Orange Beer Can Chicken with an Apricot-Chipotle Sauce

8 06 2014

My hubs and I belong to Fresh Fork Market, a farm buying club which sources locally grown organic meats, cheeses and produce in Cleveland, OH. Fresh Fork puts together a weekly grab bag containing items in season sourced from local, sustainable vendors. The ingredients you get each week are fresh from the farm, and can typically be used together. The summer season just started and this past week we received our first grab bag, which had some beautiful produce as well as an organic whole young chicken. Immediately, I knew Sunday’s supper would be beer can chicken!

Beer or soda-can chicken is an awesome grilling technique. Outside of preparing the chicken and turning it half-way through cooking, the grill and the can literally will do all the work for you!

I always keep a citrus salt on hand with kosher salt, lemon or orange zest and a dried herb.  I happened to have orange salt this week, creating the base flavor of this dish and the reason I choose Hoegaarden for the beer which has complimentary citrus notes. Crispy, smokey and juicy chicken paired with a sweet and spicy sauce – what’s not to love!

If you’re a member of Fresh Fork, stay tuned for more recipes using the summer share! And if you’re not a member or aren’t local to Cleveland, search for a farm buying club in your area – you won’t be sorry you did!

Orange Beer Can Chicken with an Apricot-Chipotle Sauce

The following makes 1 small bird (compliments of Cuisine at Home, Real Simple and This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 1 organic, whole young chicken
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Orange zest
  • Dried rosemary
  • Red pepper flakes
  • 1 bottle (12 oz) Hoegaarden beer, and an empty 12 oz can (use a beer or pop/soda can)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup sugar-free apricot preserves
  • 2-3 tsp chopped chipotles in adobo sauce
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar

Prepare your grill by lighting your grill and turning all the burners to high. Close the lid and let the temp come to 500. Then, turn off one of the burners to create indirect heat. You want to keep your grill between 325 and 400 for the duration of your grilling.

Clean out the cavity of the chicken, rinse and pat dry. Rub with 1 Tbsp olive oil and mix the rub by combining some kosher salt, orange zest, dried rosemary and red pepper flakes. Just eye ball it! Sprinkle some of the rub inside the chicken cavity. Sprinkle the outside of the chicken with more of the rub, enough to coat evenly – rubbing to make sure it sticks.

Fill the empty can with the beer and poke 3 more holes in the top of the can. Arrange the chicken cavity on the can. I used a beer can chicken stand. If you don’t have one it’s ok, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say it was easier! If you don’t have the stand, be sure to pull the legs forward to create a tripod of sorts so the chicken stands up.

Place the chicken over the unlit portion of the grill (once the heat drops to 325-400). Cover and cook until the skin is golden brown and crisp, juices run clear, and an instant-read thermometer registers 180°. Take the reading in the thickest part of the thigh, be sure not to hit a bone. The chicken will take about 1–1.5 hours. Rotate the chicken halfway through grilling (be sure to use a kitchen towel or oven mitts as the chicken will be hot). Once done, remove the chicken to a baking sheet or roaster and allow to rest for 15 minutes.

While the chicken is resting, make the sauce. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute. Add the apricot, chipotles, cumin and a 1/2 tsp salt. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring often until slightly thickened, 3-5 minutes. Stir in the vinegar and remove from heat.

Remove the chicken from the can and slice. Serve sliced chicken with the apricot-chipotle sauce and either a side of veggies or a salad. I made a simple kale salad dressed with lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper.

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