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Cooking Tests: Beer Can Chicken
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2006 4:26 pm    Post subject: Budweiser? Reply with quote

Instead of looking for good ale in cans, why don't you buy a good bottle of brew and a can of swill. Dump out the swill in the can and add the good stuff. Although I would buy a container from a good cooking supply house that could replace the beer can.

I'm with the other nay-sayers - What were you thinking using Budweiser? Guinness, Speckled Hen, Murphy's, Abbot Ale, or Newcastle Nut Brown Ale would do the trick with more flavor. Next time just go the beers from Belgium section and pick something unique. I'm sure the fruit flavored Belgian beers would be fantastic. Raspberry? Dark Cherry? Can't you imagine how those would infuse into the chicken?

I'm off to try this with Hoegaarden. With the orange peel and coriander overtones, I'm sure it will be great. It should be a perfect complement to the poultry.
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Cary Black

PostPosted: Sun Jun 18, 2006 2:19 pm    Post subject: Re: Beer can chicken Reply with quote

Brad wrote:
As a ChE, just curious about any toxicity from the printing on the beer can.

In fact lterature published by Anheuser Busch strongly discourages the use of their cans using the beer-can cooking method. The inks are not food grade and some colors can be toxic. Further, at typical grill temperatures, aluminum vapors will also infuse the meat....
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 02, 2006 11:39 pm    Post subject: Beer Can Chicken Reply with quote

Guiness works great, even with the little thingee inside. I used various store bought barbque sauces and the combos were exceptional.

Try tying the legs to keep them close and not so well cooked.

As for opening the beer cans all around, a simple old-fashioned church key works just fine. Just work it around untill the top bends down out of the way - you're not going to be putting your fingers in there, I hope.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2006 7:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

use steeelllllaaaaa ummmm beeeerrrr!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2006 11:39 pm    Post subject: full steam benefit... Reply with quote

In my own experience I think the best way to get the steam through the meat is by using an air tight oven bag. I have never used beer as an ingredient in a chicken but have experimented with free range meat, corn-fed and pasty, white cage varietys.

The corn-fed was by far the best and to be honest if you have to load the bird with spices, herbs, and beer to get any flavour into the meat then why bother at all?

Thoroughly enjoy these experiments.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2006 3:30 pm    Post subject: a bit late, but... Reply with quote

... try using Sprite (or 7-Up) and gingered sherry. I store my fresh ginger root in a jar of sherry in the fridge. I just salted and peppered the chicken, dumped out half the Sprite, added about 4oz of the sherry, then added some minced garlic, minced ginger, lime juice and chopped onion. I also saved a bit of the mixed sherry and soda to baste during cooking. Tying the legs close to the body does help keep them moister.
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Joined: 30 Sep 2006
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Sat Sep 30, 2006 12:20 pm    Post subject: Tasting a difference Reply with quote

Hi everyone, I have eaten the beer can chicken which was cooked on a charchoal grill and can certainly taste the flavor of the Budweiser that was used. The guys where I work like to cook chicken this way. They really don't use any other flavorings so you really can taste the beer flavor which is actually quite pleasant with the chicken. I am not one who really likes beer. I prepare my own roast chicken without much in the way of seasonings as I usually prefer only salt and pepper. I think the test was at fault because there were so many other seasonings used that were stronger than the flavor imparted by the Budweiser. Also liquor store beer is different than grocery store or convenience store beer. The flavor of the beer in the poultry is really very mild so I can see why your couldn't taste any difference. Plus like someone else said the chickens were cooked in the same oven at the same time. I really enjoy your website and observations though. Keep up the good work.
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2006 9:59 am    Post subject: No wonder this didn't work... Reply with quote

I guess you are in USA from what you wrote - no wonder it didn't work cos your beers are all so weak... not like in the UK or here in Munich... Nobody would ever use lager-type beers for cooking (even if you cooked meat in this you would not get much flavour!). If you are going to perform interesting tests, you should not just approach it from an engineering point-of-view but at least have some basic knowledge of cooking too...
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2006 6:58 am    Post subject: Mug Instead of Can? Reply with quote

I wonder if a coffee mug would work as well as a can?

