Beercan Chicken

Beercan Chicken

The great debate, does beer can chicken actually work or is it a fad? We put it to the test by cooking it along side a roast chicken. Of course, I could have used a spatched-cock chicken but that’s for another time.

Serves: 4

Allergens: MILK, WHEAT(beer)

Time: 1-1.5hours

BBQ Used: Monolith Le Chef Ceramic


1.6Kg Whole Chicken
125g Unsalted Butter – softened
1/2 Shallot – diced
1 Garlic Clove – minced
1/8 TSP Cayenne Pepper
1/2 TSP Smoked Paprika

1TBSP Tarragon – chopped
1TSP Salt
2 Red Onions – peeled and cut lengthwise into quarters
1TBSP Vegetable Oil
1 440ml Beer Can (I’ve used a Love Hate IPA but use your own preferred beer)


1. In a medium bowl, using a rubber spatula, mix the butter with the tarragon, shallot, garlic, lime zest, lime juice, salt, cayenne and smoked paprika.

Note: the herbs and spices can be changed to your own liking or you could use your favourite chicken rub.

2. Firstly, locate the wishbone which is a V shaped bone at the neck end just under the meat. With a sharp knife, score the bone either side to loosen it from the breast and gently twist and pull it out.

3. Carefully loosen the skin of the chicken with your fingers (you can use gloves if you prefer). Spread about 2/3 of the seasoned butter under the skin. You can use your hands or a spoon using the skin to remove the butter and then push the butter up under the skin.

Note: Using a piping bag makes it a less messy job.

4. Rub the remaining butter all over the outside of the chicken. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.

5. Set the grill/smoker for indirect cooking and preheat to 200C.

6. Toss the red onions with the vegetable oil and salt in a disposable tin foil tray.

7. Open the can of lager and set in the centre of the tray.

8. Stand the chicken upright on the can and place in the centre of the cooker. Baste the bird occasionally with the pan juices, for about 1 hour, or until a thermometer inserted in the inner thigh registers 70C.

Note: the chicken will continue to cook after being removed from the grill.

9. Remove the tray and tent the chicken with foil. Let rest for 15 minutes.

Note: Tenting is placing a loose piece of tin foil over the top.

10. Carefully transfer the chicken to a carving board and discard the beer can.

11. Carve the chicken, season with flaky salt and serve with the onions and lime wedges.

My Opinion on the Cook

The whole point of this cook was to actually find out if ‘Beer Can Chicken’ worked, did it impart the beer flavour on the meat or is it a fad. You can see from the video I removed some of the beer (100g) from the can to make less volume. It then weighed in at 348g, but after the cook it was down to 315g! Did the chicken actually taste of beer? I used a high strength IPA beer which had a lovely tropical taste, and yes it did come through in the chicken. An observation to the great minds that have already experimented, is that their oven temperature was not as high. It is normally recommended that the beer can chicken is cooked at 160C, however, I did this cook at 200C. Would I do it again? Yes, but I would remove more of the beer from the can before the cook as that quantity is not required as I had to discard what was left. An alternative method would be to mix a few tablespoons of beer into the butter or use it in your BBQ sauce. Whichever way you prefer, just enjoy it and happy Q’ing

Beercan Chicken on Monolith Le Chef
Beercan Chicken Sliced
Roast Chicken
Cook Graph from BBQ Guru UltraQ

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