June 6, 2010

Beer-Can Chicken & Memphis Rub Recipe



  • 1 large whole chicken (4 to 5 pounds)
  • 3 tablespoons Memphis rub (recipe below) or your favorite dry rub
  • 1 12-ounce can of beer
Remove and discard the fat from inside the body cavities of the chicken. Remove the package of giblets, and set aside for another use. Rinse the chicken, inside and out, under cold running water; then drain and blot dry, inside and out, with paper towels. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the rub inside the body and neck cavities; then rub another tablespoon all over the skin of the bird. If you wish, rub another half-tablespoon of the mixture between the flesh and the skin. Cover and refrigerate the chicken while you preheat the grill.
Set up the grill. Pop the tab on the beer can. Using a "church key" type of can opener, punch six or seven holes in the top of the can. Pour out the top inch of beer; then spoon the remaining dry rub through the holes into the can. Holding the chicken upright (wings at top, legs at bottom), with the opening of the body cavity down, insert the beer can into the lower cavity.
Oil the grill grate. Stand the chicken up in the center of the hot grate, over the drip pan. (You can use a perforated rack on top of the grate for added stability.) Spread out the legs to form a sort of tripod, to support the bird.
Cover the grill and cook the chicken until fall-off-the-bone tender, about an hour. Use a thermometer to check for doneness. The internal temperature should be 180 degrees.
Using tongs, lift the bird to a cutting board or platter, holding a metal spatula underneath the beer can for support. (Have the board or platter right next to the bird to make the move shorter. Be careful not to spill hot beer on yourself.) Let stand for 5 minutes before carving. (Toss the beer can out along with the carcass.)
Serves four to six.

Memphis Rub

  • 1/4 cup paprika

  • 1 tablespoon firmly packed dark brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 2 teaspoons Accent (MSG, optional)

  • 1 teaspoon celery salt

  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 to 3 teaspoons cayenne pepper, or to taste

  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1 teaspoon onion powder


  • Combine all the ingredients in a jar, twist the lid on tightly and shake to mix. Store away from heat or light for up to six months. Makes about 1/2 cup.
    found on:The Barbecue Bible by Steven Raichlen (Workman Publishing, 1998).
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