I imagine it's been fired at way higher temps than you get in a kettle bbq, and you avoid any problems with ink volatiles. You could put any sort of marinade you like into the mug.

Anyone tried it? I'll give it a go next time I cook a chicken.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2006 2:19 am    Post subject: American "beer" Reply with quote

I know this is an old article, but reading above the "professional" brewer's opinion about aging beer is non-sense. Well, ok, only if we are talking about BEER and not american heat treated "beer". I personally have a beer cellar with fine examples aging very well. Any beer which does not contain live (or dormant) yeast is dead and is not really beer anyway. The trappist style Belgian beers are the oldest beers in the world, and so they define the tradition (with breweries in operation centuries before america was even settled). Beer should age gracefully and get much better with age. I have brewed beers which tasted much better 3 years after bottling then they did a month after brewing. A dead malt beverage used to be beer, until it was killed and became a static malt beverage. This may sound elitist but hey - try talking about american "champagnes" to a wine expert. They don't exist. Of course, hop character, bottle size and style play a big part in aging. Nobody would age a pils anyway, that is like aging a wine cooler. But there is nothing like a well aged real beer, with highly complex character and delicious flavours that only come from proper aging. Okay, rant over...
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2006 9:55 am    Post subject: Great Idea, but Faulty execution, that's all. Try it again, Reply with quote

Ok, IMHO, two factors played a huge part in a great idea for a comparison experiment. Unfortuneately, they played a negative part in the entire experiment, rendering it useless, but hey, live and learn...
1st, both chickens cooked in the same exact oven at the same exact time...Brain fart??? imagine if one were butter and the other onions...see???
And yes, the spices affect your ability to taste the beer flavor. I'm with the guy who was talking about cooking with just beer and little or no other spice aside from S&P. If you wanted to see IF the BEER INFUSED flavor, you gotta know what beer flavored chicken tastes like 1st, before overpowering with other spice.
You will get a mild flavor from a beer like Bud, and with the can, you may also get the aluminum flavor, cuz if you've ever tasted bud in a can, well, it tastes like the can and fizz. Use a dark and heavily flavored beer, a beer you would use for Irish stew (guinness), or to steam shrimp.
I know you wanted to do the whole chicken beer can experiment, but you could've just cut the whole chickens in 1/2 and improvised, and of course cooked seperately. You will definately get a beer flavor in your bird...If it's not strong enough for your taste...shoot the bird up...literally take a syringe full of the beer of choice, and shoot the bugger up...
***BTW, the guy who suggested hoegarten for chicken--it's excellent for steaming shrimp--I'd imagine chicken would be excellent. I'm gonna try this one ASAP, thanks!!!***
BTW---I absolutely HATE beer for drinking...but I love it for cooking certain things. I am no wine conniseur either, but love to use it for cooking...My alcohol of choice for drinking...Vodka... I have yet to have a vodka sauce I like!!!
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Charleston Dave

PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2006 2:30 am    Post subject: Experiment Design Flaws Reply with quote

I have some problems with the design of this experiment:

(1) Confounding of effects
Because many other flavors were present, the effect of the beer was likely less prominent than if those other flavors had not been present. Choosing a weakly-flavored beer probably exacerbated this effect, rendering the flavor impact more subtle than it would have been using a stronger-flavored beer. If your goal is to measure effect, why did you chose the weakest stimulus to confirm your expectation that the effect is immeasurably small? This is poor factorial design.

(2) Use of brining
For aromatic compounds to penetrate the meat and remain within it, molecular-level openings within the muscle and collagen of the chicken need to provide space for these compounds. This is partially driven by pressure differential (e.g., the boiling of the liquid within the Poultry Pal driving aromatic steam into the fowl cavity), but will certainly be reduced when those molecular gaps are previously supersaturated with liquid from brining. I suspect that an unbrined "dry" chicken would show more flavor and texture impact from continuous infusion than a brined "wet" chicken.

Also contaminating your results is the acknowledged bias beforehand that the two birds would have no difference in taste. This bias would tend to reduce your sensitivity to differences that contradict your expectation.

