I sat down to think about how I wanted to proceed on this particular "test" and decided that there was no way I could be exhaustive or scientific about it if I didn't want to be wasteful. I knew I had to minimize the potential differences between the birds I was cooking, so I made a few decisions. First, I would use chickens because a turkey is too big. The chickens would be roasted in the oven at the same time - but would not be rotated or positions swapped (because I didn't want to risk scalding myself with boiling hot beer as the chickens inevitably tilted while I manhandle them around).
I was still concerned about eating two minimally seasoned chickens, so I decided to rub onto each bird a simple spice rub so at least the skin and surface of the meat would be flavorful. I chose to use essentially the same rub from the aforementioned turkey recipe. I would also be applying a few herbs (one bay leaf and a teaspoon of dried thyme) to each of the steaming liquids. The liquids - I decided - were to be beer and water. Because I was only interested in seeing if beer made a difference when compared to water, I would not prepare a third chicken using a non-beer can method of preparation.
When I was in the checkout line with my two chickens, I mentioned the test I was about to undertake. The man waiting behind me immediately jumped to the defense of using beer. He claimed that not just water was steaming; it was also the alcohols and flavorants - for if you could smell it, surely it must be getting into the food. I countered by saying that there are many volatile compounds that we can smell during the cooking process, but many of these dissipate so quickly that they don't enter the meat. If alcohol in gaseous state is such a good flavorant, why doesn't anyone steam vegetables or delicate meats with a pot of top quality cabernet sauvignon (hmmm... maybe I should try it, but it will have to wait until I'm rich).
Now I had to select a beer. In retrospect, I should have selected the darkest brew I could find, but while shopping for beer, I mainly had one priority - something that came in an individual can. I went to two markets and one convenience store and realized that no one seemed to sell a dark beer outside of glass bottles (which would not be useful for supporting the chicken) and six-packs (which is too much beer). The problem stems from the fact that I have never learned to truly appreciate beer as a beverage and view it as an ingredient that I occasionally use. As alcoholic libations go, my tastes tend to lean toward red wines - at least for now. I didn't want tons of left over beer in my fridge. (Once I found a year old bottle - definitely several beer life times past its prime - in the back of my refrigerator.)
So I ended up with a large can of Budweiser. Not the best choice, but at least I can say it's widely available. It turned out that I skipped over the glass bottles for nothing - in the end I would execute my test using Poultry Pal Beer Can Chicken Cookers (see Poultry Pal website). The Poultry Pals worked amazingly well - the design is simple and functional. As an added benefit, there isn't a colorful logo imprinted on the side of it that was produced (probably) without the intention of being roasted in a hot oven with steam and hot oil rolling over it.
I whipped up a large batch of spice rub (brown sugar, paprika, kosher salt, and black pepper) for use on the inside and outside of the chickens. I also measured out 8 oz. (235 mL) beer and 8 oz. (235 mL) bottled water.
Into each Poultry Pal, I poured the liquid and the herbs (after crushing the bay leaf). The Poultry Pal is really quite simple and yet so much better than the old beer can. With a beer can, the pop top opening is too small to be effective, so I have to cut the entire top off using a can opener. Depending on the can, this can leave sharp jaggies and maybe even a partially crumpled can. The Poultry Pal is a two piece structure - a pan that looks like it could double as a round cake pan and a plate with a protruding tower that holds the chicken. Pinky-sized holes are liberally placed throughout the tower and the plate has a few holes to allow drippings from the poultry to enter the liquid holding pan. There are no unnecessary ridges, so washing was easy by hand.
I then got my hands dirty by removing the giblets from each chicken (setting them aside for dirty rice and stock). The inside and outside of the chickens were rubbed with the spice rub.
I stood each chicken up and deposited them onto their Poultry Pal. I baked them in the oven at 350°F (175°C) until they were done. Unfortunately, my notes fail me at this time, and I don't know how long they were in the oven for - but that's okay because they were both in for the same amount of time. Both chickens reached proper temperatures at the breast (about 165°F) at the same time. The thigh meat had a fairly high temperature of almost 180°F. Usually I don't worry about the legs drying out because they have more intramuscular fat which helps keep the meat moist, but in this case, they were a bit overdone - probably a by product of sticking out away from the body as the chicken is "sitting" on the beer can (or, in this case, the Poultry Pal). But, that's not the purpose of this test (I already knew that would happen).
