Easy Beer Can Chicken Recipes

Welcome to the latest edition of The Chargrill Chat.

This edition is dedicated to barbecue beer can chicken

I’ve been cooking a lot of barbecue beer can chicken this year. It’s really easy to make and it’s always popular with my barbecue guests.

The recipe below is the easiest of all the beer can chicken recipes that I know. You don’t need any special equipment or a whole list of ingredients.

You will need a barbecue smoker, or a hooded grill to cook it on though.

As the name suggests, beer can chicken uses beer in the cooking process. If you don’t like the idea of using beer, you can use soft drinks, such as Dr Pepper or Coke instead.


Ingredients


  • 12 ounce can of beer
  • 1 chicken, about 3 1/2 pounds
  • 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons of any barbecue rub

That’s it, I told you it was simple. If you’re using wood chips or chunks to create smoke, you don’t even need to use the oil or the rub.

I’ll give you two methods for cooking the chicken. The first uses a barbecue smoker. The second uses a barbecue grill and indirect heat. The preparation applies to either method.

Preparation.

  • Set-up your barbecue smoker. Or if using a barbecue grill, set it up for indirect heat.
  • Remove the giblets from chicken and trim off any excess skin and fat.
  • Rinse the chicken well under cold water, inside and out. Then pat dry.

If using a dry rub.

  • Brush the oil all over the outside of the chicken. Then sprinkle with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the rub.
  • Open the beer can. If using a water smoker, pour about a third of the can in the water pan. If using a grill, either pour it away, or better still, drink it.
  • Punch another three of four holes in the top of the can. If using the rub, pour the remaining 1/2 teaspoon into the beer.
  • Hold the chicken upright, with the opening of the body cavity at the bottom, and lower it onto the beer can. Effectively stuffing the chicken with the beer can.
  • Pull the chicken legs forward so it stands upright. Using the chickens legs and the beer can to form a stable tripod.

    Cooking Method Using A Water Smoker

    The instructions below assume that you’re using a charcoal water smoker. I’ve assumed that you have the charcoal at the correct temperature, you have your wood chips or chunks on the charcoal and the water pan is in place, with water and some of the beer in it.

    If you’re using an electric water smoker, follow the user instruction that came with the smoker to get it prepared for smoking.

    • Carefully stand the chicken on a cooking grid in the smoker. Use the legs and the beer can to act as a tripod.
    • Put on the smoker lid and let the beer can chicken smoke for about 2 hours. Don’t worry if you let it go a bit longer. So long as there’s water in the water pan it’s going to be OK. When I make beer can chicken I often leave them in my water smoker for up to 5 hours. The result is succulent, fall apart chicken.
    • When cooked and ready to eat, carefully take the chicken out of the smoker. I find the best way is to use a large, clean, cloth or oven gloves. Take care as the beer can will still have about half the beer and drippings from the chicken in it, and it will be very hot.
    • Put the chicken on a board and let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
    • Carefully remove the beer can from the chicken. Discard the can and carve the chicken.

    Cooking Method Barbecue Grill And Indirect Heat

    I’ve assumed that you have the charcoal or gas at the correct temperature. Your grill is set-up for indirect heat, and if you’re using wood chips or chunks, you have them in place.

    • Carefully stand the chicken on a cooking grid over a drip pan. Use the legs and the beer can to act as a tripod.
    • Cover the grill with the hood and let the beer can chicken cook for about 1 ½ to 2 hours. Check the chicken at intervals, say every half hour to start with. The chicken will be cooked when the skin is crisp and is dark brown going on black. If the skin goes brown too quickly shut the vents on the grill to reduce the heat.
    • When cooked and ready to eat, carefully remove the chicken from the grill. I find the best way is to use a large, clean, cloth or oven gloves. Take care as the beer can will still have about half the beer and drippings from the chicken in it, and it will be very hot.
    • Put the chicken on a board and let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
    • Carefully remove the beer can from the chicken. Discard the can and carve the chicken.


    I like to carve the chicken and make sandwiches out of it using rustic bread. But most often I find the meat gets plucked from the carcass before I’ve time to carve it!

    I usually cook two or three at a time on the lower grid of my Brinkmann smoker. I put ribs and the like on the top grid and let the drippings drop onto the beer can chicken below.

    As I mentioned at the start of this newsletter, this is the easiest recipe for beer can chicken that I know. Many recipes state that you must rub use a dry rub on the inside or outside of the chicken, or both. Other state that you should baste the chicken. Personally, I’d try the easy recipe above and then change one thing at a time.
    If you’d like to try other beer can chicken recipes, you might like to take a look at

    Beer-Can Chicken: And 74 Other Offbeat Recipes for the Grill , by Stephen Raichlen.

    I’ve not read it yet, but I’m a big fan of Stephen Raichlen. Here’s Amazon’s description of the book:

    Steven Raichlen's Beer-Can Chicken tells everything one should ever need to know about roasting a chicken upright on top of a can of beer. For those who find that premise strange or silly (Raichlen, in fact, thanks his publisher for being "wacky enough" to produce the book), the author describes beer-can chicken as "the perfect bird, crackly crisp, succulent within ... the most flavorful chicken you've ever tasted."

    Raichlen's goal is to encourage grillers to have fun and use their imagination, and he presents 74 "offbeat recipes" as starting points. Notable selections include Beer-Can Turkey, which requires a giant 32-ounce can of Foster's to do the job; Welder's Chicken, a stewing hen wrapped in aluminum foil and turned with welder's gloves; Dirty Steaks, cooked right on the coals; and Diabolical Chicken, soaked with spicy French mustard and which Raichlen makes "whenever I'm short on time or fancy ingredients but want to impress the hell out of my guests." There are also recipes for "beerless birds" (Ginger Ale Chicken, Black Cherry Soda Chicken), side dishes, and desserts, as well as info on grilling techniques and equipment.

    A chicken straddling a beer can, at the very least, makes a great conversation piece at an outdoor beer bash. Raichlen's most helpful hint? Make sure the beer can is open before putting it on the grill. --Andy Boynton

    I’ve read through the reviews and most people that have bought the book give it 4 or 5 stars, 5 being the maximum. Here are some of the quotes from people that gave it 4 stars:

    “Call it 4-4.5 stars, simply because the author's previous barbecue books are true 5 star books that are hard to live up to.”

    “This book is perfect as a gift for the griller in the family. But the I bought How To Grill by the same guy. A much better buy, more diverse recipes, awsome photos showing you step by step....”

    Some people didn’t like the book but you can’t please all of the people all of the time. Like I said, most gave it 4 or 5 stars, and it’s definitely on my shopping list.


    That’s all for now.

    Do have a go at making beer can chicken.

    Best regards,

    Les.


 

Search The Barbecuehut

Custom Search