I spent my summer vacation of '97 in the hospital. I had only quit smoking a few weeks earlier, making it all the more painful.
My Dad is 71, I think.... I actually have to do the math now, as I have trouble even remembering my own age these days. My Dad is also a great BBQ'er - not sure if that's even a word. Either way, he makes the best BBQ chicken I have ever tasted. Mom says his secret is lots of BBQ sauce. BBQ chicken is obviously one of my faves and this easy, Weight Watchers Friendly Barbecue Beer Can Chicken recipe, also known as beer butt chicken, is no exception and the perfect meal for your Father's Day BBQ dinner @ 5 WW points per serving (blue plan).
For reasons I cannot explain, sticking a ½ can of beer up the butt of a chicken makes it super tender and juicy and totally awesome!
I found the recipe back in 2003 when it went through a surge of popularity and I haven't seen it around for a while, until I decided to make it again. There seems to be a resurrection. It's also a really healthy beer can chicken, as all the fat drips off the chicken into the pan. If you are looking for easy and healthy chicken dinner recipes for Father's Day, this is the one!
You're also going to need some kind of holder for the chicken on the beer can. I use a large aluminum roasting pan and balance the chicken on top of the beer can (as shown in photo above). It's make-shift and can get a bit wobbly, but I make it work. However, you can buy beer can chicken stands like these ones (see Recipe NOTES)
When you spend a lot of time alone with your parents, you really get to know them:
And that summer I spent a lot of time in the hospital with my parents because my dad had just had his first back surgery. And in order to fill the long hours, I came up with some little games. One in particular was a version of the "the newlywed game, " although they had already been married for 27 years by then.
Hey, we were bored.
He had spinal stenosis and they needed to operate. Then there was the long recovery that happened to fall on my visit home/summer holiday. So, we killed time; lots of it. During our newlywed game, one question that stands out was one that was posed to my Dad:
"What's Mom's favorite car?" I asked him
I had my Mom whisper her answer to me in advance. Well, if you know anything about my Mom, you know that she knows nothing about cars. Where as my Dad, well, he knows everything about cars. In fact, he knows cars inside and out. He was a hobby mechanic and even fixed cars as a side job for years.
"Red" he croaked weakly from his hospital bed. "Her favorite car is red." I burst into laughter because I couldn't believe his answer - it was bang on and exactly what she had whispered to me! And this was coming from the man who could tell you the make, model and engine size of any car, not to mention that he could also rebuild the tranny of any make or model, without even batting an eyelash. "Red" isn't even a type of car! Now my Mom definitely couldn't claim that he never listened to her.
I saw my Dad in a new light that day.
Although I really missed Dad's BBQ'd chicken that summer...
If you want to make this recipe, you're going to need:
- Beer * I use light beer
- roaster chicken
For Molasses Beer BBQ sauce:
- chili sauce
- light beer
- Dijon mustard
- chili powder
- Louisiana hot sauce
- Lemon juice
- liquid smoke
💭Best Beer for Beer Can Chicken
I really don't think it makes that much of a difference. I tried different types and brands of beers and they all taste great! However, if you want to keep it lighter, healthy and WW friendly (because you're also using it in the sauce) then you'll want to use light beer for this recipe
I went back home to university that fall comforted by the fact that everything was okay; he was on the mend. Unfortunately, that was not actually the case.
It's like being in a dream where you try to run and scream, but you're frozen in time, with no ability to make sound. As a kid, around the same time I was having those dreams, I remember going through parental death anxiety. I must have been about 6 or 7 years old.
"Are you going to die?" I'd ask. "Oh, don't you worry about that, " they'd say, "not for a very, very long time." That was good enough for me. When you're 7, a long time really is a long time. I know this well because it's the very thing I have said to my own kids when they popped that question. As parents, it's our job to ease their pain and to protect them from the cruelties of nature.
But then we all eventually grow up....
I got a call from my Mom not too long after I got back to university. Dad was scheduled for another surgery - apparently the the first surgery didn't work. Then there were complications with that surgery. He was leaking spinal fluid. He was very sick and it was a pretty scary time. And they had to go back in again to try to fix that. I felt so far away and so helpless. Again, trying to scream and run, but nothing was happening.
It's now been exactly 20 yrs since that summer and I have come and gone on many vacations. Each time I leave home, I remember the red car and it gives me an odd sense of comfort. I guess it's simply the comfort in knowing that they have each others' backs.
I am grateful beyond words to be going home to visit my parents again this summer, celebrating 20 years smoke-free and praying, as I always do, that no one is in the hospital. And looking forward, as I always do, to my Dad's BBQ chicken! In the meantime, I'll make this beer butt chicken!
📋 BBQ Beer Can Chicken Recipe
- 1 can beer I use light beer
- 1 roaster chicken
- Molasses & Beer BQQ sauce (see recipe below)
- Heat grill to medium.
- Open can of beer with can opener, pour half the beer into a container and reserve. Then place can into cavity of chicken as shown.
- Place chicken in a deep aluminum roaster pan and place onto grill. Close BBQ lid and cook for 45 minutes
- Combine all BBQ sauce ingredients in sauce pan, the baste generously on chicken.
- Allow chicken to cook for remaining 45 minutes.
- Meanwhile, simmer the remaining BBQ sauce for 20 minutes, until reduced by half the volume.
- Remove chicken from BBQ and slice. Serve chicken with remaining BBQ sauce, as desired.
*Note: You'll need to keep the grill going for up to 1.5 hrs so make sure you have extra propane or are filled up *Note: Your grill will need to be high enough that it can close over an upright chicken and test it before you light it