I pulled the chickens out and let them rest about ten minutes before attempting to remove them from the Poultry Pals.
When I use beer cans, they have a tendency to become welded to the cavity of the bird as it bakes. The can holds almost boiling beer (or water) and is, obviously, hot to touch. You don't want to spill the contents of the can because it's a lot of oil and drippings that don't need to be reintroduced to the chicken (and sloshing liquid onto the crispy exterior may ruin that sublime texture). Even with the Poultry Pal, it's easiest with two people. The chicken is removed from the cooking liquid first before extracting the tower. One person lifting the chicken and the other holding down the plate of the Poultry Pal (protecting all hands involved with wads of paper towels) seemed to work best. The non-stick finish really worked; the chicken slid right off. In fact, after removing the second chicken, it occurred to me that I probably could have laid the chicken down and pulled out the plate horizontally. I allowed the chickens to cool a bit longer to make carving easier. (I thrust a wood skewer I had nearby into the chicken prepared with beer so I could tell the difference later as I carved and served up chicken for tasting.)}?>
I cut pieces from the thigh and from the breast, removing the seasoned surface and skin (that was for Tina and me to enjoy later as we finished off the birds - for tasting, I wanted a clean piece of meat). I expected the thigh meat would taste the same, but wasn't too sure about the breast meat. Could the flavorants from the beer penetrate the chest cavity and enter the breast? The answer, in short, is no.
The thigh meat, as expected, tasted exactly the same on both birds. The breast meat was juicy (but not as juicy as it could have been had it been brined) and had the barest hint of herbs, but no difference could be detected between the two types of chicken. I even cut new pieces, this time with some skin and seasoning, and tasters still couldn't tell the difference. Maybe I needed a stronger, darker beer - but some difference should be detectable, even using Budweiser vs. plain water. The experiment was done and I had my answer - I won't be running to the store to buy beer to fill my Poultry Pal in the future.
Tina and I dutifully ate the meat off both chickens, used the remaining meat on the bones for creamed chicken, the livers, hearts, and gizzards for dirty rice, and utilized the final remains for chicken stock (which ended up as the base for matzo ball soup).}?>
Alas, those red-wine-drinkers are a rowdy, interminable bunch ;)
I'd be very interested to see the sequel using a strong stout or something similar. Something with strong flavour - heck, something with flavour, period!
This "fresh beer tastes better" rubbish from Budweiser (again rubbish) really annoys me. If the receptacle is sealed, you could drink it in 10 years time an d it would still be fine.
For a stew you would most likely use a porter or a stout (I prefer porter); I think you may find a discernible (positive) difference if you'd used something like that instead. It would be interesting to see if you did.
One side note , the Guinness cans are taller, so if you use a small chicken they tend to get suspended in the air and are a bit unstable.
Does using beer vs water make a difference? Don't know but I do know my roasted chicken is the talk of the neighborhood and smells sooooo good. :D
I do like to cook with Guinness, but I transfer it into another can when using the "Beercan Method" because of the widget. The other problem with cooking with Guinness is there can be a residual bitterness as it reduces and intensifies. I usually counteract this with brown sugar and/or molasses. Another good option that very flavorful and not quite as bitter is any of the Black & Tan style varieties. I like the Yuengling Black & Tan because it is delicious and relatively inexpensive (not as cheap as Bud, but worth every penny).
Of course adding sugar to the beercan chicken equation probably won't change a thing when it comes to flavor if the bird isn't first brined. HERE IS WHERE BEER MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD!!!
Pour two to three cans of beer into your brining vessel. Add a half to three quarters cup kosher salt, two tablespoons of molasses, half a cup of brown sugar (packed), ten or so whole peppercorns, and few shots of hotsauce. Whisk above ingredients... Insert bird... Chill overnight... Cook over beercan (you can recycle the brining liquid for this)... Enjoy... Then get down on one knee and think of Stephen Raichlen who's recipe I just roughly quoted.
PS I have another theory that the "Beercan Method" yeilds a moister bird more because of positioning than steam. Old school kosher technique calls for roasting breast down on a bed of salt for a moister result. Also, see napastyle.com for a roasting pan that holds your bird up by the neck hole. Gravity may just be the key...
By way of mentioning, I wouldn't use Guiness to strip a tile floor, no matter how trendy and cool it would make me.
