Memorial Day, the unofficial start to summer, has passed. Grilling season has begun. And now it’s time for quick and easy weeknight dinners that don’t heat up the kitchen. One of my favorites is my version of “beer can” chicken – which happens to be one of the first recipes posted on EDA. But I don’t bother with cutting open a can. With all the fancy pans out these days, there’s no need to cut yourself or to attempt to force the chicken on it and spill half the beer. Everyone from Williams-Sonoma to Target sells them, so cost is not an issue. And with most you can grill veggies around the bottom.
Since I can fill the cylinder with any liquid, sometimes I’ll use white wine, as I did in this recipe. But you can also use rose or cider and any herbs of your choosing. If you want more heat, use a spicier rub. Or if you prefer a mild flavor, just rub with lost of herbs and salt. You can’t really go wrong. And everyone loves the presentation.
1 whole chicken (about 4-5 lbs), rinsed and innards removed
Olive oil to coat the chicken
Spice rub (smoked paprika, chili powder, etc.)
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 a lemon
Lots of tarragon
2 tbsps of butter, sliced
For the infusion:
1 white wine
2 sprigs of fresh tarragon
1/2 a lemon
Lightly oil the chicken on all sides. (I prefer lemon oil.) Rub with spice mixture of your choosing all over the outside. (Last time I used the Latin spice blend leftover from my Blue Apron experiment.) Sprinkle with salt and pepper outside and in the cavity. Place lemon and some tarragon in the cavity. Place tarragon leaves around the outside of the chicken wherever you can. Put butter slices under skin near breast and near top so it will drip down.
Fill the cooking container almost to the top with wine, lemon and more tarragon. Then place the chicken on top of it so that the legs rest around it. Let sit for an hour if you want to deepen the rub flavor, but it’s not necessary.
Preheat grill over high. Place chicken over indirect heat and lower temperature to medium (about 350 degrees).
Check after 30 minutes and turn if needed for better browning. Cook till the internal temperature is about 170 degrees and wings can pull away easily. (This usually takes me about an hour or so.) Let rest for 5-10 minutes.
Serve with grilled broccolini (that can be put on during the last 15 minutes of cooking time) or grilled Jersey asparagus tossed in a bit of oil, salt and pepper, which is in season right now. Add a salad of your choosing to keep it light. I like arugula, blue cheese and dried cranberries with balsamic. Or a fresh mozzarella and tomato salad is always a good idea especially in the middle to late summer when tomatoes are at their best in the Northeast.
To drink: whatever you used to infuse the chicken should work well. And you have an excuse to finish what was opened.