Story and photo by Margo Greenman
Just the way a key goes into a lock or a hand slides into a glove, some things just fit together perfectly. When this happens, it can feel almost serendipitous. Or at least that’s how it felt the first time I slid a can of cider into the cavity of a roasting chicken.
For years, beer can chicken has been a popular way to add flavor and moisture to any bird, but with more and more cider makers packaging the sweet, effervescent drink in aluminum cans, sweet tasting cider can easily be subbed in place of more traditional suds, adding new flavors to your favorite roast.
The next time you want to add a flavorful twist to your roast, add a can of Ward’s Hard Cider to your ingredient list. Made of apples from British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, Ward’s Hard Cider captures the sweet, crisp flavor of fresh-picked apples inside each can, adding a burst of flavor to your bird.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Makes: One chicken
1 3–4 pound chicken, giblets removed
½ cup of your favorite chicken rub (or make your own using this recipe from Adam Perry Lang)
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 can Ward’s Hard Cider
Preheat oven to 350° F.
On a clean work surface, prepare chicken by coating it with chicken rub. Be sure to get under the leg and wing.
Open cider can and pour out ⅓ of can (this will prevent overflow). Place can in roasting pan and slide chicken onto can—the can should fit perfectly inside of cavity.
Make sure chicken is propped upright, to keep from spilling, in roasting pan and place on bottom rack of preheated oven.
The chicken will take 1 to 1 ½ hours to cook, but about 30 minutes in, brush the melted butter on the chicken. This will crisp the skin and help caramelize the rub.
The chicken is ready when a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken reads 160° F. Once chicken is fully cooked, remove from oven and let rest. Once cooled (about 15 minutes), carefully remove can from cavity and carve.