2 (12-ounce) can beer
1 (3 1/2 to 4 pound) chicken
2 tablespoons Basic Barbecue Rub, recipe follows
2 cups Cola Barbecue Sauce, for serving, recipe follows
3 to 4 handfuls apple or hickory wood chips, soaked in water for 30 minutes
Basic Barbecue Rub:
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup sweet paprika
3 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons kosher or sea salt
1 tablespoon hickory salt
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons celery seeds
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Cola Barbecue Sauce:
1 cup cola (regular Coca-Cola, not diet)
1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
3 tablespoon steak sauce (recommended: A-1 Steak Sauce)
1 teaspoon onion flakes
1 teaspoon garlic flakes
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
To prepare the chicken:
Pop the tab off one of the beer cans. Using a church key style can opener or a knife, make a few more holes in the top of the can. Pour out half the beer into the soaking water of the wood chips. Set the can of beer aside. Open the second beer and take a generous swig then set aside. Repeat as often as necessary.
Set up the grill for indirect grilling and preheat to medium. If using a charcoal grill, place a large drip pan in the center. If using a gas grill, place all the wood chips in the smoker box (if you don't have a smoker box, I've just used one of those disposable foil pans) Preheat the grill to high until you see smoke, then reduce the heat to medium.
Remove the packet of giblets from the body cavity of the chicken. Remove and discard the fat just inside the body and neck cavities. Rinse the chicken, inside and out, under cold running water, drain, and blot dry inside and out with paper towels. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of the rub inside the body and neck cavities of the chicken. Rub the bird all over on the outside with 2 teaspoons of the rub. If you have the patience, you can put some of the rub under the skin being careful not to tear it.
Spoon the remaining 2 teaspoons of rub through the holes into the beer in the can. Don't worry if it foams up, it probably will... so be prepared!. Insert the beer can into the body cavity of the chicken and spread out the legs to form a sort of tripod. Tuck the wing tips behind the chicken's back.
When ready to cook, if using a charcoal grill, toss all the wood chips on the coals. Stand the chicken up in the center of the hot grate, over the drip pan and away from the heat. Cover the grill and cook the chicken until the skin is a dark golden brown and very crisp and the meat is cooked to an internal temperature of 180 degrees, about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours. If using a charcoal grill, you'll probably need to add some fresh coals after 1 hour.
Using tongs, carefully transfer the chicken in its upright position on the beer can to a platter and present it to your guests. Let rest 5 minutes, and then carefully remove the chicken from the beer can. Take care not to spill the hot beer or otherwise burn yourself. Quarter or carve the chicken and serve with the Cola Barbeque Sauce.
For the Basic Barbecue Rub:
Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir to blend together. Store the rub in an airtight jar away from heat or light. It will keep for at least 6 months.
For the Cola Barbecue Sauce:
Combine all the ingredients in a heavy non-reactive saucepan and gradually bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat slightly to obtain a gentle simmer. Simmer the sauce until reduced by 1/4, about 6 to 8 minutes. Use right away or transfer to a large jar, cool to room temperature, cover, and refrigerate. The sauce will keep for several months.