Indeed. You can buy it at every corner store, it's dirt cheap, they have an enormous advertising budget, and it goes down easy so you get drunk quickly. A teenagers dream!
Perhaps if you're looking to get trashed quickly, Bud is your choice. But for anyone who drinks beer because they enjoy the taste (albeit a small percentage of those who actually drink it), Bud isn't even an option. I'd rather have fizzy water. To say: "I don't enjoy Guiness, therefore Bud is good" is faulty logic (apologies on the paraphrasing). There are plenty of better beers in between the two, many of which compete on price point and certainly trump in taste. I encourage you to branch out a bit in between!
You wouldn't buy Baby Duck and then an expensive Pinot and decide that you liked Baby Duck better, therefore there was a good reason it was more popular? Besides the fact that the comparison is between two different products, you set yourself up to be disappointed...
As far a beer can chicken is concerned. In my own chicken investigations I've found no substitute for dry heat, and I can think of much tastier cavity flavourings than beer.
If flavouring is also a point, White Wine or any cheap Cava or Champagne do wonders on unbrined chicken (I cannot use much salt for health reasons), without killing any taste it can have by itself. If you don't care about the original taste, then red wine, or even better, a 50/50 mix of Jerez Dulce and Jerez Seco (I think they call it Sherry Wine in english), or any strong, dark beer will do. In a meat with such a subtle flavor such as chicken meat, this process will practically erase any traces of its flavor and aroma, and it will replace it with the ones of our alcohol of choice, plus of the any spice we add to the mix.
There are also spice that nullify the flavor of the chicken, but that's an entirely different subject ;)
(sorry for my extrange grammar; it's not quite the same write tech reports than write about cooking...)
tecate = so so taste
pacifico = great taste
modelo = acceptable
i also put clove, red pepper and parsil on the cerveza and put only butter and black pepper on the chicken and cover it with a metal cube-like stuff and seti it on the charcoal, and put some of it above so the heat covers all, after like 1.5 its done and tastes terrific.
In the course of writing the book, I had the pleasure of trying a host of beers, wines, soda pops, juices...etc as the liquid source in the beer-can or in the liquid resevoir of the infusion cooker (ie: Poultry Pal).
I found that the more hoppy and robust the beer the larger the impact on the flavor of the bird. My best results were achieved using such beers as Rogue's Smokehouse Ale, or Great Divide's Doubled Hopped IPA. Both excellent. At the end of the day, the most significant benefit of the continuous infusion process (beer-can technique) is the continuous flux of moisture which moistens the bird as it cooks and allows the bird to cook a bit faster. If you desire to impart flavor through your liquid medium, you need to use beers such as what I discussed, and/or liquids with a strong aromatic aspect. Either way the continuous infusion process makes for a superlative chicken or turkey.
I am the inventor of the Poultry Pal cooker used in your test and have worked with Carey Black on beer can recipes. In my experience
the last few years on this subject, use the most flavorful beer or steaming liquid you prefer, that is the great thing of cooking this way --you can still eat your less than perfect results!
Experiment with rubs, spices and liquids till you get what you enjoy!
I will soon be adding an instuctional video on the Poultry Pal web site along with beef / pork roasts and pot pie instructions.
May I also incourage people to try brined turkey on the grill, this beats deep fried hands down!
Thanks and keep cooking in good health,
check this site, good info about czech beer and another info for travelers to Czech. Prague pubs, prices, linving in czech etc.
There's a lot of misunderstanding of beer terms above, though. A pilsener is a lager. "Lager" refers to a beer fermented at low temperatures, usually with a bottom-fermenting yeast. An ale is also a beer, but fermented at higher temperatures, usually with a top-fermenting yeast.
I stand corrected. If only trappist beer came in cans :)
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.
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....
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.
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.
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.
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!!!
(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.
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.
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?
I would cut open the top of the cans and remove about 1/4 of the liquid to allow for some spices in the liquid. I would use somewhat indirect heating by having the coals around the edge of the grill and the chicken in the middle. It's been a while since the last time I grilled one, but I think it only takes an hour on the grill.
While grilling to enhance the flavor of the chicken meat I also put some pieces of apple wood, and live oak, or hickory on the coals to make smoke. I suppose because of the spices and smoke I didn't notice any real flavor from the beer or root beer, but it was still great moist chicken. :) Oh the thing that I have noticed was the the meat was so moist, that when I used the two tined meat fork to take the chicken off the can the chicken would fall apart.
