Beer Can Chicken

On July 21, 2015, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus


This is a bit of a lowbrow dish for  a sustainable food blog, but who cares. It’s chicken and beer and that is a fine combination any time for me.  Plus beer can chicken makes for an easy effort dish after work, provided you have enough time to wait for it to finish cooking. Note it takes a good 1 1/2 to 2 hours for the chicken to be ready in 375 degree grill.

I can home the other night ready to make it and realized after dealing with LA traffic and arriving home at 6:30 that I needed a backup plan for that night’s dinner, but I would still make the beer can chicken and chop it up for the following night.  That worked well for me; though, when the chicken came out of the grill just before 9pm (I didn’t get in there until a little after 7pm) I fought not to eat the whole thing.  An internal struggle that wasn’t helped by my vegan meal I served at 7:30 that night.

Here was this perfectly roasted chicken, funny looking as it is standing on its legs, smelling incredible with the beer aroma and bbq spice rub a golden brown. Thankfully, I decided to only try a few bites and save the rest for the next evening.

This is a pretty simple dish any level of cook can accomplish, which is probably why it is so popular.

Beer Can Chicken
Serves 4

4 lb chicken whole fryer
1 can of beer, drink half and reserve the other half for cooking
1/2 cup of your favorite bbq dry rub
2 tablesppons olive oil
salt & pepper

Heat grill.  I have a thermometer on my Weber grill that was heated to 375 degrees when I made this. It took about a hour and 45 minutes to cook. You’ll want to use a meat thermometer and place it in the breast meat. When it reaches between 160-165 degrees it is ready. Grill or oven times may vary which is while you’ll need a meat thermometer.


Open beer can and drink half of the beer.  Optional: Cut the can in half using kitchen shears this will help get more flavoring during cooking.  Place the beer can inside a chicken roast stand.  I use the following stand, but there are others that are just as good.


Rub olive oil over chicken and salt and pepper.  Take your favorite chicken bbq spice rub and rub into the chicken, covering the whole chicken. Use more or less rub as you need it.  Place chicken on chicken roast rack with beer can under open main cavity. Put foil around the ends of the chicken legs so they will not burn.


Place chicken with rack and beer can on grill or in oven and cook until meat thermometer reaches 160 degrees. Remove chicken discarding beer can and remove foil then serve with your favorite sides or pull meat to use in a sandwich.



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Hatch Valley Surprise

On September 7, 2014, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus


While living in Texas, I came to know Hatch Chiles.  They are spicy New Mexico based chile that has a flavor very distinct from other better known chile peppers.  When the season for hatch chiles comes around in late summer, I always make sure to pick up some to use for cooking or in this case… drinking.

I was looking to experiment with the classic Bloody Mary.  Seeing how I love tomato juice but don’t care all that much for vodka, I came across a drink known as the Shanghai Surprise that combines Bloody Mary mix with beer. Now beer I love and well I feel so much better after a beer than some vodka.


The key ingredient is having fresh tomatoes and using a juicer or blender.  I currently don’t own a juicer, but there a lot of great options for electric juicers on the market today. I used my VitaMix to puree the tomatoes which works good too.


Sadly, I was all out of horseradish to make my homemade Bloody Mary mix so I decided to replace the horseradish with Hatch chiles.  The end result was a spicy and delicious recipe I’m sure I’ll make again the next time I get a craving for something more than just a beer.

You can learn more about juicing and other cocktails at Williams-Sonoma blog.

Hatch Valley Surprise
Serves 1

3 ounces Hatch Bloody Mary Mix
5 ounces pilsner or similar beer
1/2 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice
2 dashes red wine vinegar

Hatch Bloody Mary Mix

6 large tomatoes to make 16 ounces tomato juice
2 ounces lemon juice
1 tablespoon, diced Hatch chile (or 1 teaspoon dried Hatch chile powder)
2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon celery salt
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine ingredients for Hatch Bloody Mary Mix into a blender and blend on high for 15 seconds. Should be smooth.

To prepare the drink, add the ingredients into a glass and serve after a quick stir.

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Coppa Street Tacos

On October 7, 2013, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus


Last weekend I had a chance to stop by my favorite LA butcher, Lindy & Grundy.  They carry a selection of local, pasture raised, and organic meats. Unlike most visits, I didn’t have a plan of what I wanted to buy and found a cut of boneless pork shoulder, coppa, next to my typical bone-in pork butt that I normally put into my smoker.

Coppa is a cut I wasn’t familiar with, or at least wasn’t used to seeing it at meat counter in its raw form.  That’s what is so great about visiting Lindy & Grundy, I learn about different cuts one usually doesn’t find; although, when I arrived at home with my Coppa in hand, I looked up the cut on Google and learned it most often used to make one of my favorite cuts of cured meat – Capocollo.

