Beer Brined Oven Roasted "Beer Can" Chicken
If I'm going to the trouble of brining and roasting a chicken, I usually go ahead and roast two, to have leftovers the next day. This method uses the popular vertical "beer can" roasting rack that can be found at most specialty cooking stores (I got mine at Sur La Table). The beer evaporates slowly, and leaves your kitchen smelling like a tasty craft brewery.
2 whole roasting chickens
1 cup fine ground sea salt
1 head garlic, cut in half around the equator, unpeeled
1 medium cone (4 ounces) piloncillo, crushed
2 tablespoons ancho chile powder
1 12-ounce bottle dark Mexican beer (Negra Modelo would work well here)
** Garlic butter for basting**
2 12-ounce cans of light beer for roasting
In a medium saucepan set over high heat, bring 1 quart of water to a brisk simmer. Add the sea salt, garlic, piloncillo and chile powder. Once the sea salt and piloncillo have completely dissolved, remove the pan from the heat. Add the beer and 3 ½ quarts of water. Cool completely before using.
In a 12-quart stockpot or tub large enough to hold the chickens, place both chickens and cover in the prepared brine mixture. The chickens need to be submerged. Cover and refrigerate for 4 to 5 hours. Remove chickens from brine; discard the liquid.
Preheat the oven to 375. Open two 12-ounce cans of beer, and place each in the open center frame of the vertical roasters. Place the chickens (legs facing down) on the roasting racks. Position the chickens on the lower rack in the preheated oven. Roast for 30 minutes, basting occasionally with garlic butter, then increase the oven temperature to 450. Roast for an additional 15 minutes, until the skin is golden and crispy and a probe thermometer inserted into the thigh registers 160 degrees.
Remove the chickens from the oven and let them cool slightly before carving and serving.