Sunday, April 29, 2012

Chicken Dinner: Best chicken you ever ate--Beer-Butt Chicken

Normally I have a little western history here, but today we're going redneck.   Yes, for all you culturally deprived people out there, here's how you cook ...
Beer-Butt Chicken

First of all, why would anyone want to prepare chicken this way?  Because the fat drips out but the meat is the tastiest, most moist chicken you ever ate.  Not only that, it seems to entertain the kids--little boys seem to be fascinated with the prospect of shoving a can of beer up the backside of a chicken.  They're all too happy to help, and to eat it when it's done.  Every single kid had seconds!  Not bad for a bunch of picky eaters. 

If that isn't reason enough, then think about the leftovers.  Beer-Butt Chicken makes absolutely exquisite enchiladas, sandwiches to die for, and heavenly chicken salad.  You just can't lose.  So I'm going to tell you how to prepare it, if you haven't already been introduced to this wondrous method.

First of all, I bought a couple racks called The Chick Can Rack.  You don't have to have a rack, but I'm not into things tipping over, especially hot things.

You have to have a good-sized grill with a lid.  A dinky grill won't do because once you stand the chicken up on a  can of beer, it can be nearly 14" tall, so you need that much clearance inside there.  And briquets.  No, we don't use gas but I suppose you could.  You'll also need some long tongs, some good potholders, and a tray or two, and a toothpick. 

Down to Business
Now that you've got all that stuff, we'll prepare the bird.  Um, I don't use measuring cups or spoons, so precise measurements won't be found here. I just cook. 

You'll need:
  • 1 good-sized roasting chicken
  • 1 standard-size can of your favorite beer
  • Rub for the chicken

There are quite a few ways on the internet about how to make Beer-Butt Chicken, so google it if you don't think you'll like the spices I use.

  • Dollop of olive oil, maybe 1/4 cup or less
  • 3 or 4 tablespoons of minced garlic (we use more)
  • Enough taco seasoning to make it into a paste (maybe 1/2 cup--I buy it at Costco and just keep dumping and stirring until its right
  • Let sit for at least an hour before use.

You'll also need a lemon or lime.

The standard thing--take out the giblets and neck, rinse the chicken inside and out, then dry it.

Drink half the can.  ONLY half.  You need half for the chicken! 
Place the half-full can in the rack

Now you're ready for business
  • Make sure the cavity is free of fat.   Pull it down, but not off. 
  • Insert the chicken cavity over the can and rack, and wiggle it down until its stable. 
  • Rub the whole chicken with a quarter of a lemon or lime. 
  • Smear the rub all over the chicken.  This is messy but go for it.  Don't forget the armpits and such.  Smear it everywhere. 
  • Put the quarter lemon or lime in the neck cavity, pull the skin over it, and seal with a toothpick. 

Fire up the coals, baby, we're ready to cook some chicken!  I admit that I turn over this part to our outdoor grill specialist, Mr. R.  He tells me you must use indirect heat, so arrange the coals around the chicken, not directly under.  Close the lid and only open it to check the coals every 15 minutes or so.  Chicken takes about 75 to 90 minutes to cook.  If you're a thermometer kind of cook, google "beer butt chicken" and you'll find some temperatures.  We don't own a thermometer so don't worry about it.

But here's the deal, once the chicken is done and removed from the grill, you have to let it cool for at least five minutes and preferrably ten minutes before you remove the chicken from the can and rack.  If you're impatient, I can pretty much guarantee you'll get a burn or scald.  Go do the crossword puzzle or read a scene or two of one of my books.

Then, carve up and chow down.  I'm telling you, this is good food!

We have two winners!
Congratulations to
Sandy & Caroline
who each won her choice of these books from
Linda LaRoque:
Coming May 16:
A Love of His Own



  1. I've never tried to make chicken this way but have hear about it. People say it is good and maybe I should try for myself.

  2. Yes! Give it a try, Savannah. I love chicken fixed this way because it's moist but not greasy, and so tender it falls off the bone.

  3. Now I'm hungry for chicken. Sounds yummy.

  4. On FB, it was suggested that you can use soft drinks as well. The meat will be sweeter. I'm prefer savory to sweet, but if some people might like to try it.

  5. Jacquie, that made me so hungry! I've heard of this chicken but didn't know how to prepare it.

    If I'm the Caroline mentioned above, I'll take A MARSHAL OF HER OWN.

    Thanks for your great recipe.


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