I spend a lot of time on my deck, especially these days, and it was truly my saving grace during quarantine! I often work from my deck, but on weekends, I love to spend the afternoon relaxing out there, firing up the grill, and making delicious meals for my fiancé and I to enjoy. I absolutely love BBQ chicken - it’s one of my favorite summer comfort foods, but rather than preparing pieces of chicken, I prefer to cook the chicken whole on the grill, using the beer can method. However, I’m not a beer fan (I know, I know... not normal), so I use hard cider instead, and I love the notes of acidity and sweetness it provides to the chicken.
If you’re not familiar with beer can chicken, the idea is that you set a whole chicken to cook on top of a can of beer and allow the beer the steam the chicken from the inside which keeps it moist, while the heat of the grill acts as an oven and crisps the skin. I find that this method yields a moist bird, and I love that you can vary the flavor profiles based on whatever rub and sauce you use. I also love that it’s a “set it and forget it” type meal. While you do need to check on the bird occasionally, you don’t need to flip individual pieces, and it takes up less room on the grill so you can fit vegetables, or whatever else you choose to have alongside your chicken.
Hard Cider Can Chicken
Scroll down for a printable version of this recipe
1 whole chicken (mine was 6 lbs)
1 can of hard cider (I used Blake’s Mango Habanero)
Seasoning of your choice, to taste (I used Rub with Love, Bengal Masala Rub)
Barbecue sauce of your choice, to taste
1. Pre-heat your grill. I used a gas grill (but indirect heat with charcoal works well too!) and use just one set of burners to maintain a temperature of 375.
2. Make sure that your chicken is clean of any giblets.
3. Rub your chicken with your favorite seasoning or rub. I used the Rub with Love Bengal Masala because I thought the curry notes would work well with the sweet and spicy notes of my hard cider.
4. Drink (or pour out – but that’s a sin) about 1/3-1/2 of your hard cider.
5. Place the can of hard cider in the middle of the grill, and set the chicken on top of the can. The can will be in the cavity of the chicken, and the legs will help stabilize the chicken.
6. Close the lid and let the chicken cook for roughly 90 minutes depending on the size of the bird. When the internal temperature reaches 155 degrees, glaze the chicken with barbecue sauce.
7. Let the chicken cook for another 10 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees.
8. Enjoy with spicy pickled peaches and a cold can of hard cider!
I decided to pair my cider can chicken with one of my other favorite summer indulgences – peaches. While peaches are delicious enough on their own, they are also a great addition to salads, sandwiches, compotes, pies, breads (like my peach basil bread) and so much more.
I always do whatever I can to make summer, and it’s flavors, last as long as possible, and that’s led me down the road of pickling fruit before. A few years ago, I pickled watermelon rinds for the first time. They were so delicious, that I decided to try my hand at pickling peaches, and opted to give them a spicy twist. If heat isn’t your thing, you can just leave out the chili flakes, or adjust the amount to your taste! You can use a traditional canning process on these pickled peaches if you plan on keeping them for a while, or are giving them as a gift. They’ll be just fine in your refrigerator in an airtight container for up to two weeks, though I’m not sure what that’s like because I ate mine in a matter of days on everything, but my favorite pairing was with the cider can chicken! If you’re looking to make a bigger batch, you can definitely double the recipe.
Spicy Pickled Peaches
2 lbs of peaches
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 cups sugar
4 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 teaspoon peppercorns
1 star anise
1. Cut the peaches in half, removing the pit.
2. Cut each peach into eighths, leaving the skin on and set aside.
3. In a medium saucepan, stir together ther vinegars, water and sugar. Heat on medium until the mixture comes to a boil.
4. Add in the salt and spices, and let the mixture boil for 5 minutes.
5. Add the peaches to the boiling syrup.
6. Turn the heat to low, and let the peaches simmer for 5 minutes.
7. Turn the heat off, and let the peaches cool in the syrup for about 20 minutes.
8. Once cool, place peaches in an airtight container, with enough syrup to cover, or can using a traditional canning method to make them shelf stable.
If you’ve got extra spicy pickled peaches and you’re wondering what do with them, the possibilities are endless but I love them as a topping on crostini with goat cheese, in a grilled cheese sandwich with brie, as an addition to salads, as a topping for ice cream, or even in your favorite cocktails. Trust me, these peaches really pair with just about anything!
Speaking of summer, we’re so excited to be pack on our outdoor patio at Lincoln Square as we slowly and safely reopen our doors to guests. We’ve missed you, and we’ve got some great classes coming up in the weeks ahead. You can opt to let us do the cooking for you while you enjoy a glass of wine during one of our grilling demonstrations:
- Backyard BBQ Saturday, July 11 at 4pm
- Italian Surf and Turf Friday, July 24 at 6pm
- Date Night on the Patio Saturday, July 25 at 6pm
- Prost! German Feast on the Grill on Saturday, August 1 at 4pm
If you’re ready to get into the cooking yourself, you can consider joining our Grilling Boot Camp on Saturday, August 15 or our Pie and Tart Boot Camp on Sunday, July 26. If you’re not quite ready to visit us in person, consider our virtual demonstration and Cook Along classes. We’re ready to cook with you, in our home, or yours!