Wife had a whole chicken thawed and ready, she gave me the choice of smoking it on a Saturday, I originally declined. It was raining with no end in sight and I decided that would be a fun activity for a rainy day. Threw it together with terrific results!
I've never done a bad beer can chicken. Okay, that isn't entirely true, I did undercook one a few months ago and it had to be finished in the oven while the kids were starving for dinner – all part of the learning process – but other than that, I'VE NEVER DONE A BAD BEER CAN CHICKEN.
Although smoking a whole chicken is one of the messier things to do with your Masterbuilt Electric Smoker, its pretty straightforward and always a great tasting, and healthy meal.
I took the chicken out of the fridge, patted it dry and covered both sides with brown sugar and Winco rub from the bulk section (love that stuff! Can't go wrong!). I was very liberal with the rub because I didn't have any mustard to use as adhesive. My only hope was to absolutely douse this thing with spices and brown sugar. I threw it in the fridge, prepared my spray bottle of apple cider vinegar and water, gave it a couple spritzes of the juice and set a reminder on my apple watch to start the smoker at noon.
While I was cleaning up lunch for my youngsters my watch vibrated and my oldest son Emmitt and I quickly headed out to the shop to prime the smoker. He always enjoys spraying the juice and loading the chips. We set the smoker at 250 degrees and 5 hours (chicken would go in after 30 mins of warm up).
At about 1 o'clock we headed back out with a can of beer from the local gas station, a jar of garlic and some leftover onion that was in the fridge. I added a few big pieces of yellow onion to the beer and used needle nose pliers from the shop to toss in a couple scoops of garlic. I also poured in some Worcestershire sauce – warning this made the beer foam! I then grabbed an old pair of rubber dipped gloves (moving the chicken to the can is messy) and placed the chicken on top of the can on the top rack of the smoker. Emmitt spritzed the bird and we closed the door right around 12:30.
2. The Cook
I always enjoy the smell of the smoke wafting around the farm when something is cooking outside. I had all 4 kids while the wife went for a massage and we put on all the gear (boots, hats, coats, etc...) and stopped out the shop to spray the bird once before naps, then we spent some time inside watching The Masters before heading back out to spray the bird immediately after mom got back.. Emmitt stayed out and I trimmed about 4 of the firs in the shop area away from the fence, that probably took an hour, so we sprayed it again around 3:30 and added some chips. When we went to put our tools away around 4:30 the clock was counting down to zero! After smelling that bird all day we were ready to enjoy the fruits of our labor! All in all I'd say it was a 4.5 hour cook. Again, 250 degrees and probably 4 spritzes. We grabbed a big plastic Tupperware tub from the house and proudly returned a few minutes later with the meat. It looked great, smelled fantastic and I didn't even need a knife to clear the meat from the bones!
My lovely lady made 2 great, and healthy, side dishes for this rainy day smoked beer can chicken: Honey cooked carrots and a quinoa/rice/feta/green onion combo that really hit the spot. Our teamwork resulted in a nutritious, colorful, satisfying meal that we and the kids really enjoyed.
Today's weather was awful in the Pacific Northwest. It's almost mid-April but the forecast was such a guaranteed junker that the Oregon Ducks and Washington State Cougars chose to play a double header in Eugene yesterday! By all accounts this should have been a crappy Saturday. There's only one problem there, I don't have bad days. The rain and wind fed the trees and knocked down some old branches, we still got some work done and spent alot of time outside. I continue to marvel at how hardy kids will prove themselves to be when given the opportunity. I was wet and muddy half of my childhood and I'm still wired that way! I love how Emmitt and I will head outside – even in ugly conditions – and then 20 minutes later, 2 or all 3 of our remaining kids will come running out in boots, hats and coats ready to go! Kids will only develop a love of the outdoors (regardless of weather) if they are shown that some rain, wind and mud is what makes life fun. Besides, it hardly rains under the trees and thats exactly where we like to spend our time. Smelling the firs, managing what we are so lucky to have and exploring the amazing creatures that live here with us.
Seeing our children learning the joy of work is extremely satisfying. Emmitt was out there with my huge set of branch loppers, getting the blades around the branch, placing one handle against his belly and using all his might to pull the other towards him to cut the branches. He worked like that for over an hour! He was in shorts and barn boots, water dripping down on him, dirt on his face and hands AND HE WAS FULL OF JOY. That's how I was at 8 years old when I started helping my dad with yard work and that's how I still am today; happiest when doing physical work. Seeing Emmitt, and in smaller doses, my other kids, learning the satisfaction of hard work is one of the greatest things I've experienced in my life. I need to get more pictures of him working but below is a good one of him holding Alfredo the rabbit during this morning's feeding. It was really windy, cold and wet, didn't feel like spring at all...it was also one of the best Saturdays I've had in awhile.