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Whoever came up with beer can chicken is a genius. The beer not only steams during cooking, keeping the chicken breast moist. It also holds the chicken upright so it cooks evenly. And the beer makes a decent base for a pan sauce at the end of cooking. Just make sure your bird isn't too small or it won't fit over the beer can! A 4-pound bird is about right. - Dave Chang

Makes 4 to 6 servings

  • 1 whole chicken, about 4 pounds
  • A few tablespoons olive oil or neutral oil
  • About 1/4 cup Momofuku Spicy Salt or other seasoning blend
  • 1 can (12 ounces) beer (can be nonalcoholic)
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF and remove the top rack. Set the lower rack in the lower third of the oven so there is room for the chicken to sit upright.
  2. Remove any giblets and fat from inside the chicken. Oil up the chicken all over, then sprinkle the seasoning blend evenly over the bird. Sprinkle some inside too.
  3. Pour about one-fourth to one-half of the beer into the bottom of a cast-iron skillet or heavy-duty roasting pan. Set the half-empty beer can upright on the pan. Hold the bird with the legs down, and with your other hand open the lower cavity. Slide the cavity over the can until the chicken is nice and snug, being careful not to tip over the can of beer. Prop the chicken legs up on the pan to make a tripod so the bird sits upright. If you want to get fancy, tuck the wings behind the bird's back so it looks like the chicken is sunning itself.
  4. Roast until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165ºF when tested in the thickest part of a thigh, about 1 hour and 20 minutes.
  5. Remove the chicken and beer can as a unit to a cutting board. Carefully lift the chicken off the can by using tongs to loosen the bird from the can (reserve the beer in the can). Everything will be hot, so take care! Heatproof silicone gloves or a kitchen helper make this much easier. Let the chicken rest on the cutting board while you make the sauce.
  6. Pour the remaining beer from the can into the pan, and place the pan over medium-high heat. Add the butter, and scrape the brown bits off the pan bottom with a flat wooden spoon or spatula as the butter melts and the liquid comes to a boil.
  7. Sprinkle the cornstarch into the sauce, while whisking it in vigorously to avoid lumps. Simmer and whisk until the sauce thickens slightly, about 1 minute. Pour the sauce into a gravy boat or a bowl with a spoon.
  8. Carve the chicken (with a knife or kitchen shears) into wing, thigh, leg, and breast pieces. Serve the chicken pieces with the sauce.

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