Beer Can Chicken – A Whole Lot of Left Hand Turns

Tonight we cook a chicken with a beer can shoved up its vag-hole, which Skillethead informs me is called a “cavity,” and also that I’m an “idiot.”

Beer Can Chicken


  • 6 tbsp. dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tbsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp. coarse black pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp. mustard powder
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 3-4 lb. whole chicken (giblets removed if necessary)
  • 1 12-oz. can beer
  • 4 peeled and smashed garlic cloves

This is some redneck shit if we’ve ever seen it, but the basic premise is that the liquid in the beer can will vaporize when heated and keep the bird moist while it cooks. Seems legit. Today is also the Daytona 500, so we thought it was a fitting tribute to rednecks everywhere. We were specifically interested in finding out:

  1. Does it seem juicier than the usual oven-roasting method?
  2. How much of a pain in the ass is it to balance the chicken on a beer can and then remove said can after cooking?

Start time 6:03 PM

Thanks to the wonderful world of hormones and GMOs, we couldn’t find anything smaller than a 5 lb. chicken:

The spice rub seemed pretty standard, aside from “1/2 tbsp. mustard powder.” What the hell kind of measurement is that? I kind of assume they mean ½ tsp, but we weren’t sure, so we just used a full teaspoon.

Rub: applied.



Skillethead’s pro-tip #1: Also rub the seasoning mix under the chicken skin and inside the cavity.

The recipe doesn’t specify what type of beer you should use. We went with what we had, which was Dale’s Pale Ale. You only need half a can; some recipes actually suggest that you “pour out the unneeded half” (hahahahahahaha! Yeah, we just drank it). The garlic goes into the beer.


B: Ok, so now we have to insert the can into its “cavity” and balance the chicken so it stands up on it.
S: I prefer the term “impale.”

The impaling was easier than we expected, but it requires two people. I wouldn’t recommend attempting this alone.

Skillethead’s pro-tip #2: Tuck the wings behind the chicken’s back so she looks sexy while she’s roasting:

S: It looks like it’s ready for a spa day!

We were too lazy/cheap to grill the thing. Propane is expensive, after all, so we just did it in the oven at 350 and checked it periodically with a meat thermometer. It should take about the same amount of time as grilling.

In the oven at 6:36 PM

As the Daytona 500 was over at this point, we decided to watch Jackass 3 while waiting for the chicken to cook.

 Out of the oven: 8:19 PM

Looks promising. We let it rest, and in the meantime made some roasted potatoes and Brussels sprouts to go with it.

B: Yeah I think the sprouts are done
S: Good, especially since I forgot they were in there and turned the oven off ten minutes ago

Removing the beer can without spilling the remaining liquid (it doesn’t all evaporate) was a bit of a challenge, but not too bad. Skillethead just grabbed the bird with a kitchen towel while I held the beer can with a pair of tongs and it came out pretty easily. Bonus points if you drink the hot, garlic-infused leftover beer (please don’t do that).

Verdict: Holy shit, you guys. This is the best chicken we’ve had in a good while. We make whole chickens in the oven fairly often (probably about 6 times a year). I’m anal retentive about crispy skin, so we usually follow what I refer to as the Julia Child method, which requires you to turn the chicken a bunch of times while it’s cooking to make sure it gets browned evenly, which is a pain in the ASS. Standing it up in the oven allows the skin to get crispy all over without having to constantly wrangle a screaming hot chicken carcass.

The bird came out super juicy. We can’t 100% say whether it was the beer or whether we just kept a very careful watch on things, but the beer was probably a contributing factor. The rub is also really good; it has a nice sweet/spicy/salty bbq flavor. We’ll definitely be making this again. Thank God for rednecks.


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