.

You can’t see it in that picture, but I’ve also put about 4 cups of water in that dish. This helps keep the drippings from burning. Pop this bad boy in the oven for about two hours, and come back later to a delicious chicken.

Make sure your meat thermometer (you do have one, right?) shows 165° in the thickest part of the meat (jab it in where the leg connects to the body, just underneath the wing). 165 is the minimum safe temperature for a whole poultry. My mother in law is a dietitian, so I’m sure you trust me on this.

When removing the chicken from the can of beer, have someone with a pot-holder grab the can. Either with tongs or with more potholders, pull the chicken off and put it on your carving board. Carve it as you wish, and enjoy!

And now I’m starving! Time to eat.

ps. I added the veggies after I took the picture. Eat your vegetables!