by Patriots Daily Kitchen Staff

These guys again? Can someone ask Mike Reiss why we’re playing in Indy again? We play Detroit in 4 days so this must be an extra game they shoehorned in. Goodell has been saying he wanted more games.

What to eat?

When I think Indianapolis Colts, I think Bill Polian. When I think Bill Polian, I think Drunk Chicken.

So Beer Can Chicken it is.

Buffet Table Beer Can Chicken.

I’m sure you’ve seen these, a chicken perched on a beer can with it’s legs folded out. The beer steams the chicken from the inside while the rest of the chicken cooks from the outside. It reduces cooking time and keeps the bird moist and juicy.

We’ll be using Broiler-Fryer chickens. These are young chickens, ranging from 1.5 to 4 pounds. The next size up is the Roaster, they can weigh up to 7 pounds. You can grill a roaster, but obviously it’s meant for roasting. Roasting is a lower temperature method than grilling, so the outside of the bird won’t burn while the inside is still raw.

What we’re doing is grilling. Broiling and grilling are basically the same cooking method. A high temperature heat source close to the meat being cooked is the basis of both methods. Stick with the Broiler-Fryer, if you need more bird, just buy 2 or 3 Broiler-Fryers.

Roaster-Fryer chickens, 2 pounds per person, this may be a bit too much but when it comes to meat on the bone you can never be sure how much you’ll get.
1 can beer per chicken, plus one per chicken for the cook
BBQ rub
vegetable oil, 2 tablespoons per chicken

First we need to make a BBQ rub. If you have a favorite version, commercial or homemade, go ahead and use it. Otherwise follow this recipe or tailor it to your taste. This should be enough for 2 chickens, you can always make more and save it for future use.

2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ground chipotle
1 teaspoon onion powder

Allow the chicken to reach room temperature. As we’ve said before, any time you are grilling you want to start with room temperature meat. Otherwise the outside will burn before the inside even starts to warm up.

Heat the grill up to 350 degrees. Only fire up one side of the grill. We will be cooking the chicken over indirect heat. Coat chicken in oil. Cover with dry rub on inside and outside. Make sure you took out any gizzards left inside the bird.

Prepare the beer can by opening and drinking half of it. Take an old style can opener and punch 2 more holes in the top. Add a couple of teaspoons of the rub to the can. Shove that can up in there.

Take advantage of any nearby Colts fans, this is a good action for taunting people with. Prop out the drumsticks to form a tripod shape. Fold the chicken wings under themselves and against the chicken breast. This will keep the ends from burning. Put a pan under the whole thing, to collect the drippings, and to contain any spills if bird topples over. You can buy special metal wire stands to hold up the chicken, but they’re not necessary if you follow these steps.

Cook the chicken for 75 to 90 minutes. If you have a thermometer the breast should be 165 and the thighs should be 180. If you don’t have a thermometer then stab one of the thighs with a knife or fork. If the juice runs clear it’s done.

With the indirect cooking method, and the time we’ll be cooking, this is a great chance to add some smoke. You can buy a cast iron smoke pan at most places that sell grill supplies. It’s just a small, maybe 7″ by 4″ box that you can add wood chips to. If you have an old kitchen pan that you don’t care about ruining that would work as well.

Any of the common wood chips will work fine with our chicken. You should be able to find mesquite, apple or cherry easily.

Soak the wood chips in beer, water or apple juice. Add to the pan, and place it over the direct heat side of the grill. You’ll need to change the wood chips a few times while you cook. Apart from those
times try to keep the grill lid closed as much as possible.

Time for a drink!

Obviously we need canned beer to make beer can chicken. So it’s time for a look into how the variety of canned beer has improved over the past few years.

From New England:

Cisco Brewing from Nantucket is now canning their Whale’s Tale Pale Ale. It is an English Pale Ale, so think more malty and less hoppy/citrusy than an American Pale Ale.

Newport Storm is canning their Hurricane Amber Ale. Fair warning the last Newport Storm beer I had, the octoberfest was spoiled. An issue that was supposed to be restricted to an issue with just that variety. Currently the website is a real mess.

Harpoon started canning their IPA and Summer Ale this past summer. The Summer Ale is obviously not out now, and it was hard to find in cans even when available. I think they underestimated demand.  As for the IPA, everyone has had it, and you probably first had it years ago, so give this old favorite another look. At 5.9% and 42 bitterness units, what once was an assertive IPA is now closer to most Pale Ales on the market.

With their excellent Fest disappearing from the shelves, Narragansett is switching to their winter seasonal. Narragansett Porter is a 7% ABV dark beer in 16 ounce cans.

New England Brewing Sea Hag IPA

New England Brewing cans many of their beers, the regulars are: Sea Hag IPA an American style IPA. 6.2% ABV
Elm City Lager a German style Pilsner. 5% ABV And the more limited Gandhi-Bot a Double IPA with a robotic Gandhi on the label. 8.8%

Expect to see even more in the future. Moat Mountain from Conway,NH and Redhook from Washington/Portsmouth NH have both gained approval for can designs.

There is also a small brewery being built in Lewiston, Maine called Baxter Brewing that will can. Watch their progress here.

From outside New England

Oskar Blues from Colorado was one of the craft beer canning pioneers. Dale’s Pale Ale is called a Pale Ale, but compare it’s 6.5% ABV and 65 bitterness units to Harpoon IPAs 5.9% and 42 Gordon is a Double Red Ale/IPA, 8.7% Old Chub is a Scotch Ale, 8% dark and malty Mama’s Yella Pils is a Pilsner and 5.3% ABV Gubna is a Double IPA, 10% ABV and 100+ IBU and the seasonal Ten Fidy is a Russian Imperial Stout 10.5% ABV. Pale Ale and Pilsner are fairly obvious choices, so it’s the big beers that make Oskar Blues stand out these days. I don’t particularly care for the Dale’s, but I do really like the Old Chub and Gordon.

Avery, also from Colorado, has been mentioned here a few times. Normally for their big beers. However they also can some of their “regular” strength brews. Ellie’s Brown Ale, White Rascal (Belgian Wit beer), Avery IPA, and Joe’s Pilsner are canned. I’ve only seen the Avery IPA on shelves around here.

21st Amendment from San Fransisco cans three regulars a winter seasonal and will soon bring back a rotating release. Live Free or Die IPA is their flagship, a 7% ABV IPA. The cans have gotten this one a seat on Virgin America flights. Hell of High Watermelon Wheat is a good summer beer, 4.9% Fireside Chat was definitely not my favorite. A spiced winter warmer, about 8% ABV. Back in Black is a Black IPA, that trendy contradiction in terms. 6.8% ABV, the color is dark but it doesn’t have any dark beer flavors. I’m not sure what the point of that is. The soon to come back rotating beer is Monk’s Blood Belgian Dark Strong. At 8.3% it’s actually small for a Belgian Dark Strong, tasting more like a spiced Belgian Dubbel.

Saranac from FX Matt in New York is canning their Pale Ale. 5.5% and an English style Pale Ale. Hopefully it succeeds and leads to more cans from FX Matt.

Anderson Valley from California cans both their Boont County Amber Ale and Poleeko Gold Pale Ale.

Brooklyn Brewing cans their Brooklyn Lager in 16 ounce cans. The price on the 6 packs of 16 ounce cans is barely more expensive than the 6 packs of 12 ounce bottles, making them a very good deal.

Wild Onion Paddy Pale Ale is a new arrival on the scene. 5.6% ABV a nice citrusy American Pale Ale.

There are quite a few cans available from European breweries as well. Pilsner Urquell, Newcastle Brown, Fullers, Greene King and more can be found.