So it mostly appears to me that having a can of liquid in the cavity of a chicken while grilling is to keep the meat from drying out. Although maybe having a strong flavored/aroma liquid could impart some taste to the meat too. When roasting a turkey we use stuffing to keep the bird moist, but hardly ever use this to keep a whole chicken moist. Hmm... maybe I should get a chicken out of the freezer and try a beer stuffing.
Also try this, I guarantee you will not be dissappointed.
Boil. Worshester sauce, red wine, or cheap champagne, salt, lemon and a bay leave with the chicken for at least 15 min. yeah you are boiling the chicken, once done transfer to beer can rub with honey, and stuff the top of the cavity with a lime that has been rolled and broken for the juices to drain. smoke with pecan wood, till chicken has reached 165.
You actually got me interested about steaming vegetables over wine.
One last note. GUINNESS ROCKS!
and I find it hard to believe that you would even try this experiment by
cooking the two chickens in the same oven!!! Come on guys!
I have never acquired a "taste" for beer, but I do love wine...especially the reds. My family LOVES beer butt chicken and it doesn't seem to matter what kind I use. I usually go for what's on sale and give most of it away, saving about 4 cans for future use in the whole chickens. There is definitely an unusual flavor added by the beer. It might have something to do with hops...who knows???
My beer of choice is Newcastle Brown Ale, or Newky Broon to those who love it. Guinness works well enough but Newky Broon is a bit lighter. Be sure to include plenty of mashed garlic and onion in the liquid mix, I neglected this once and the difference in flavor was surprising. I roast a 3 to 4 pound fryer each Sunday night and the flavor of the meat stands up until the bird is gone at Thursday lunch time.
P.S. I used MGD because it seems a shame to not drink the darker beers.
Happy Grilling. :-)
it facilitates flavor penetration.
and eases the maneuverability during preparation, along with the carving and disposition of the bird just before eating =D
also, regarding your discussion at the grocer - the alcohol itself would not be likely to flavour much, esp. given its volatility (consider pouring everclear over a chicken) ... though perhaps the other chemicals in beer and wine will help.
i wonder if a good cabernet sauvignon would be worthwhile, even disregarding cost: many of the flavours are subtle enough that, while appreciable as a drink, might not be substantial enough to impart to a meat. I think there was a column on this in the NYTimes within the last two years. A comparison of cheaper wines with very fine clarets elicited no difference in final product. So it seems their conclusion was certainly aligned with yours.
No matter how it turns out, it all taste good after couple of beers.
You need a gas grill because of the cooking time. With charcoal, you'll be adding coals partway through, which never works well. You need wood chips because half the flavor comes from smoke. I have a great rub, but without wood smoke, you've got nothin'.
Finally, I settled on Heineken because it's available in cans. Tried Budweiser a couple of times and found Heineken actually added discernible flavor (and the wife agreed).
I'll post my recipe if anyone wants it.
Also, why don't you complain a couple more times about how you couldn't "brine" them. Dude, I might sugget you always brine your chickens in the future to avoid the emotional anguish. You'll be happier, live longer, and readers won't have to suffer your whining 'bout brining.
Also weak is your reluctance to pony up for a lousy 6-pack. What planet are you from? Be a man, drink a friggin' beer on a Saturday afternoon. You may find your confidence increasing, increased interest in girls in tight sweaters and your tolerance for unbrined chicken might even go up.
I had beer chicken once at a bbq party. It tasted real good. And I was fascinated by the recipe. Recently I discovered Poultry pal and I feel its a great invention. Kudos!!
Will is be possible to use Poultry pal on a gas stove? Like the 4 burner stoves which run on cooking LPG ?? Has anyone tried this before?
my very first time doing this i was using an old barrel grill and half a bag of mesquite charcoal, with the coals moved to the sides, and a really cheap can & chicken holder from the local walmart. the skin was rubbed similar to the above recipe, but i didn't use beer i used a margarita flavored wine cooler and added some sangria so the can was only half to three quarters full.
to ensure that the steam stayed in the bird i also pulled the skin flap left at the neck over the hole after putting a half lime in it and used a toothpick to hold it closed (couldn't find my poultry string left from turkey day)
and i didn't remove the aluminum lip on the can i just made the opening alot wider by making 2 cuts in the can top and bending them in with pliers. the bird just slid right on and then i set it in the middle of the grill rack and left it for 3 hours, turning it every 30-40 minutes to ensure even cooking. and when we took it off the grill we let it set for a good 10-15 minutes
the results were fantastic - the skin dried into an extremely flavorable seal and held in all the moisture, the neck being sealed helped that considerably, and the flavor from the liquid in the can absolutley complimented the flavor of the chicken without overpowering it.
since then we have experimented with other flavored wine coolers, juices, etc. and have had to buy a steel double can/chicken holder because our friends beg us to make more.
