Beer Can Chicken

Print recipe
Process: Simple
Cooking: Chicken, Game & Fowl
Preparation: Long Cook (Over 2 hours)

Serves: 4

One 4-pound chicken
One 12-ounce can of beer

Propping a whole chicken on an open can of beer and slow-roasting it on the grill may seem a bit wacky, but the result is incredible. Perry Lang says the beer vapors do little to moisten the chicken; rather, the vertical position of the bird allows its juices to flow down over the breast, keeping it succulent.


2 tablespoons Garlicky Barbecue Marinade
10 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup water

1. In a blender, puree the chopped garlic, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, onion and water.
The marinade can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.

2 Tablespoons of Seven-Spice Dry Rub
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup sweet paprika
1/4 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup chili powder
1/4 cup dry mustard
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1. In a small bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients.
The dry rub can be refrigerated or frozen for up to 6 months.

1 cup hickory or other hardwood chips, soaked in water

Cider Mop Spray
1 cup apple juice
1 cup water
1/4 cup cider vinegar

1.In a large, glass measuring cup, combine the apple juice, water and vinegar. Pour into a spray bottle and refrigerate.

The mop spray can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.

1/2 cup Sweet and Sticky Barbecue Sauce mixed with 1/2 cup water

1/2 cup vegetable oil
5 garlic cloves, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup dark rum
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground clove
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 cups water
2 cups ketchup
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup yellow mustard
1/2 cup cider vinegar
2 teaspoons hot sauce

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the garlic, onion, green pepper and a large pinch of salt and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the rum and simmer for 2 minutes. Add the chili powder, black pepper, allspice and cloves and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the brown sugar, water, ketchup, molasses, mustard, vinegar and hot sauce and simmer over moderate heat, stirring often, until thickened, about 30 minutes.

2. Transfer the barbecue sauce to a large food processor and puree. Season the sauce with salt.

The barbecue sauce can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.


Techniques Used

Board Dressing
Board Dressing
Optional Savory Herb Brush
Optional Savory Herb Brush
Season "Like Rain"
Kiss With Smoke
Kiss With Smoke
Tighten With Glaze
Tighten With Glaze
Watch Coarseness Spice
Watch Coarseness Spice


1. Rub the Garlicky Barbecue Marinade all over the chicken and refrigerate overnight, or for 4 hours at room temperature.

2. Bring the chicken to room temperature and sprinkle the Seven-Spice Dry Rub all over the skin.

3. Light a charcoal fire in a covered grill and set it up for indirect grilling: When the temperature reaches 225°, carefully push the hot coals to one side and place a drip pan filled with 1 cup of water on the opposite side. Alternatively, bring a smoker to 225°. Discard (or drink) half of the beer. Stand the chicken upright on the can, with its legs pointing down.

Cooking Method

4. Transfer the chicken on the beer can to the grill, setting it over the drip pan and cover the grill; you'll need to cook the chicken for about 3 hours total. To maintain the temperature at 225°, replenish the charcoal with a fresh batch of burning coals every hour. Add more water to the drip pan when half of it is evaporated. After the first 45 minutes, rotate the chicken, then drain 1/2 cup of the wood chips and scatter them over the coals. After another 45 minutes, drain and scatter the remaining wood chips over the coals. Rotate the chicken again, and spray the chicken with the Cider Mop Spray. Rotate and spray the bird twice more, at 45-minute intervals. The chicken is done when an instant-read thermometer inserted in an inner thigh registers 165°. Remove and discard the beer can. Transfer the bird to a carving board; let rest for 20 minutes.

5. Remove the drip pan from the grill. Stoke the coals and spread them in an even layer. Replenish with fresh coals to make a medium-hot fire. Cut the chicken in half through the backbone and brush it all over with the diluted Sweet and Sticky Barbecue Sauce. Grill the chicken, skin side down, until lightly charred. Turn and brush it with more sauce. Continue grilling, brushing and turning until the chicken skin is crisp and glazed, about 15 minutes. Serve at once.

© 2005 APL Creative Inc

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