Saturday, October 6, 2012

Root Beer Chicken

I know grilling season is coming to an end for most, but for me this is my favorite time of year for it.  It is so much more enjoyable to be outside when it is in the 60's and 70's rather than in the 90's with 100% humidity.  And I find I have more of a craving for many of the traditional grilled food, this time time of year.  One of my favorite things to make on the grill is Beer Butt Chicken.


For me this is not only a super tasty food it is also a very funny food.  Starting with the name, it just sounds like a funny thing to serve someone, but it's the look of it, that I find particularly humorous.  It is very entertaining, while at the same time slightly disturbing, to open the grill and see a headless chicken looking as if it is about to run right off the grill.

If you haven't made beer butt chicken it is super easy and a great way to cook chicken on the grill.  You get a moist and flavorful chicken that is beautifully browned and golden on all sides.  Traditionally a can of beer is used, but you can use pretty much any canned beverage, and my favorite is a can of Root Beer.

For the outside I like to go with a pretty traditional seasoning mix - salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika. By keeping it simple the chicken can be used in a variety of ways and the pairing options are endless.


When making beer butt chicken you only need half a can of liquid, which means you can either enjoy the other half while cooking or use it in another dish to tie your meal together.  While I am often tempted to use it for a root beer float, I usually push the temptation aside and make a BBQ sauce instead. This sauce is incredibly flavorful with a wonderful sweet, spicy tang.  You may want to have some extra bread with dinner to sop it up with, otherwise you may find yourself digging in with a spoon and eating it right out of the bowl.

I am sorry I don't have any pictures of the delicious dinner, but it was inhaled so quickly I didn't get a chance to snap any!

Root Beer Butt Chicken with BBQ Sauce
printer ready
1 whole chicken
Chicken Seasoning (see below)
1 can root beer
1 cup ketcup
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup orange juice
3 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. molasses
½ tsp. ginger powder
½  tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. onion powder

Prepare grill, for indirect cooking, leave back half of burners off and turn front half of burners to medium high heat.  

Wash and pat dry chicken.  Generously sprinkle entire chicken with chicken seasoning.  Pour out and reserve, 1 cup of root beer.   Place chicken on top of open can, so chicken is standing upright.  Place chicken on back half of grill, use the legs and can as a tripod to help the chicken stand.  Close cover and let chicken cook for at least an hour or until thermometer, placed in thickest part, reads 160°-165°.  Remove from heat, let chicken rest for 10 minutes, slice and serve.  

While the chicken cooks, combine the 1 cup of root beer set aside and remaining ingredients in a small saucepan.  Place over medium high heat, stirring continuously bring to a boil.  Once mixture has reached a boil reduce temperature to medium low and let simmer for about 20 minutes.  Let cool slightly then serve with roasted chicken.    

Chicken Seasoning

2 Tbsp. paprika
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. Lemon Pepper (can use plain pepper and lemon zest)
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. marjoram
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cayenne pepper

Place all ingredients in small bowl, stir until combined.