A Twist On The Classic Beer Can Chicken


It’s fall, but there is still plenty of good grilling out there! This is a twist on the classic Beer Can Chicken. Instead of beer, we are using hard cider for the brine. Also, this is a kabob, so the cooking is faster than the original. Remember to use the apples that are crisp, for best results. Happy Fall Grilling!

Cider Brined Chicken Kabobs
by Chef Matt Jost

Serves: 6 people
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 25-30 minutes

Special Equipment:
10” bamboo skewers (soak for 2 hours before using)
Basting brush


For the brine
3 cups water
½ cup sugar
3 tablespoons kosher salt
2 sticks cinnamon
2  bay leaf
½ teaspoon chili flakes
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 ½ cup hard cider (any variety)

1 ½ lb chicken breast (cut into 1 oz pieces)
2  granny smith apples (or other crisp, hard apple)
2 oz olive oil (for grilling)

For Basting
1 cup good maple syrup
¼ cup hard cider (any variety)

1.  Place the water, sugar, salt, cinnamon, bay leaf, chili flakes and garlic in a pot and bring to a simmer on your side burner. Whisk to dissolve the sugar and salt.  Once dissolved, chill the brine in an ice bath.
2.  Once the brine has chilled, add the cider and the chicken. Brine the chicken for 30 minutes.
3.  After 30 minutes, drain the chicken and pat dry.
4.  Cut the apples in ¼ wedges. Then, cut each wedge in 3 pieces to make 1” chunks.
5.  Toss the chicken and apples in the olive oil to coat all over.
6.  Skewer the apples and chicken on the skewers, alternating chicken and apple. Use 4 pieces of apple and 4 pieces of chicken on each skewer. Once the chicken skewers have been made, season with fresh ground pepper, if desired. No salt!

7.  Set the grill for direct, medium heat grilling (about 350F). I like to set up a sheet of aluminum foil in a strip, along one side of the grill. This creates a “safe zone” that will help keep the handles from burning up when grilling direct.

8.  Once the grill has heated, grill the chicken for 3-4 minutes a side. 
9. Divide the baste into two separate dishes and baste the chicken with the first half of cider maple syrup all over.
10.  Check the chicken with an instant read thermometer, it should be about 165F when fully cooked.
11.  Pour the second half of the maple baste on top of all the chicken kabobs to glaze them right before serving.
12.  Serve the kabobs with your favorite cider!

Keep the coals hot!