Who doesn't love a good ol' beer can chicken? Such a simple way to prepare a juicy tender bird, but it's something I can not get sweet Luke to eat. I always say Luke has the best palate of anyone I've ever met. Although most people will tell you that beer can chicken tastes nothing like beer, Luke can pull that flavour out. And at this stage, he doesn't like beer. Not that we're complaining about our 9 yr old's dislike of beer flavour!
When I saw some Irish Cider the other day, I thought perhaps that would be a better flavour to impart in the chicken. The liquid steams the chicken from the inside and provides just the subtlest of flavours. One draw back of this can was that it is slightly larger than the normal "pop can" size. You could pour the cider into an empty smaller can if you have one around. It will let the chicken balance a little better and be less tipsy.
I used a Za'atar spice rub on the outside of bird and it was a great addition. I usually keep a container of this spice on hand in the cupboard. I first encountered this spice when making this pizza during the summer months when my CSA provided lots of eggplant. I've provided a link below for to make your own Za'atar spice or you can buy it already made.
Unknown to me before that pizza, I've been a convert ever since. It worked well on this chicken without being overpowering. We enjoyed ours with a nice glass of French red wine and a raw kale salad. It was a great meal and Luke loved it which was the best part for me.
Preheat BBQ to high. In a small bowl, mix together za'atar, salt and pepper. Rub over entire bird. Open can of cider and remove approximately 1/4 cup for your own pleasure.
Place can of cider on a pie plate and then lower chicken onto can until it is securely in the cavity of the bird. Reduce one side of BBQ to low and place pie plate on this side. Keep other side at high. Leave on BBQ for approximately 2hrs, depending on size of chicken. I used the juices in the pan to baste the chicken throughout the cooking time.