Start Your Weekend Right with Beer Can Chicken

Beer isn’t just a refreshing summer beverage—it can be quite useful in the kitchen to boot. In honor of International Beer Day, we’re sharing our recipe for beer can chicken. True to its name, the dish entails placing a can of beer (or soda, if you prefer) in the cavity of the chicken to create flavorful steam during cooking, resulting in super tender meat. Tangy salt and vinegar potatoes make the perfect accompaniment.

This small chicken, known as a poussin rouge, will be cooked faster than an average, larger bird. To check doneness, insert a knife into the meat; if the juices run clear, it’s cooked.

1 lemon
⅛ ounce fresh thyme
2 ounces baby arugula
12 ounces peanut potatoes
1 small chicken
1 spice mix
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 can mandarin-lime soda
½ cup white vinegar
2 1/2 teaspoons honey
2 tablespoons barbecue sauce

2½ tablespoons olive oil
1 can beer (optional)
kosher salt
black pepper
aluminum foil
baking sheet
8″ medium pot


Prepare Ingredients:

Remove top rack of oven to make room for chicken, then preheat to 400°F. Halve lemon. Rinse thyme and strip leaves, discarding stems. Rinse arugula and potatoes. Pat chicken dry with paper towel and remove and discard giblet bag from cavity. Rub all over with spice mix. Season outside and cavity with 1 teaspoon salt and pepper as desired.

Roast Chicken:

Open soda or beer, if using, and place can on a foil-lined baking sheet. Slide cavity of chicken over can as far down as possible to secure and balance upright. Transfer baking sheet to oven and roast until skin is browned and crisp and chicken is cooked through, 35-40 minutes. Remove chicken from baking sheet and set aside, leaving oven on. Once chicken has cooled slightly, carefully remove can (it’s hot!) and discard. Discard foil.

Boil Potatoes:

While chicken roasts, place potatoes in a medium pot. Add white vinegar and cover with cold water. Season generously with salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until tender when pierced with a knife tip, 17-18 minutes. Drain and return to pot, off heat and set aside.

Make Dressing:

While potatoes boil, in a medium bowl, whisk together honey, juice of 1 lemon, and 1½ tablespoons olive oil. Season with ⅛ teaspoon salt and pepper as desired. Add arugula and toss to coat. Set aside. Line baking sheet with fresh foil.

Roast Potatoes:

Increase oven temperature to 450°F. Return roasted chicken breast-side up to foil-lined baking sheet and brush top with barbecue sauce. Add thyme and 1 tablespoon olive oil to pot with potatoes and toss to coat. Season with ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper as desired. Scatter potatoes around chicken, transfer to oven, and roast together until chicken skin is crisp and potatoes are tender, 10-12 minutes.

Plate Chicken:

Place chicken back-side up on a cutting board. Using kitchen scissors or a large knife, cut along each side of backbone and discard the bone (see Recipe Tip). Halve through breastplate. Serve with roasted potatoes and arugula salad.

in Nourish


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