Beer Can Chicken

Beer Can Chicken finishedbeer can chicken

Beer Can Chicken
  • 1 can of beer (we used a hoppy IPA, but I hear this is great with dark beer, or even Budweiser)
  • 1 whole chicken
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Your favorite spices
  1. If you are using a charcoal grill, create a hot zone and a cold zone by piling all the coals on one side of the grill. If you are using a gas grill, only light the burners on one side.
  2. Open the beer and drink about half. (Sorry folks, gotta leave some for the bird.)
  3. Empty the chicken cavity. Pat the bird dry, then rub skin with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper and whatever spices you like. We did a simple mix of paprika, cumin, and cayenne.
  4. Lower the chicken, cavity-side down, onto the beer can. (Yes, you can laugh…it’s funny). Set the chicken upright on the grill grate over the cool zone—it should look like it’s sitting on the grill—and shut the lid.
  5. Cook, rotating the bird occasionally for even cooking, until a thermometer inserted into the largest part of the thigh reads 170, or the juices run clear—about an hour.
  6. When you’ve taken the chicken off the grill, remove beer can and tent with foil until ready to eat.
  7. There are so many ways to play with this recipe: different spices, different beers. Some people even put crushed garlic and herbs in the beer can.
Tip: Take the stuff you get out of the chicken (liver, neck, etc) along with the carcass, a carrot, an onion, some celery and whatever else (we used parsley stems and whole peppercorns) and simmer it in a pot of water for about 45 minutes to make amazing stock. Freeze and use whenever…yum!



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  1. says

    A tip I learned a few years back: Before you sit the bird on the can, spray the can with non-stick spray. It will prevent the bird from sticking to the can, and make it much easier to remove.

    …that way, you don’t do what I’ve done a couple of times – dump a half can of very hot beer all over your cutting board, while trying to wrestle it out of a chicken…

  2. says

    Another plate I recognize! 😀 I love Beer Butt Chicken (that’s how we referred to it when I was growing up) but I haven’t made it in ages. As soon as we get back from Florida, I think it’s going on the menu.

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