We know you know about cooking chicken with a beer can stuffed up its butt. The sight of poultry compromised by brew has become a grilling icon, and it is the inspiration for this concoction, which attempts an improvement on the original by having something in the offending can that can actually be eaten (not just swilled). By grilling chicken on a can of baked beans, you get a perfectly roasted chicken, plus a side dish of baked beans flavored with chicken drippings and spice rub.
Prep: 15 minutes (plus 5 minutes for rub)
Grill: About 1½ hours.
BBQ TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT
– Long-handled tongs
– Long-handled spatula.
THE GENIUS OF COOKING CHICKEN ON A CAN
Poultry has an engineering problem. The white meat is done at a temperature 10°F lower than the dark meat, resulting in roasted chickens with either desiccated breasts or wobbly thighs. The trick is to get the leg sections cooking faster or the breasts cooking slower, which is exactly what standing a chicken upright on a grill does. By perching a chicken on a can (or a vertical roaster), you lift the breast away from the fire and place the legs (especially the pesky hip joint, which is always the last part to get done) right next to the flame. The outcome is miraculous: No parts are dry and no parts are raw perfect chicken every time.
Indirect heat, medium (325° to 350°F)
3- or 4-burner grill–middle burner(s) off
2-burner grill–1 side off
Clean, oiled grate
Indirect heat, medium ash
Split charcoal bed (about 2 dozen coals per side)
20 replacement coals
Heavy-duty drip pan set between banks of charcoal
Clean, oiled grate on medium setting.
INGREDIENTS (MAKES 4 SERVINGS)
1 chicken, about 4 pounds, washed and dried
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon Fragrant Chile Rub
3 teaspoons canola oil
1 can (about 16 ounces) baked beans.
1. Heat the grill as directed.
2. Rub the chicken inside and out with the 2 tablespoons chile rub, and rub the outside of the chicken with 2 teaspoons of the oil.
3. Open the can of beans. Stir the 1 teaspoon chile rub into the beans. Remove the label from the can and coat the outside of the can with the remaining 1 teaspoon oil. Put on a plate or sturdy sheet pan. Lower the chicken onto the can, inserting the can into the internal cavity of the bird. Position the chicken so that the legs and the can form a tripod holding the chicken upright.
4. Put the chicken and can on the grill away from the heat, cover the grill, and cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a thigh registers about 170°F, about 1½ hours. If your grill has an external temperature gauge, it should stay at around 350°F. If you are using charcoal or wood, you will probably have to replenish after the first hour.
5. Transfer the chicken, still on the can, to a plate or tray, using tongs to hold the chicken and a spatula slipped under the can. Holding the can with tongs and gripping the chicken with a towel or silicone grill mitts, twist and lift the chicken off the can. Transfer to a carving board. Let rest for 8 to 10 minutes; carve and serve with the beans.