In the summer and fall, Carson seems to make a beer can chicken once every few weeks. They are juicy, smoky and beyond flavorful. We use the tender meat in just about everything (salads, quesadillas, pastas, etc.). While the chicken is delicious on its own, our favorite way to enjoy it is as a topper on a plate of loaded nachos during football season. As we like to say, even if our team loses, we always win the tailgate.
Technique tip: It's important to pour out (or drink) half of the beer prior to grilling. If you don't, the liquid will overflow and cause a mess or even a fire! Also, a disposable foil baking sheet will make cleanup a breeze.
Swap option: You can experiment with any type of beer (amber, lager, blonde, etc.) or instead of chicken, top the nachos with sliced carne asada.
- 3 tablespoons poultry spice rub, divided
- One 12-ounce can stout beer, half full
- One 3½- to 4-pound whole chicken
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Nonstick cooking spray
- Tortilla chips
- Sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- Queso fresco, crumbled
- Jalapeños, sliced
- Tomatoes, diced
- Avocado, sliced
- Cilantro, chopped
- Sour cream
- Hot sauce
For the chicken:
1. Preheat grill to high (using only half the burners on a gas grill).
2. Add 1 tablespoon of poultry rub into your beer can. Rub the rest all over the chicken. Season with salt and pepper as well.
3. Place the cavity of the chicken (legs pointing down) directly onto the beer can, so that it's sitting upright.
4. Place chicken directly on grill using indirect heat, above a drip pan.
5. Cook for about 1½ hours, or until internal temperature reaches 165° F.
6. Let rest for 15 minutes. Carve and shred chicken for nachos, drizzling the juices from the drip pan over the chicken.
For the nachos:
1. Turn the grill down to medium-low heat.
2. Spray a disposable foil pan with nonstick cooking spray.
3. Layer chips, chicken and a generous amount of both cheeses on top of one another.
4. Cover with foil, and place on grill for 10-15 minutes, until cheese melts and bubbles. Top with your favorite toppings and serve.