Wine Can Chicken
(The Best Damn Chicken You’ll Ever Eat!)
Most people are familiar with Beer Can Chicken, a technique where you barbecue a whole bird balanced on a beer can. This is done so that as the bird roasts, the beer steams and flavors the bird from the inside out.
Well, we wondered how this would work out if we used an Underwood Pinot Gris can instead, and let us say that we were absolutely blown away by how easy and how delicious this turned out! To make a more complete meal out of it, we roasted some potatoes at the same time, and while the bird was cooking, we whipped up a simple Chimichurri sauce.
Remove any offal or neck pieces from the cavity of the bird. Rinse well inside and out with cold water and pat dry.
Evenly coat the whole bird with olive oil and salt and pepper.
Fire up your grill. Whether you’re using charcoal or gas, you don’t want any heat directly under the bird, so keep the center free of direct heat.
Crack a can of Pinot Gris and drink about 1/4 of the wine. This is actually a very important step, as it will create a little room for the wine to steam and not overflow into the grill. Slide the can into the cavity of the chicken and place it in the center of the grill.
This is the most important part—make sure the can is sitting flat on the grill and splay the legs so that they form a steady tripod. We found it best to lean the legs into the grooves of the grill plate. Cover the grill and let the bird cook for about 10 minutes. Check to make sure the bird hasn’t fallen over and then recover it and DO NOT UNCOVER IT for at least another 45 minutes. If your grill has a temperature gauge, try to keep the heat around 450 degrees. The bird will take about 1 hour to cook altogether.
You can also place a few medium red potatoes on the grill—again, make sure they are not directly over the heat, and let them roast as the bird cooks. They should finish at just about the same time as the chicken.
In the meantime, make the Chimichurri sauce—a sort of zesty Argentinian pesto. There are many variations of the sauce. Here is ours:
1 bunch of cilantro
1/2 bunch of curly parsley
3 large sprigs of oregano
juice of half a lemon
1 TBS red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic
1 medium shallot
pinch of salt & crushed red pepper
1/2 C olive oil
Rinse, dry and pick all the herbs. Finely dice the shallot. Set aside.
In a food processor, place the 2 cloves of garlic and pulse several times Then add all the other ingredients except the shallot and the oil. Pulse a few more times.
Once everything is starting to be finely chopped, slowly drizzle in the olive oil while the food processor is running. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the diced shallot. Keep covered in the refrigerator until ready to use.
BACK TO THE BIRD…..
Cook the chicken until a thermometer inserted reads 165 degrees. Carefully remove the chicken from the grill and set it on a pan to rest. Gently remove the can, it will still have a good amount of VERY hot wine in it so be very careful.
Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes and then carve, removing both legs and breasts.
Arrange your desired pieces on a plate with a few pieces of the potato and a generous amount of Chimichurri. Crack an ice cold can of Pinot Gris and DIG IN!
Photography, Recipe and Text by David L. Reamer. (@dlreamer)