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Monday, June 25, 2012

Cider Can Chicken

Best. Chicken. Ever.
No, seriously. At least it's the best chicken I've ever had. Not sure about your chicken eating habits and moments of poultry elation, but this is my favorite preparation. I've made this a few times now and never had an issue with how it's turned out, this leads me to believe that it's foolproof. Which is awesome. I beg you to try this at least once this grilling season, I promise chickeny joy, busting bellies & rave reviews from the lucky people who get to eat it with you. 
Honey Crisp Cider Can Chicken: (could feed 4 normal people, but if you're like me, 2-3)

One 4-5 lb. whole chicken, giblets and such removed if not already
One empty 12 oz. can 
2-3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
1 Tbsp. fresh thyme, finely chopped
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. freshly ground pink pepper 
1 Tbsp. grated lemon zest
2 bay leaves 

1) Wash your chicken inside and out with cold water and pat dry. In a small bowl, rub together
    the salt, peppers, thyme, and lemon zest. Coat the chicken with oil and rub the mixture 
    onto the chicken, making sure to get under the legs and wings. Allow to sit at room
    temperature for about 30 minutes. 
2) Preheat the grill part way through the chicken hanging out on the counter. See note below. 
3) Fill the empty can with 6 oz. cider, I'd recommend not using a larger can with this size 
    chicken because it will sit too high and become wobbly. A turkey however...well, that's a 
    thing to try out next fall :) Shove the can with approximately the amount of things pictured
    directly below. 2 bay leaves, 2 sprigs thyme, tsp. each whole peppercorns, some lemon 
    zest, and I even threw in a couple allspice berries. 
4) Now gracefully plop your chicken down on top of the can, moving it around until it's nice and
    snug. She's all ready for the grill! (or oven).  Do the best you can to carefully position the 
    bird soundly on the rack. Close the grill and walk away for the first hour. No peeking! 
    I promise it will be ok. Same goes for oven prep. 
5) After the first hour, check the bird every 15 minutes until it reaches and internal temperature
    of 160/165 in the breast and 180ish in the thigh. *If you don't have a thermometer, buy one. 
    It is really the best way to get an accurate idea of whether or not your meat is done.* Once
    it's reached the temp, carefully pull the bird off (keep in mind there is molten hot liquid that 
    might be seeping out its rear), allow to rest 10 minutes and then eat until you can't eat any 

    ** If you're working with coals: the chicken will need to cook over indirect, med-high heat, 
      so arrange the coals accordingly. If you have a gas grill: make sure to only ignite the burners
      so the chicken won't be directly over them, med-high heat/350. You can also do this in the 
      oven, in a roasting pan, lower rack, uncovered at 350. **



Mrs. Chicken after the first hour 

Served the chicken alongside some oven roasted fingerlings & arugula, green bean, fennel salad with shallot vinaigrette, they went together beautifully! 
Demolished! Poor bird never stood a chance against our hungry bellies and eyes. Try it, it really is easy and you will not be disappointed. It comes out with crispy, amazingly tasty skin and the meat is so moist and flavorful; it is chicken heaven in its simplest form, uncomplicated and delicious. 
Go, now, away with you! You're off to the store to buy chicken and cider! 


  1. nice, I love beer can butt chicken (as do everyone that I cook for) and had thought of using a summer shandy lemonade heff but this sounds even better.
    A couple of suggestions:
    Cans - Depending on the size of the bird, use either a Monster Energy can with a twist off lid as they are sturdy and easy to load spices in. For a can that can be used for large or small birds, use a Sapporo can. It's small on the bottom and large at top and you can punch a hole in the bottom to open for the large birds.
    Also these are both large capability cans and leave you some of the tasty broth to use later. (You can freeze any leftover liquid in an ice cube tray for come amazing broth cubes to spice up a soup or dish)

  2. Thanks for the tips Datasinc, handy tidbits are always good! I love the thought of keeping the broth in ice cube trays!

    1. No problem! Thanks for the idea of using Crispin in the recipe.
      Broth cubes are a great trick I use all the time. I'd hate to waste a single drop of Honey Crisp!
      Feel free to add anything to your recipes that you like that I post.
      I'm a huge fan of the Crispin brand and just had my first Fox Barrel last night after meeting the AZ sales rep at my local independent beer store that I got to start carrying Crispin. I'm inspired to come up with some recipes of my own now.