Sunday, May 6, 2007

Grill Roasted Beer Can Chicken with Citrus-Cilantro Wet Rub

  • 1 cup kosher salt or 1/2 cup table salt
  • 1 whole chicken (about 3 1/2 pounds)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced very fine
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro leaves
  • 4 3-inch wood chunks
  • 1 (12-ounce) can beer

Dissolve the salt in 2 quarts cold water in a large container. Immerse the chicken in the salted water and refrigerate until fully seasoned, about 1 hour. Soak the wood chunks in cold water to cover for 1 hour and drain.

Combine ingredients for the rub in a small bowl.

Remove chicken from the brine and rinse inside and out with cool running water; pat dry with paper towels. Massage the rub all over the chicken, inside and out. Lift up the sin over the breast and rub the spice mixture directly onto the meat.

Light a large chimney starter filled a little more than halfway with charcoal briquettes and allow to burn until covered with a thin layer of gray ash. Empty the coals into the grill. Divide the coals in half to form two piles on either side of the grill; use long-handled tongs to move any stray coals into the piles. Nestle 2 soaked wood chunks on top of each pile. Position the grill rack over the coals and cover the grill. Heat the rack for 5 minutes, then scrape it clean with a wire brush.

Open the beer can and pour out (or drink) about 1/4 cup. With a church key can opener, punch two more large holes in the top of the can (for a total of three). Slice the chicken over the can so that the drumsticks reach down to the bottom of the can and the chicken stands upright.

Place the chicken and beer can on the cool part of the grill. Cover and grill-roast, rotating the bird and can 180 degrees at the halfway mark to ensure even cooking, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 170 to 175 degrees, 70 to 90 minutes.

With a large wad of paper towels in each hand, transfer the chicken and can to a platter or tray, making sure to keep the can upright. Let rest for 15 minutes. Using wads of paper towel, carefully lift the chicken off the can and onto a platter or cutting board. Discard the remaining beer and can. Carve the chicken and serve.

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