Chasing Delicious | Beer-Can Chicken, Texas Style
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Beer-Can Chicken, Texas Style

I’m going to be honest. I intended for this entire post to be one big joke. What it turned into is anything but a joke. In fact, I am ashamed to admit that by sodomizing a chicken with a beer can my life has changed, my views altered, a cherry popped forever. What was meant as a joke turned into one of the absolutely most delicious meals I have had in a long time. My facetious foray into a southern delicacy yielded a chicken so moist, full of flavor and all around deceivingly delicious that I am nearly speechless about this experience. And I promise I’m not just saying this because I was a tiny bit drunk off of bad Texas beer.

You see, it all started this past weekend, Pride weekend. I indulged generously in pride, going as far as to bake rainbow cookies, sharing them with you here at Chasing Delicious. The joke would be all about my concerted effort to juxtapose the gay cookies with this not so gay chicken recipe–yes I am well aware of the irony in calling a recipe in which a beer can is forcible inserted into the anus of a bird not gay, but find me one gay guy who has made this recipe and I will stop calling it the straightest recipe out there. So, first I make rainbow cookies, and then I make the straightest recipe out there all so we can all come back here and laugh as I share my experience.  I thought it would be a tongue-in-cheek chance to chastise this strange tradition. Instead I’ve been converted. I am a true believer. Beer-Can Chicken could be, with out a doubt, one of the best ways to prepare chicken out there.

Seriously. This is no joke. If you haven’t done it, then you need to. If you have, then you are probably reading this, nodding in agreement, and saying out loud, “he’s right, beer-can chicken is so fucking good.” Your wife may then respond from the other room, “did you say something Robert?” to which you will excitedly reply, “Julie, get in here! This cooking gay guy is writing about our favorite way to grill chicken. He does it too!” Ok maybe not. But if you’ve done it you know how good it is.

Of course, I wasn’t going to shove just any old beer inside a chicken. Even if the meal was going to be for a tongue-in-cheek post, I wanted to ensure my best odds at a delicious meal. I chose Shiner Bock, a Texas lager considered to be a favorite amongst many texans; it is a sweet, lightly hoppy beer that I felt would work well in this application. I also couldn’t just put a beer can alone in the cavity, despite nearly every recipe I found using only the beer, salt and pepper to flavor the bird. I decided to put some herbs–rosemary, thyme and parsley–, some lemon slices, and a little onion and garlic in the cavity too. I felt these extra flavors would help impart more flavor in the chicken. Spoiler alert: they absolutely do!

Like most recipes I researched suggested, I grilled the bird over indirect heat. This lead to a fairly slow–but not bbq slow–cooking process with a time equal to that of roasting a bird in the oven (15 minutes at 425 then 7 minutes for every pound plus 30 minutes at 350); my 4lb chicken took 1 hour and 15 minutes as I did my best to regulate the heat in the grill at about 350F (it started off quite a bit hotter).

What I got when the chicken was done was a juicy, deliciously savory and slightly sweet chicken with a perfectly golden brown crispy crust. Every bite left me wondering how an idea so seemingly simple and idiotic could produce such great results. Seriously. How is this possible? I kind of want to just hit the backspace key, delete all of this and replace it with a warning for you to get away from this recipe. I mean let’s face it, you’re sticking beer up a chicken’s butt. It’s just so damn good though. Impossibly good. Like, don’t tell my gay friends this is what I do in my spare time good. Crap. Does this mean I’m going to start hunting soon?

Beer-Can Chicken, Texas Style

Ingredients
  4 lb chicken
  1 can beer of your choice
  Handful fresh rosemary sprigs
  Handful fresh thyme sprigs
  Handful fresh parsley
  1/2 lemon sliced thinly
  1/2 small onion quartered
  3 garlic cloves smashed
  Salt & pepper to taste 

