I’ve wanted to try beer can chicken for ages (except in our house it’s ‘beer can chick’n’ because we don’t eat food that had a face). As it turns out, it was a great way to celebrate Labor Day and (sniff) the end of summer. The inspiration for the seitan recipe came from Vegan Dad. The beer can chicken holder came from Walmart (of course).
The chick’n was tender and moist. And SO good. The next time I make this (and there most definitely will be a next time!) I may try doubling the seitan dough recipe so that the roast is thicker. That way, the roast will take longer to grill and will have longer to absorb more of the boiling beer marinade. Having said that, I’m posting the trial recipe that I followed, because it’s darn tasty just the way it is.
We kept the side dishes simple: grilled corn on the cob and watermelon slices. Grilling the watermelon makes it an extra special summertime treat. It enhances its sweetness and really makes the flavor ‘pop’. It’s simple and very satisfying, too.
♥ ♥ ♥
Beer Can Chick’n
What You’ll Need:
Beer can holder (if you don’t have a beer can holder–and don’t want to schlep to Walmart–you can use a clean 14-ounce can with the label and top removed. It should be sturdy enough to hold the chick’n upright)
Empty beer can (I used the beer can left over from making the barbecue sauce)
Pint Mason jar (or a clean 14-ounce can with the label and top removed)
A large stock pot with a steamer insert
Seitan recipe (below)
6 ounces of good beer (although, ‘good’ is a subjective term)
1-1/2 cups vital wheat gluten
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons poultry spice
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup soy milk
1/2 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 Tablespoons canola oil
Fill a large stockpot (and steamer insert) with water and bring to a boil while you prepare the seitan. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk together the wet ingredients in a smaller bowl, then add the wet mix to the dry mix. Stir with a large spatula or a wooden spoon until well incorporated, then turn out on to the counter or a large cutting board. Shape the dough with your hands into a rectangle no wider than your steamer insert and long enough to roll up with the pint mason jar (or can) inside.
Place the jar or can on the dough, flush with one end (this will be the end that the beer can is inserted through), and roll the seitan with the jar inside of it. Seal the ends together so that the seitan roll, with the jar inside of it, is the shape of a cylinder with one end open (for the beer can) and the other end is loosely gathered together at the top. Don’t seal the top tightly; leave a small opening for the beer and steam to escape when grilling. I used my pinkie finger to make the hole.
Transfer the seitan roll to a piece of wide aluminum foil and tightly roll it up (like a Tootsie roll). Place the seitan roll in the steamer insert, seam side up. Place the lid on the pot, slightly askew.
Steam for 30 minutes total, flipping the roast after 15 minutes. At the end of 30 minutes, remove the pot from the burner and allow the roast to cool (I set the roast upright so that it wouldn’t cool with a flat side). At this point, you’ll want to start up the barbecue grill (or pre-heat the oven to 350F).
While the grill is heating, prepare the beer can holder. Carefully remove the top of an empty beer can with a can opener and then place it in the beer can holder. Fill the beer can half full of beer (a full beer can wastes beer, which is just plain wrong).
When the roast is cool enough to handle, unwrap it and carefully remove the Mason jar. Slide the roast on the beer can in the beer can holder. Place the roast on its holder on a small baking sheet covered with aluminum foil (I reused the foil that the roast was steamed in). Baste the roast generously with barbecue sauce.
Grill (or bake) for 30 minutes, keeping the grill temperature at 350F. Baste with barbecue sauce every 10 to 15 minutes. At the end of the grilling time, remove the roast from the grill and allow to stand for 5 to 10 minutes before removing it from the holder to a cutting board or serving plate. Slice as desired.
Serving the beer can chick’n with beer is optional, but if you’re heavy-handed with the hot sauce like I am when making the barbecue sauce, you’ll definitely want the beer!