Ultimate Memorial Day Backyard Barbecue – Beer-Brined Beer Can Chicken
In effort to offer full-disclosure, I start this post with a transparent admission to this blog’s faithful followers and friends – After years of personal and professional advocacy for Char-Broil and their innovative TRU-Infrared cooking systems, using nearly every grill and smoker on their platform in my own backyard, sharing my love for their ingenuitive approach to design and performance, and holding a long-standing sense of admiration for the organization’s commitment to leadership in annual charity, care for and support of community…
I spent 2 hours, 21 minutes and 48 seconds constructing this 187lb commercial-series stainless steel 4-burner gas grill straight out of the box.
I used it once.
And gave it away.
Let me explain.
Almost 4 years ago I had the blessing in life to get to know a guy who had stood over the same grill for more than 21 years. It was 1996 and after careful deliberation and much research, Dennis proudly purchased his small cart-style gas grill from a local hardware store and brought it home to construct along with the help of his daughter, replacing the old kettle-style charcoal grill that had stood in it’s place for the previous 15 years!! Living in Michigan by way of Texas, Dennis certainly knew great barbecue and enjoyed outdoor cooking as much, if not more than the next guy. To boot, his wife, Laurie, is well-known amongst their circle of co-workers, family, and neighbors as the best party planner and thoughtful of holiday hosts in the business. As you may suspect, Dennis and Laurie loved entertaining – particularly over Memorial Day and Saturday afternoons throughout the summer.
Side Note: For those that don’t grill 24-7-365, Memorial Day is both the official commencement of national grilling season… and for us Michiganders, the date on our calendars in which we begin to gain a sense of confidence that there’s only a minuscule chance of one final, soul-crushing polar-vortex Snowmageddon icestorm waiting to bury our hopes and dreams of late spring weekends spent in the backyard under sunny skies and warm weather, cooled only by a gentle breeze and a handful of crisp lager beers.
Well, it was last spring, just prior to Memorial Day that I arranged a lunch with Dennis at a local diner. It was at this lunch that I would build the courage to ask him for his blessing upon my intention to marry the love of my life – his daughter, Jennifer.
After sparsely nibbling at my sandwich and awaiting the perfect moment to turn our lunchtime dialog from happenings of the week into gracefully fumbling through my well-rehearsed proposition – I spotted my break in conversation, explained myself and sought Dennis’ permission. With brief pause and a smile from Dennis, followed by a rather lengthy session of Q&A, eventual affirmation and a firm handshake, I would walk away from that lunch with the blessing I needed to ask for my bride’s hand in marriage.
In a small private ceremony less than a year later, witnessed by the Good Lord, Dennis and Laurie, close family, and a small, intimate group of friends – Jennifer and I began our walk together down the road of happily ever after.
Three weeks ago on the anniversary of my fateful lunch with Dennis I drove to his home and surprised him with a small token of my appreciation for our relationship – I threw him a long-overdue retirement party for his 21-year old cart-style grill and gifted to him the single best home-use grill I’ve ever cooked upon – Char-Broil’s Commercial Series 4-Burner TRU-Infrared Grill – a grill good enough for a true-blue barbecue guy from Houston, Texas, a grill great the next 20 years of our Memorial Day family barbecues together, a grill worthy for my father-in-law, and the only grill I’d give the man that offered his pride and joy in life – to me, in marriage.
So, you see, I gave away this grill not because it wasn’t everything I expected (and more), but I gifted this grill to my father-in-law only because it was.
So, why is it that I love this particular grill enough to gift it to my father-in-law?
1. My father-in-law has owned 2 grills in 36 years. Two. As in… more than one, but less than 3. In 36 years. Durability was a primary and critical factor in choosing this Commercial-Series grill as a gift. Designed in heart of Columbus, Georgia, crafted of cast iron and 430-grade stainless steel, seamlessly welded, and tipping the scales at 187lbs is a rugged, high-performance outdoor cooking appliance built with men in mind like Dennis – built to last.
2. Char-Broil’s patented stainless steel TRU-infrared cooking system and rust-resistant, porcelain-coated cast iron cooking grates combine to cultivate intense, evenly distributed radiant heat across all 725 square inches of the the grill’s cooking surface – Allowing you to prepare juicier, more flavorful meals faster and more consistently.
3. 45,000 BTUs and nearly 700F of white-hot direct heat with ZERO flare-ups. EVER. The days of carbonized and petrified fare are history. And… no babysitting of your grill during the cook = more time spent enjoying friends and family while hosting at the party!
4. No more manual lighting of the barbecue, burned fingertips and singed arm hairs. Char-Broil’s one-touch electronic ignition system lights up your grill with a simple turn of the burner dials and a press of the SureFire starter button. And, in less than 15 minutes the grill chamber preheats to max temperatures!
