Sunday, February 6, 2011

You're Going to Put that Where? - Beer Can Chicken

On this blog I'll only write about products I own and use, not anything I'm paid to advertise. This is one of them, an inexpensive devise that came in real handy for making a favorite in my household, beer can chicken.

The premise is that you take a half full can of beer and shove it up a whole roaster chicken's backside, setting the bird up carefully upright and grilling or roasting, as it balances on the beer can. The beer in the can then steams in the inside of the chicken while the outside gets all brown and crispy.

It's delicious, no matter what seasonings you use, but unfortunately my drunken chicken, when first attempting this dish without help, tipped over during the cooking process and made a mess.

It's not as bad as when Mom set the turkey on fire. Long time readers have heard this story, but I will laugh when I think about it as long as I live.

Mom had heard that cooking a turkey in a bag made for a nice moist bird. As plastic cooking bags were not common (or even made yet in the late sixties), she used a paper grocery bag. Unfortunately she missed the part about putting the bird in a pan first to catch the juices and cooking it on low for a long time. As Mr. Turkey baked at a temperature somewhere around the heat of the sun, the juices and grease pooled in the bottom of the bag, soaking it. When the little red turkey timer popped out, it punched a hole in the bag, all the grease hit the oven burner and the bag ignited.

We heard a "whoosh" and my big brother, who was probably 10 at the time, very calmly said "Mom, the turkey's on fire" It's the only time in my life I heard my Mom utter the "F" word.

Dad told her to keep the oven door closed and let it burn out as he sat there muttering "oh the humanity" before going out for KFC.

That's why this little inexpensive gadget works so well. It provides a stable platform for the ale impaled bird, by providing a place for the can of beer and a base that won't easily tip over.

It's beyond easy. Use half a can of beer. I actually used some Bad Elmer Porter, which I poured from its glass bottle into a clean Bud Light can that was waiting for recycling. Bad Elmer won't win any beauty contests but it's some fine dark beer. I then added some ground pepper, a shake or two of table salt and a heaping teaspoon of chopped roasted garlic to the birds interior. Although there is flavored salt on the chicken skin, the little bit of salt in the cavity will help season the meat. The can is inserted and then placed in the holder which holds the chicken perfectly in place.

The outside of the bird is rubbed down with olive oil. I used one from Artisano's that is made from olives that taste like butter. It adds the taste of butter to the bird but with a fat that's much more heart healthy.

After washing my hands well, I rubbed the bird down with Artisano's alderwood smoked salt (that's right, sea salt slow smoked over real alterwood, giving it a clean smoked flavor without any liquid smoke or anything artificial). I had to stop and sniff the bag of the salt, it's like breathing in a campfire without coughing. A few grinds of fresh Tellicherry pepper on top of that and it was almost ready. If you don't have access to these spices, try placing extra garlic in the cavity along with salt and peper and then rubbing the chicken down with EVOO and some fresh rosemary.

A small potato then is put into the neck cavity to keep the steam in.

I then added a cup of water and a cup of chicken stock to the pan. That keeps the juices from baking on to the pan where you need a blowtorch to clean it, as well as provides just a little bit of moisture to the outside of the bird but not so much it doesn't brown nicely.

Two hours later, roasting in the oven at 350 degrees F, it's done. The potato was trying to pop out, which try as I wanted not to, made me think of the Spaceballs diner scene and as I prepared the plate, had me quietly humming hello my baby. . .

The chicken was perfect, so moist and tender it literally fell off the bone, with a crisp but not greasy skin.

Served with a home made buttermilk biscuit (no that is not the Godzilla biscuit, when I wish to eat light for a few days, I use a salad plate for portion control) and romaine, dried cranberries, walnuts and wild blueberry balsamic vinagerette made fresh.

click photos to enlarge


  1. I've done this several times and I can attest to the phenomenal flavor of beer can chicken.

  2. I'm pretty sure I'd punch the entire convent for a piece of that! :-)


  3. Thank God that's a potato; At first glance I thought it was Kuato from Total Recall. Seriously this looks great. I did this one time without the gadget; it didn't fall but I had to remove it to add more coals to the Weber (quite a balancing act). I'll have to get the gadget and use the potato trick, thanks. Keep Siegfried away from the fire.

  4. It is beyond cruel of you to allow us to drool over, um, see these pictures at dinner time.

    So what time did you say dinner would be?

  5. I think I speak for chickens everywhere when I say "GET ME DRUNK AND VIOLATE ME." Okay, maybe not really. The Queen would not be amused.

  6. Damn, that looks good.

    Does the spud get eaten?

  7. Some awful good eatin' right there.

  8. Ah, beer butt chicken. One of the greatest advancements of the 20th century!

  9. Jim - aha, so if the phrase punch a nun for a baked good stands, this is even better than that? I'll add it to the list of things to make for supper with my friends.

    Island Bob - Kuato. . HA!!!! Yes, you can do it without the balancing thing, it just made it easier.

    K - Erickson - today was my first day back at work (and yes after 11 hours, I'm beat) Thanks for the big smile.

    MaineMapeDave - yes, a dinner guest grabbed it straightaway, and I think moaned when they swallowed it. It had soaked all the flavor of everything and was perfectly cooked.

  10. I have one of those devices and they work well. I look forward to trying it with your recipe!

  11. Keads - if you want to try any of the flavored salts from that shop, let me know and I'll drop some in the mail. Spices in a mail puch is pretty cheap to send, and the spices themselves, just a couple of bucks.

