Chef: the world's oldest profession? Beer Can Chicken.

If you don’t believe in evolution, stop reading here. This article is about scientific evidence that backs up the theory that cooking helped humans become smarter. In case you don’t know this or never thought about it, humans are the only animals that cook their food.

The article states that cooking

had huge implications for hominid evolution, giving the ancestors of modern humans time and energy for activities such as running, thinking deep thoughts and inventing things like the wheel and beer-can chicken.”

Wow, I didn’t realize that beer-can chicken was such an ancient recipe.

But seriously, according to the scientists, when we compare our body weight with those of other primates we spend much less time chewing (humans about 4.7% of the time, other primates about 48%). That gives us time not only to invent beer can chicken but also watch TV (um —- and chew while we’re watching?).

Which I suppose makes Chef (to which I will add ALL HOME COOKS who make their own food instead of getting takeout) the world’s oldest, but more importantly, most important profession. 

In honor of the world’s oldest profession, here’s a recipe for Beer Can Chicken. Most beer can chicken recipes call for seasoning with dry rub. I think chicken on the grill is better without it, so that you can taste the smoke and subtle beer vapors that gets drowned out with too much seasoning.

Beer Can Chicken

1 whole chicken, about 4 pounds

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

salt and freshly ground black pepper

dry spice rub, optional

1 can beer

Preheat an outdoor grill to high. Remove the giblets from inside the chicken (use for other recipes such as stock or chicken soup). Wash the chicken, inside and out and remove excess fat. Rub the outside of the bird with the vegetable oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with dry rub if you wish. Open a can of beer and punch 3-4 holes around the top (with an old fashioned bottle opener). Drink about 1/3 of the beer (or otherwise spill it off). Place the chicken over the beer can through the hollow middle. Put the beer can with the chicken on the grates in the middle of the grill, balancing the chicken by moving the legs forward.

Use indirect heat to cook the chicken, if possible. That is, immediately turn the middle burners off and turn the other burners to medium. Or, if you have a small grill, use medium-low heat. If you have a small charcoal grill, set the grill up with the charcoal around the edges, leaving the middle empty. If you have a medium size grill, heat one side and cook the chicken on the other side but turn the chicken every 20 minutes so that it cooks evenly.

Cook with the cover closed for about 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours or until the juices run clear when you prick the thigh with the tip of a sharp knife. (A meat thermometer will read 165 degrees.) Makes 4 servings