Back in 2001, Cabin Life magazine’s Grill Master wrote about beer can chicken. He called them dancing chickens because they look like they’re ready to step off their thrones and two-step across the grill. Here’s Grill Master David Bowers’ basic recipe.
Basic Dancing Chicken
2 chickens, 3 to 31/2 pounds each 2 12-ounce cans of beer (whatever you’re drinking) 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) softened butter or olive oil Salt and pepper
1. Prepare a medium-hot fire in your kettle grill and allow the coals to burn down until showing a layer of white ash with a red under-glow. If you’re using wood chips, put them in a bowl of water to soak.
2. While the coals are burning down, rinse the chickens in cold water and dry well inside and out with paper towels. Using a knife or fork, jab the inside of the cavities all over, through the ribs and flesh but not through the skin. Sprinkle a generous amount of salt and pepper inside the cavity. Using your hands, rub butter, salt and pepper all over the outside of the birds.
3. Open the beer cans and dispose of the top two inches of each as you see fit. Use a church-key can opener to make several other holes around the top of the can, or remove the lid altogether. Set the chickens down over the cans, using the drumsticks to help balance the birds.
4. For you charcoal grill purists, use a poker to bank the coals on either side of the charcoal grill. Throw the wet wood chips over the coals and replace the grill rack. Set the chickens on their beer cans in the center of the rack and put the cover on the grill. For you gas grill fanatics, be sure to use heavy-duty foil or a pan under the chickens.
5. Cook for 60 to 90 minutes. After an hour, insert a thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh. When it reads 180º F, the chickens are done. Make sure your guests see your beautiful birds roasted to perfection on the grill, then lift the chickens carefully off the beer cans and transfer to a large serving platter.