Although some have complained about your using an oven and it not smoking the chickens, I don't see why a grill is necessary for this experiment since both chickens were treated the same way.
It is possible that the steam from the beer chicken partially flavored the plain chicken since they were both in the same oven. Maybe a way to remedy this issue is to cook them separately then refrigerate samples of both chickens. That way they could be tested at the same temperature even though they were cooked at different times.
Anyway, I'm cooking a beer can chicken in my oven right now. It's actually an empty coke can filled partially with cheap red wine, garlic powder, and cilantro. I found this site when searching for cooking times because I had forgotten how long it take in the oven.
I might have to try running this experiement on my own sometime to see if usuing a more flavorful liquid affects it.
In other words - f#$@ing close to water.
doesn't take a rocket scientist to observe that
doesn't take a rocket scientist to observe that
The beer isn't at the same temperature as the chicken. The oven and the beer and the chicken are all at different temperatures throughout the cooking processes. Also, remember that something doesn't need to boil for it to produce steam - the boiling point of water is the maximum temperature at which water can stay in liquid form, but water evaporates at lower temperatures (simmering as well as even lower temperatures) but not as vigorously. The beer reaches a temperature where steam is produced quickly in comparison to the slowly heating chicken.
I always use indirect heat, ie. the two outside burners are at high heat, and the two burners directly under the bird are off. I BBQ with the lid down, and monitor the temperature of the chicken with a digital thermometer.
The chicken is rubbed prior to cooking with a Montreal style dry seasoning.
The results are always good.
Beer is much more flavorful than using water.
Beer that comes in 16 oz cans is generally not of the sort that have enough flavor to produce any discernible taste difference from water, nor was that an expectation of the original recipes. It was just a method of holding a chicken vertical and steaming the inside with spices.
Now that we have commercial versions of the beer can stand as well as a much broader access to beer varieties it's much easier to play around and try and use a strong enough beer to add some beer flavor. If beer flavor is what you're looking for, however, you'd be better off using it as a basting base.
I have found that brining does change the taste but my chickens get rubbed under the skin with a mixture of herbs and a dry rub (commercial) on top of olive oil for the skin. The mixture in the thrones is about 50-50 dos equis dark and barbecue sauce. A woman I worked with recomends an inexpensive aromatic wine in the thrones, but I haven"t tried that yet. After cooking, we pull the chicken and serve with a light honey-mustard barbecue sauce and haven't had a dry chicken yet, even without the sauce. My experience has been that the thrones contain a mixture of barbecue sauce and chicken fat after cooking. I think the real advantage of cooking "beer can" is that you are cooking from the inside as well as the outside and the fact that you are introducing moisture to what is normally a "dry" cook process. I cannot discern any beer taste in the chickens.
My experience with beer can chicken produced tasty results, but issues with the chicken leaning over and falling during cooking. The up-righted chicken was wobbly, as if the beer was having the usual effect, and only after much manhandling would it stay upright in the cast iron pan.
Still, the results were no better than brining, though more adventurous.
Okay ...not sure about the baking soda bit, but here I sit impressed at genius. 8|
I don't even want to try beer can chicken again, well maybe with wine this time, but definitely I am going to try this.
it's a desiccant, as is plain old salt and many other compounds.
the cited idea is for crispness - but I have also read a number of comments about baking soda "contributing / enhancing" browning with specific regard to baking.
which is actually something I'm playing with at the moment - I'm experimenting with a really good drop biscuit recipe - my complaint is that it does not brown well. I've been through some bake temp experiments, now working on more baking soda.....
you need a good beer for a great tasting bird, and don't cook them in the same oven at the same time if your using two different recipes.
I've never seen knock-off-yo-socks results - but it's a cute method.....