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This Is the Fastest, Healthiest Way to Cook BBQ Chicken

Ace the summer’s outdoor-cookout sensation with this recipe.

Who knew that taking a half can of Bud, stuffing it in a whole chicken where the sun don’t shine, then smoking it would be a superhealthy way to cook a bird? Not to mention a supereffective way to get rid of the worst tasting beer in your fridge. The suds turn to steam, which helps cook the chicken from the inside and keep it moist. Also, standing the chicken up on the grill means the legs —which take the most time to cook—are exposed to the most intense heat, so your chicken cooks evenly without drying out the breast. The result? One of the tastiest chickens imaginable—one that requires precisely zero heavy sauces or distracting sides. So ditch your usual BBQ and roast chicken recipes, with their sugary sauces and overly salty dry rubs, and go with this simple classic.


1 chicken (3–4 lbs)
24 oz Coca-Cola
3/4 tsp salt
Freshly cracked pepper
1 can beer

Combine the chicken and the Coke and soak overnight in the fridge. Heat a grill. If using charcoal, bank the hot coals to one side to create a cooler section for indirect cooking. If using a gas grill, leave one section of burners off and the others set on medium. Remove the chicken from the soda and dry it all over. Rub with salt and pepper. Open up the beer can; slug half of it. Mount the chicken on top of the beer can, running the can through the chicken’s cavity until it’s firmly lodged. Place on the cooler side of the grill, cover, and cook until a thermometer inserted into the thigh reads 160°F, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. You can baste the chicken with your favorite sauce in the last 20 minutes or so, but it’s so moist, you don’t really need it. Remove the chicken and allow to rest for 15 minutes before carving. Serve with baked beans and cole slaw.

Go Heavy or Go Home
A 16-ounce tall boy of Bud is our go-to choice for beer-can chicken because a) the bigger can offers extra support during grilling; b) the lighter pilsner taste won’t overpower your meat; and c) ’Murica.

Brine your bird
Lean meats like chicken, turkey, and pork tend to dry out easily, which is why they benefit immensely from a long soak in flavored liquid. A standard brine (and one that you can use here) consists of 6 cups water, 2 cups salt, and 2 cups sugar. Add any other flavor boosters you want (garlic, herbs, apple juice) and heat to dissolve the salt/sugar; cool, then add the meat. Store in the fridge for a few hours, or overnight.

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