A glorious but not-so-glamorous spin on your regular roast chicken.

Beer can chicken is a favourite of mine. I first had it at Mr Hive Kitchen and Bar in Crown Metropol. It was so good that I definitely want go to back and have it again, but I was equally keen to try making it at home as well.

How’s it made?

Essentially, beer can chicken involves putting a 2/3 full can of beer (with the top cut off) into the cavity of the chicken, standing it upright and cooking it in an oven or barbecue. Either way, you need to aim for around 1 hour and 10 minutes cooking time. If you’re using an oven you’ll need the temperature to be around 200C. If you’re using a barbecue, you need to set the temperature to low-medium. If you’re not too sure, always keep the temperature low so you can control it…you can’t undo burning. I think I prefer the barbecue method as the skin on the chicken becomes crispier. However, to do this you need to have a barbecue with a tall cover. Any size can will do, as only a limited amount of beer will actually evaporate and permeate the meat, although a taller can makes it easier to stand the chicken.

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What’s the point?

The vapour from the beer inside the can cooks the chicken with moisture, resulting in tender, juicy meat and a slightly malty beer flavour. Pair it with some warm spices and you’re laughing!

Here’s the recipe from my most recent, and most successful, attempt at beer can chicken.

~ Ingredients ~

  • 1.7 kg chicken
  • 50g butter, plus a little extra melted, for basting
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges for serving.
  • 1 x can of beer

~ Method ~

(For gas barbecue)
  1. Turn on the barbecue to low heat and keep the cover closed.
  2. While the barbecue is heating up, prepare the chicken. Rinse the chicken then pat dry. Next, rub the chicken all over with butter and sprinkle all the spices evenly and season with salt and pepper. Be sure to cover as much of the chicken as possible.
  3. Open the beer can from the top – any size will do, as not all of the beer will be used, though a taller can with more beer weight will stand better. Pour out about 1 third into another glass and drink. Cut off the top two inches of the partially filled with a knife.
  4. In the heated barbecue, place the beer can on the grill and place the chicken over it, so that the cavity covers the can – this is easier with two people. The chicken should lean on the can as well as the two drumsticks. If your barbecue has a rack at the back like the one pictured, even better – lean it gently on the rack as well. Make sure it is steady so that it doesn’t tip and you don’t lose any beer, and so that the chicken is not sitting directly on the grill.
  5. Cook for around 1 hour and 10 minutes in a closed barbecue, basting with a little extra melted butter after the first 35 minutes (halfway point). To check if it is done, insert a skewer into the thickest part of the thigh. If the juice the comes out is clear, the chicken is cooked.
  6. Let the chicken rest for 5-10 minutes, then serve with lemon wedges.
Serves: 4-6

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