Chicken cavity — not just for beer any more

Beer in the Rear Chicken has been a Sunday staple at our house for quite a number of years. For those who might have somehow missed out on this grilling fad, it involves placing the rear end of the bird over the top of a partially full can of beer and then grilling it. The beer is supposed to baste the chicken from the inside.

So when I was going through a grilling cookbook this week, I was intrigued — even though I’m not a baked bean fan — to come across a recipe for Bean Butt Chicken. The authors of the book say it is an attempt to improve upon the original method by “having something in the offending can that can actually be eaten (not just swilled). By grilling chicken on a can of baked beans, you get a perfectly roasted chicken, plus a side dish of baked beans flavored with chicken drippings and spiced rub.”

Bean Butt Chicken

Heat a gas or charcoal grill to medium (325-350 degrees) for indirect cooking method.

Rub both the inside and outside of one 4-pound chicken, which has been washed and dried, with about 2 tablespoons of your favorite grilling rub, and rub the outside with 2 teaspoons canola oil.

Open one 16-ounce can baked beans and stir an additional 1 teaspoon of the rub into the beans. Remove the label from the can and coat the outside of it with 1 teaspoon canola oil. Put the can on a plate or sturdy sheet pan. Lower the chicken onto the can, inserting the can into the internal cavity of the bird. Position the chicken so the legs and the can form a tripod holding the chicken upright.

Put the chicken and can on the grill away from the heat; cover the grill and cook until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 170 degrees, about 1½ hours.

Transfer the chicken, still on the can, to a plate or tray using tongs to hold the chicken and a spatula slipped under the can. Holding the can with the tongs and gripping the chicken with a towel or silicone grill mitts, twist and lift the chicken off the can. Transfer bird to a carving board and let rest for about 10 minutes before carving.

Serve chicken with the beans.

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