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Do you say soda or pop? Either way, using the can to have the chicken perch on top of - forces the heated apple juice in this recipe in and around the chicken and creates the most tender and moist chicken that we have had to date. You do want to baste the chicken but, not until near the end - that moment when you open the grill to check on the bird and say "oh no! its burning" that is when you start to baste - you want that nice crust to form on the outside of the bird (which also helps retain the moisture) The rub is great on this too - you can buy "Down and Dizzy" Rub from the folks who make the Big Green Egg but, you can also make your own - in either case, its WORTH using on this. I rarely (almost never) eat the skin from a chicken but, in this recipe - you'll want to! there truly is nothing better then 'can in the chicken' on the grill...and we've tried the more traditional "beer can chicken" but, apple juice in my opinion is 100% better tasting overall. ~Enjoy! Diane
Pop Can Chicken
One 4 to 5 pound whole chicken
2 Tbsp extra light olive oil
1 opened can of pop (you're using the can for recipe)
8 oz apple juice
your favorite BBQ Rub (we use our own, see below)
1 Prepare your grill for indirect heat. If you are using charcoal, put the coals on one side of the grill, leaving another side free of coals. If you are using a gas grill, fire up only half of the burners.
2 Remove neck and giblets from cavity of chicken, if the chicken came with them. Rub the chicken all over with a bit of olive oil. Mix the salt, pepper, and rub in a little bowl, then sprinkle/pat into the chicken.
3 Drink the pop leaving can empty, rinse & clean well - poke a few holes around the upper 1/4 of can and fill can with apple juice about 3/4 full. If you want, you can put a sprig of thyme (or another herb like rosemary or sage) in the can. Lower the chicken on to the open can, so that the chicken is sitting upright, with the can in its cavity. Place the chicken on the cool side of the grill, using the legs and beer can as a tripod to support the chicken on the grill and keep it stable.
4 Bring your grill up between 350-375. Close the grill hood, and walk away. Do not even check the chicken for at least an hour. After an hour, check the chicken and refresh the coals if needed (if you are using a charcoal grill). Keep checking the chicken every 15 minutes or so, basting chicken with juices from drip pan (mostly apple juice) until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 160°F - 165°F. The total cooking time will vary depending on the size of your chicken, and the internal temperature of the grill. A 5 lbs chicken will usually take around 1 3/4 hours. If you don't have a meat thermometer, a way to tell if the chicken is done is to poke it deeply with a knife (the thigh is a good place to do this), if the juices run clear, not pink, the chicken is done.
5 Carefully transfer the chicken to a tray or pan. "Carefully" because the pop can, and the juice inside of it, is quite hot. Let chicken rest for 5 mins before carving.
Recipe & Photos by: Diane Baker for Canning and Cooking at Home
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Diane Baker: Owner & Creator of Canning and Cooking at Home