I had bought the meat to make some tacos so I decided to marinate the Coppa and smoke it the next day.

The tacos worked in the end. The smoked Coppa had a smoked, bacon-like, flavor that went well with the corn tortillas, onions, cilantro, squeezed lime and Tapatio hot sauce.

Coppa Street Tacos
Serves 4

1 1/2 pounds of Coppa, boneless pork shoulder
2 oranges, juice only
1 bottle brown ale, such as New Castle
4 garlic cloves, sliced in half

12 corn tortillas
1 red onion, diced
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
2 limes, quartered
hot sauce

The night before cooking marinate the Coppa in a bowl mixing the orange juice, ale and garlic cloves. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Prepare a smoker. Discard the marinade. I used some Almond Wood and smoked the Coppa at 225 degrees for 7 hours letting it reach 160 degrees.

Once the Coppa is cooked in the smoker, it can be refrigerated and used the next day or diced into small chunks and served.

Heat the corn tortillas in a saute pan on medium-high with a 1/2 inch of vegetable oil.  Let the oil get hot and using tongs heat each side of the tortilla for about 10 seconds and then place on some paper towel to remove the grease. Repeat with each tortilla.

Add Coppa, onions and cilantro to each tortilla and serve with cut limes and hot sauce.

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#SundaySupper Beer-Braised Beef

On November 3, 2012, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus

Here in California with temperatures falling into the upper 70s it is getting that time of year for a hearty stew or soup.

Alright, so it doesn’t feel like the time of year for a stew. Fortunately, it doesn’t really matter what the temperature is outside. I always enjoy a rich, chunky stew.  The melding of flavors is always a joy and while it used to fit better with the cold air of Michigan winter in November back when our family lived there, so what. Even if we spent this afternoon having ice cream at Sprinkles in Beverly Hills and enjoying some Neapolitan pizza at 800 Degrees in Westwood, it was great ending the day with some beer-braised beef.

This simple recipe is a Belgium response to France’s Beef Bourguignon.

Beer-Braised Beef
Serves 4

2 large onions, rough chop
3 lbs stew beef
1/2 cup flour
4 bacon slices, diced
2 tablespoons oil
1 bottle of beer, brown-ale works best
1 cup beef broth
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven at 325 degrees.

Mix stew beef, salt, pepper and flour in a plastic bag to coat the meat.  Heat the oil in a dutch oven on the stove at medium-high heat.  Add the beef without crowding. Cook and turn to brown sides and remove to a plate while adding more uncooked beef remembering not to crowd the pot.

Once all of the beef is brown, add the bacon to the pot and cook making sure not to burn, about 3 minutes. Add the onions and mix  with the bacon then add the already browned stew beef back to the dutch oven.

Add the ale and beef stock.  Bring to a boil and scrape up any brown bits in pot.  Stir in brown sugar, vinegar, bay leaf and thyme. Add some salt and pepper to taste.

Bring the mixture to a boil and cover. Transfer to the oven and let it cook for 2 1/2 hours. Discard bay leaf and add some cooked carrots and potatoes if you desire.


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Rotisserie Chicken in a Cherry Ale Basting Sauce

On September 7, 2009, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus

This recipe requires a rotisserie. Also, I used Cerise Cherry Ale from Grand Rapids, Michigan for the beer which added a nice sweetness to the basting sauce. You can use any beer, I would just avoid stouts or porters as they overpower everything.

I did not make a sauce the night I did this recipe. It is optional.

Our local farmers market
Rotisserie Chicken in a Cherry Ale Basting Sauce
Serves 4

One whole roasting chicken

Basting Sauce
12 oz. beer
12 oz. water
1 stick butter
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Heat grill rotisserie for 15 minutes on high.

Wash chicken and pat with paper towel to remove water. Cut one tablespoon of butter off stick of butter and place into cavity of chicken. Put chicken on rotisserie rod.

In a pan add beer, water, butter, pepper, salt, and garlic powder. Place chicken on grill rotisserie and place basting pan under chicken so chicken is dipping into the sauce. Cook chicken for 1 1/2 hours on high heat in closed grill.

When done cut chicken into serving pieces. Add about half of the basting sauce to a small sauce pan and heat at medium on stove, bring it to a boil. In a small bowl, add 2 tablespoons of flour and mix with equal part water and blend so there are no lumps of flour, add water as necessary. Reduce basting sauce when at boil and add flour/water mixture and mix. Let it heat so the sauce thickens.

Plate chicken and drizzle sauce over chicken.

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