Instructions
 1. Prepare and Heat your grill. You'll want to start hot (425F) and
    letthe grill settle to a cooler temp (350F) during cooking.
 2. Set a beer out to get to room temperature.
 3. Prepare the chicken. Clean and dry the bird. Rub salt and pepper
    inside the cavity of the bird. Then put the lemon, onion, garlic,
    and parsley inside the cavity. 4. Open the beer and pour half into a cup and set aside.
    With half the beer in the can, pierce two more holes in the top
    of the can. Then stick some some of the herbs in the can.
    Lay the rest of the herbs on top of the can.
 5. If you have a handy beer can stand made for this recipe, put the
    can inside the stand and then slip the bird on top of the can.
    If you don't have a stand have no fear. You can slide the bird
    onto the can and using its legs as a tripod it should stand just
    fine.
 6. Rub olive oil and then salt, pepper, chopped rosemary and thyme
    on the skin of the bird.
 7. Put the chicken with the beer can inside the cavity on the grill
    making sure that it is not over a flame or hot coals. Cooking
    over indirect heat will create a more moist bird.
 8. Close the lid and set your timer. A 4lb bird will take 1 hour and
    15 minutes. Do your best to regulate the temperature at 425F for
    the first 15 minutes and 350F for the remaining hour. *see notes
 9. If using charcoal, be prepared to add more coals half way through
    the cooking time to keep the grill at 350F.
 10. Baste the chicken with the remaining beer every 30 minutes or so.
 11. Check for doneness after an hour and 15 minutes (or earlier if
    your grill runs hot) by making sure the juices run clear from
    the thigh. The temperature of the thigh should be about 170F
    when checked with a meat thermometer.
 12. When done, let the bird rest 10 minutes before cutting.

There you have it, a simple enough recipe that takes about the same time to cook as it does when oven roasting a chicken. I served the chicken along with some grilled corn (wrap husked corn in foil along with olive oil, salt, pepper, and some chopped parsley, thyme and rosemary; cook on the grill for the last 15 minutes alongside the chicken).

Notes on propane grilling: If using a propane grill it will be a lot easier to manage the temperature as you have some handy dials to move around if it is too hot or too cold. Heat the grill over high heat with all burners on. Add the chicken putting it on one side. Close the lid and turn those burners on that side off, leaving the other side on. Check the temperature of the grill in 15 minutes and adjust the two remaining burners as needed.

Notes on charcoal grilling: If using a charcoal grill you will need to pay a little more attention to the cooking process. You are also most likely going to need to add hot coals later in the cooking process. First, heat the charcoals in a pyramid in the center of the grill (or in a chimney starter) and let them turn white and red. If your grill is large, move the coals to one side, if it is a smaller grill, move the charcoals around the outside for the grill, so that there is an area in the center without charcoals. Add the chicken to the area with no coals while the coals are still very hot (you should only be able to hold your hand above the grill for 2 or 3 seconds). Depending on the number of coals, the grill should cool to 300 or 325 if unchecked in about 45 minutes to an hour. Prepare more hot coals in a chimney starter or in a pan. As soon as you can hold your hand over the grate for 5 or more seconds, add the hot coals around the outside or to the side with the coals. I added hot coals at about the 50 minute mark, letting it cook another 25 minutes. You can also keep an oven thermometer in the grill if that is easier than the hand method.

Again, I definitely suggest trying this recipe. I am a bit dumbfounded I am suggesting this, but I am. We dove in and couldn’t keep our hands off this delicious bird.

This may even be a perfect July 4th Weekend recipe. Enjoy!

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AUTHOR - Russell van Kraayenburg

Founder of Chasing Delicious, and author of Haute Dogs, Russell's works have been featured in Southern Living, Men's Fitness, Redbook, TRADHome, and Real Simple magazines and on various sites including Lifehacker, Fast Co., Business Insider, The Kitchn, Live Originally, Quipsologies, Explore, and Fine Cooking. Follow Russell on Twitter @rvank and Instagram. Get more delicious @chasedelicious.

31 Comments

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  • Jennifer @ Licious Food

    Yummy! I still haven’t had the pleasure to try Beer Chicken … I think I will have to fix that.

  • spiceblogger

    Yep. They’re good that way. ;)
    Yours turned out beautifully! Looks succulent and delish!

  • Maureen

    I am pissing myself laughing!

    I have often read about but never done beer can chicken. Can I ever “shove a beer can up a chicken’s butt” without thinking of you?

    Please come to Australia and cook for us? Aww. just come and talk to me. You make me laugh.

    This chicken looks fantastic!

    • Russell

      I’m glad you enjoyed this post : ) I had fun with it. And I would love to come out there to cook or chat! If only I had the funds.

      Thanks again!!

  • amanda stevens

    hahahahaha! I’ve made this before! I always called it beer-butt chicken.

    • Russell

      I should have called it beer-butt chicken! And I have to admit I’m a bit surprised you’ve made this before. Suddenly I want to BBQ with you.

  • Michael Toa

    Oh Russell… You’re too funny. I’m laughing my ass off at the airport reading how you sodomized the chicken. I’m must try this recipe soon. Looks utterly delicious. On my way back form a vacation and cannot wait to read the posts I missed. Have a great one!