Your experiment as conducted addresses the question, "Does continuous infusion cooking with a weakly flavored American Lager in a brined and highly seasoned chicken produce flavor changes when I don't expect to find any?" Your use of additional flavor ingredients creates "noise" that dampens the signal-to-noise ratio of the key test ingredient and makes it easier for the results to conform to your expectation that there would be no flavor difference between the birds.

This experiment did not well address the general question of the flavor profile feasible with continuous infusion cooking.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2006 2:38 am    Post subject: I tried it tonight Reply with quote

I googled this site up after mine appeared to be a flop. I followed Steve Raichlin's recipe from the Barbecue Bible - which involves Memphis Rub (a paprika/cayenne/sugar rub) + a beer in a can.

I used a swill beer - Yankee honey or something, in a can. I figured the beer would likely reduce to concentrate anyway and get walloped by juices and spices anyway, and I couldn't get Guiness in a can (unlike many here, I actually do like good beer, to the point that I don't like to waste an excellent beer by boiling the hell out of it in a chicken.) I figured the alcohol and water would evaporate, but leave the flavorbase in the can.

Anyway, the rub tasted good, but the bird was otherwise unremarkable, including parts of it that were not exposed to rub. No beer taste whatsoever.

I think the problem is bigger than the beer. In my case, I used a fairly small chicken. To expose more of the chicken to the beer, I used a can opener to simply cut the whole top of the can off. Even so, the can formed a chimney, sealing the bird right up to the neck - there was no place for the beer to get out into the meat except at the neck. When the can boiled, it seemed to almost form a pressure seal at the neck. Removing the well done bird from the can, you could see that the can was still full of scalding hot beer. Almost none had evaporated - it had created a pressure cooker, and hadn't leaked into the bird.

If I try this again, I'll use tin snips to bisect the can in half, thus exposing more of the opem cavity to the beer. If that doesn't work, I'm going to chalk this one up to pop cook recommendations- the kind of thing that often starts with a can of mushroom soup poured over something.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2006 3:38 am    Post subject: My experience Reply with quote

I do beer can chicken on the grill and simply rub the bird with kosher salt and a liberal amount of pepper. They always turn out great (and yes I use Bud). The grill gets to about 450 degrees and it is always very smoky/steamy which would be impossible to achieve in a kitchen unless you had a huge fan that pumped the smoke out of your building which is uncommon in most if not all apartments. There is also almost no beer left in the can after the cooking process. Some of the flavor comes from the drippings falling on the the bottom of the grill and smoking, but I can taste the beer (especially in the breast area) however the thighs do not benefit from the beer. My main problem with the test explained here is that it implies that there is still a fair amount of beer left in the can after cooking at the lower oven temps. Cooking outdoors at higher temperatures (that also come with profuse amounts of smoke) is in my mind a much more fair way to judge the "beer can chicken". First of all, almost a half can of beer is vaporized during the process and the smoke from the chicken fat dripping provide a flavor that cannot be matched in the kitchen oven (imho).
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2007 12:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

perhaps i did this wrong, but here goes. i've been intrigues with this "beer can chicken" thing for awhile and decided to give it a whirl. using an actual beer can sounds like a very risky and unsanitary practice, so i used a stainless steel cup of equal size. i rigged this up in my roasting pan, wedging the cup in between two of the sections of the grill and stood the chicken on top of it. i filled the cup half full with sam adams beer (a hoppy, dark full flavored brew) and put dried rosemary and some lemon juice in the cup too. for a rub i just rubbed it with kosher salt, olive oil and black pepper and put the same inside. i then put garlic cloves in the top neck cavity to seal it, in order to keep the steam in. here's what happened:

the damn thing took almost three hours to cook, the skin was soggy, and the meat had a rancid, almost "skunked" beer taste to it. this bizarre flavor saturated the entire bird, and later on when i boild the bones for soup it STILL tasted bad. i'm not sure what happened as the beer tasted fine when i drank what wasn't in the cup. i don't know, but next time i think i'll stick with what i usually do which is take a whole lemon, stab it a few times with a knife, cut a head of garlic in half, and stuff them in the cavity + fresh rosemary sprigs. i cook chicken like that in a roasting pan with a raised rack and it always comes out amazing. anyone else ever have beer can trouble like me?
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