  12. I'm going to learn how to cook yet! This looks so good and sounds like something I can handle. Thanks

  13. I am definitely going to try this recipe. I normally smoke mine with apple, cherry, and maple wood from the woodpile for when guests are coming over. My spices on the outside are more chili powder and cracked black pepper, but your smoked salt sounds yummy!

    You can do the same thing with a turkey if you use a larger beer can, like a fosters, and cook it low and slow.

    The smoke ring on these birds gets really deep, and the meat is so tender it cuts like butter.


  14. Ahh... beer butt chicken. The name, not so classy, but the chicken is always a hit.

    We actually went and bought a new bigger grill to fit a standing chicken in better, that's how much we liked it.

  15. I'm thinking this might be good with a roasted sliced jalapeno and some tomatilla and garlic up the keester with a little salt and pepper, and the skin rubbed with lime juice blended with the olive oil and mesquite seasoning rubbed over all ?

    Or am I just demented.

  16. Never had to use one of those stabilizer thingys. You just have to get the beer can into the chicken far enough and then use the drumsticks for balance.

    Try this; after rinsing the chicken and patting dry, use 1/2 the beer in the can to moisten the bird inside and out. Then use a rub made of Trade Winds Barbecue Seasoning (available at Smart and Final) 2 parts seasoning to one part dark brown sugar. Rub bird inside and out. Put a pinch of spice in the can with the remaining beer. Insert can and cook. I have never used a spud to seal the neck and the bird still comes out moist. I have done this in the oven or on the grill using indirect heat.


  17. "...before going out for KFC..."
    It's true,,,, I snorted. It's so unfortunate that we can't all meet each other's Dads. They are mostly interchangeable. Except mine is addicted to overalls, and socially inopportune moments of un-pc honesty. And that's before we even begin discussing bodily funtions. :-)

  18. Even though most of the recipes suggest avoiding cans with widgets, Mrs. Roscoe likes Boddington's Bitter for beer can chicken.

    People are really uptight about plastics these days, but we've never had a problem with the widget. Of course, to me, the White Rabbit Chinese milk candy without that hint of melamine just isn't as tasty.

  19. I'm going to have to try this. I have so much trouble getting Sally to eat poultry, and beer can chicken has always looked amazingly good.

  20. Ms. Brigid. This isnt about this post in whole but just a quick note to tell you that while I did enjoy it, this is more about the last 1 1/2 years. I have enjoyed your post, the pictures and the way you seem to conduct yourself. As I have stated before that I have 4 daughters and am careful about what I recomend to them. This is one of very few that I have. You apear from where I sit to conduct yourself as a lady which in todays world seems to be in short supply. Thank you for your time and effort not to let people and things drag you down as unfortunately some others have. May God bless you and keep you safe. I look forward to the next few years with you. mwp

  21. I LOVE beercan chicken. I use a stainlese steel insery for mine (Don't like the printing from the can coming of inside the bird), and stand it up in a disposable pie tin. Put a cut up onion and potato in the tin at to catch the drippings, and then SMOKE it in the smoker. If you have never had smoked potatoes and onions that have caught the bird drippings... well, you should.

    I think I may need to smoke a bird this week.

  22. Screw the chicken (oh wait, you just did) - give me some of that salad dressing! Oh, and if you're not going to advertise my revolutionary butt busting exercise device, then send my bribe money back.

  23. So is it a sin that I use Mountain Dew?

  24. Wait a second here, there's something that everyone is missing.

    We all know that you're a lady of exceptional taste so I'm left to wonder.

    How exactly did a can of horse XXXX get into the Range? Bud Light? Really?

  25. Oh thanks.
    Now I am really hungry...

    Just thanks....

  26. Oh that looks wonderful, and the pictures are cruel. :)

  27. Hooray! Finally she describes something that I can cook and cook fairly well.

    My old man put me on to this a few years ago, and it's fan-freaking-tastic. In fact, Murphy and I may just do one this week-end, just because.

  28. Alright - I was going to come back here and craft some witty comment about a cap snaffler, but had absolutely I Google "cap snaffler" and hit images (simply because I don't even know what one is to begin with)...what comes up, but photo after photo from this you can add "cap snaffler" to your top 10 search engine key words. That being said, I've completely lost the desire to be witty, so we'll have to reschedule for another post.

  29. Violent Indifference - I thought you guys were looking at my shooting stance! :-)

  30. @B.- Very kind offer on the salts and spices! Around here if it does not say "McCormick" on it, it is not a spice! I can go to the Metropolis to scout, but only 4 things make me go there. Friends living in it, Colt Collectors Annual Meetings, NRA Conventions, and Ruth's Chris.

    Thanks again!

  31. b: I was just looking for "printing."


  32. I just noticed that my own joke went right over my head ~ VI, even if I DID send B a revolutionary arse lifting machine to test out, it wouldn't be an assumption that she NEEDS it because, you see, I already *know* that she doesn't. SHOULD I ever invent such a thing, it would be for men anyway. I will now walk away while shaking my head. Thank you.

  33. For a change, try orange soda sometime. Quite good!

    Gotta try the smoked salt. Would it be overkill on a smoked bird?


I started this blog so the child I gave up for adoption could get to know me, and in turn, her children, as well as share stories for a family that lives too far away. So please keep it friendly, kid safe, and open to discussion, not criticism. This is my home. You can live in yours as you wish, but this is my place.