This weekend I did something rather rude to a chicken. And despite living about 65 miles east of Portlandia, I didn’t ask the chicken her name, or anything about her life. Clearly that was inconsiderate, but not really rude. Rude came a little later, when I shoved a can up her, well…
I’ve been curious about the whole concept of Beer Can Chicken for a while now, but never attempted. I think a certain boldness is required to pursue it. The concept seemed sound enough. Barbecues can certainly double for ovens. I’ve tested that theory with numerous grilled pizzas and stuffed flatbread. I think it was just the way the bird actually looked that was stopping me. She’s sitting there, upright, as though she was watching her favorite afternoon stories. Well, if she still had a head. It just seemed a little, um, disturbing. That was how I felt until last Thanksgiving, when I met Trash Can Turkey. That seemed a bit odd too, a turkey who looks like he’s sitting in an easy chair watching the game, encased in a garbage can. But the succulent beast that landed on the table was without a doubt the BEST turkey I’ve ever had. So if sitting under a can is good enough for Tom, sitting on one is good enough for whatshername.
And it was good. Really good. Especially with the barbecue sauce I made to dress her nakedness as she sat there, back to the inevitable, like she was waiting for a bus. A bit more on that sauce in a minute. First the bird. Sam Sifton from the New York Times has a great recipe for Beer Can Chicken. I made two modifications. First, I very generously salted and peppered the beast and let rest in my fridge, covered, for about 24 hours. This is my standard prep for a bird that goes in the oven, so I figured it would work as well with barby-bird. Second, I had no beer but did have a can of hard cider. Since the purpose was mostly a perch I figured it would be fine substituting, and not being particularly fond of this brand of cider, foregoing the contents wasn’t a loss. I was thinking of playing around with cider in a recipe anyway, so the half can I was going to dump went into the sauce.
The resulting Hard Cider BBQ Sauce was a nice play of sweetness, heat and a little tang. Give it a try. But if you use it on a chicken sitting on a can, at least introduce yourself first. It would be rude not to.
Hard Cider BBQ Sauce
Makes about 2 cups
- 1/2 a can of hard cider (your preference – I used Schilling Ginger Cider)
- 1 TBSP tomato paste
- 2 TBSP cider vinegar
- 1 cup ketchup
- 6 TBSP brown sugar
- 1 TBSP honey
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 – 1 tsp cayenne, New Mexico, or your favorite
- 1 TBSP cumin
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 good shot bourbon
Add everything together in a saucepan. Whisk until combined. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook about 30-45 minutes until thickened. I found it to be better the next day, once the flavors have had a chance to get to know each other. Store in a jar in the fridge.
If you like what you read here, please help me spread the word. Meantime, I’d love you to join me on Facebook (please click the ‘like’ button), and check out what else is going on in my kitchen at cookinginmyheels.com. Thanks!