    • Russell

      Haha, I’m glad you were entertained! You should definitely try it. It is not only fun, but quite scrumptious. I hope your trip was great too!

  • Joan Nova

    Clever post! And your blog looks great.

  • Christine

    Great post. Food looks good.

  • Deborah Dowd

    I had no idea that beer can chicken could be even funnier. I have made this before, though not Texas style,and it is delicious- almost as delicious as reading this post!

  • Parsley Sage

    Hot stuff. I grew up on beer-raped chicken. Glad you’ve discovered its brilliance :) Buzzed

  • The Mom Chef ~ Taking on Magazines One Recipe at a Time

    Wow, I can see how tender and fall-off-the-bone that chicken is from the pieces on the board. We’ve always been a fan of beer can chicken, even though I do wince ever time I shove the unsuspecting fowl on the can. Of course, there is no way to make a whole chicken look anything but obscene. Try butterflying one sometime. Downright embarrassing.

  • Sasha

    I love your intro to this post. LOL
    This chicken sounds incredible. I don’t have a grill but fully intend to use this technique for roasting. Thanks!

  • PolaM

    And just like that beer can chicken went to the top of my to try bbq recipes! It looks awesome!!

  • Cindy Waffles

    lol! Great post. You call it beer can chicken… it’s always been known as beer butt chicken to me. It’s so delicious. I’ve never made it Texas Style. Only roasted in the oven like this: http://www.lookytasty.com/2009/04/13/beer-butt-chicken/

  • Diane Cosby

    I love your funny as much as I love beer butt chicken!! Here in Indiana we have made it for years and agree with you……once you get past the, ” can up the ass ” vision and taste the succulent “end” result, ha ha!! You are sold………We went away and didn’t cook this 4th so this is especially appealing to me.

    For another twist, drink a little better than the half can of beer instead of pouring it into a cup. Then pour about 3-4 oz. of your favorite BBQ sauce in the beer can along with the beer and swirl it gently before inserting it you know where!! This really does add additional flavor to the chicken. We will watch for your further adventures and look forward to your good humor. We all can use it I feel sure. So thank You.

    • Russell

      Thank you very much! Thanks for the suggestion too. I am definitely going to have to try that next time I make this.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  • Anne

    Russell! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post! I love your tongue in cheek sense of humor, and your candor, too! I recently had friends who participated in Pride Week here in DC. One, in particular, my supervisor at work, would LOVE this recipe! I have heard of this recipe before, but have never attempted it! But that chicken looks amazing! And that corn! I’ve had some good recipes that resulted really as a mistake. But this post was just too enjoyable! Thanks for sharing your good humor and a great recipe! : )

    • Russell

      Thank you very much! You should try it some time. It may be a bit strange but it is so worth it.

      Thanks again for stopping by and for the kind words!

  • Veronica Gantley

    What a great way to use up all the herbs. I have made beer can chicken. Making it with the beer in the rear makes it extra moist and delish!
    What, no pictures of the rainbow cookies?

  • janet@fromcupcakestocaviar

    For a chicken that was forcibly molested, it looks pretty damn tasty :-D

  • Happy When Not Hungry

    This chicken looks amazing! Love the recipe. Your photos are beautiful too!

  • Dana Salvo

    Oh Yum! Looks gorgeous. Buzzz :)

  • Lindsey@Lindselicious

    I have a Beer Can Chicken holder thing – basically a stand for the grill and a space to place the beer can! LOL my friend had given it to me with a recipe book of just beer can recipes. I think we only used it a couple times- but your pics have me wanting it again!

  • Susie

    Your post is hilarious!!! I have never attempted a beer can chicken although I have had many friends swear by it and say how awesome it taste. It’s so rare to have sunshine in Seattle I actually don’t own a grill but feel like I should just so I can make some beer can chicken.

  • Adora's Box

    That chicken does indeed look fantastic. I will certainly try sitting the chicken on a beer can next time.

  • Skylar

    I was the same way before I tried beer can chicken. Now it’s pretty much the only way I will roast a chicken in the summer. Nice job!

  • Chrissy

    I’ve been meaning to make this forever now, and your post just gave me the inspiration that I needed. I am putting this on the menu for next week :)

  • Tori

    I had this chicken for the first time today. Not only was it tender and flavorful but it was cooked for me by one of your greatest fans. Thanks for this wonderful treat.

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