5. Adjustable top-ported stainless steel burners allow incremental control of radiant heat. In addition to the intuitive burner control dials on the exterior face of the grill, the the burners themselves can actually be moved closer to or further from the grill grates to sear high and hot or cook low and slow.
6. Char-Broil upgraded their gas line to include a built-in, clear-to-read, fuel gauge attached to the regulator – helping you know at all times how much propane is left in your tank – ensuring no risks are taken to running out of gas, leaving guests hungry and their bellies growling!
7. Easy-breezy clean-up. Not only are you taking the heat out of the kitchen by cooking outdoors, but bonus – preparing your grill for it’s next use couldn’t be easier. After your cook is finished simply turn all burners to max heat and close the grill lid. Roast for 15 minutes while any food remnants on or between the grill grates turn to incinerated ash. Use a metal wire brush to scrub the grill grates and presto – a clean grill.
8. Assembly instructions are incredibly well-detailed, elementary to follow and requires only a phillips-head screw driver. Although, I’d strongly recommend partnering with another person to construct this grill. Buy a 6-pack and plan at least 3-4 hours of dedicated time, from soup to nuts.
9. This Commercial Series grill is not only a steal at less then $499, but the folks at Char-Broil are offering a warranty guaranteeing burners for 10 years and the remainder of parts for 1-3 years! Enough said.
10. Last, but not least – This grill is just downright sexy. Char-Broil’s innovative design not only delivers an incredibly efficient & effective grill, but this rugged, sleek, stainless-steel, 2-tone finished appliance provides an attractive addition to any backyard patio – the ideal centerpiece of your next holiday barbecue party!
Now, the first recipe I prepared and tested on Dennis’ brand new grill was a rustic beer-brined beer can-barbecued whole chicken. Among my favorite and the most well-recognized of poultry recipes for American grilling aficionados.
While the debate rages onward to validate the science of cooking a chicken with a half-consumed beer stuffed up it’s rear – what is virtually undebateable is that in 50 years since the first “beer can chicken” was fired up on the back of a tailgate – little has changed in the process and whole chicken slow-roasted over a grill is intoxicatingly delicious. And, it looks pretty darn awesome perched atop the grill.
For this 4-step recipe, simply drop the chicken overnight in a room-temperature solution of water, beer, salt and sugar. Prepare your grill to a low temperature, stuff the chicken and place atop the grill grates by resting the bird on it’s hind legs and strategically positioned beer can. Close the lid, baste and turn the bird intermittently. And, when the thickest part of the leg meat turns 165F, pull the chicken from the heat, tent with tinfoil for 10 minutes and carve. Serve alongside charred stalks of fresh asparagus and festive red, white and blue potato skewers!
Beer-Brined Beer Can-Barbecued Chicken
- 8 cups water
- 1 cup kosher salt
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 12 oz cans of beer plus 1 additional 12oz can of beer
- A handful of fresh basil leaves sprigs of rosemary and thyme, plus additional for stuffing
- 1 4-5 pound whole chicken thawed, trimmed and giblets removed
- Olive oil plus additional for basting
- Barbeque seasoning optional
- Kosher salt fresh ground black peppercorn and garlic powder, to taste
- 2 cups hard or fruit wood grilling chips wrapped in homemade tin foil packet
- In a large pot bring water, salt and sugar to a rolling boil. Remove from heat, toss in herbs and allow the water to cool to room temperature. Immerse chicken in the cooled water, pour in 3 cans of beer, cover with a lid and refrigerate for 8-24 hours. Remove chicken from brine, rinse under cold water and pat dry with paper towel. Discard brine. Place chicken uncovered back in the refrigerator for 1 hour to further dry and tighten the skin.
- Remove chicken from refrigerator 30 minutes prior to grilling and rest on the counter to begin returning the bird to room temperature. Drizzle the chicken with olive oil inside and out, then massage a seasoning, garlic, salt and peppercorn into all portions of the chicken. Open a beer, drink (or discard) half the contents, then slide the whole chicken onto the beer can.
- Preheat the grill to 275F and simply place the stuffed chicken over the grill grates – balancing the bird upon the beer can and it’s 2 legs. Slowly roast the chicken for 90-120 minutes, lightly basting every 30 minutes with olive oil, or until the internal temperature of the dark thigh meat reaches 165F and juices run clear.
- Carefully remove the chicken from the smoker (attentive to the scolding metal beer can inside the chicken) and transfer to a cutting board. Tent with tin foil and rest for 10 minutes before discarding the beer and cavity aromatics. Carve, season additionally to taste, and serve.
Cheers! -David and Jennifer
This post was sponsored by Everywhere Agency on behalf of Char-Broil; however, all thoughts an opinions are my own.