Beer Can Chicken

In honour of T in the Park (which is taking place just up the road from me) I decided to finally tackle the legendary Beer Can Chicken.

Beer Can Chicken
Although it may appear a bit comical or obscene depending on your view, shoving a beer can in a chicken for cooking actually renders a very flavourful and juicy bird.
Basic Ingredients for Beer Can Chicken
 As this was my first attempt, I decided to keep things really simple. ( I did have to change the Tennents can/tin for a Heineken as my chicken to tin ration was all out of whack.  Fret not, it didn’t go to waste!)
Open both ends of beer can and drain/drink about half can
 This step is important – you must open the can/tin at both sides of the top to allow the steam to escape.  Of course I couldn’t find a church key to make a nice triangle, so I opted for a can opener for half the top and just pressed down with my thumb – be careful not to slice yourself…
Chicken #1 cooked in the oven
 In the name of research I wanted to try cooking  one chicken on the oven and one on the BBQ.  The one for the oven  was very straight forward – just pre-heat to 180 c/350 f and roast away for about an hour and 15-30 minutes.
Chicken #2 on the BBQ

The BBQ was another matter entirely.  It didn’t need to be but fate was not smiling on this endeavour.  First off, my chicken was plain old not cooperating by sitting neatly on its new perch.  As you are to cook this covered, with indirect heat for the hour plus, I had just wrestled my chicken into position when I realised that my wee  BBQ lid could not come close to shutting over my bird!

Alteration #1

 After a quick search for some tin foil to make a tent ( I was out) I grabbed my largest stock pot as a quick stand in.  Things were looking up for about 3 minutes when the Scottish Summer struck.  Anyone in the area  or who was hoping to see the start of the Scottish Open can appreciate just how fierce the newly arrived rain was on this evening.  It was lashing!!!
Needs Must – Alteration #2
 But I persevered…
Instant Read Thermometer – Get One!
 Now I know folks like to feel cheffy by learning where to poke on your fist or your chin to tell if meat is done, but I have a better suggestion.  Get an instant read thermometer!  They are available everywhere that sells kitchen stuff and come in Centigrade and Farenheit depending on your preference –  and guess what – it is what chefs are required to use by law on both sides of the Atlantic to record the temperature of a meal before it can be served to the public.  Particularly when it comes to chicken you don’t want to mess about so cook until the thermometer read 82.5 c/ 180 f in the thickest part of the thigh.

Left Rudder!

 Here are the results!  For ease, definitely go for the oven option.  It was golden brown, juicy and held on to the spice rub.  For sheer adventure, give the BBQ a try.  Maybe check the weather beforehand and if your lid won’t close over the chicken, take a bit of time before it is actually cooking to construct some sort of foil tent.  It did have a lovely grilled taste and (even after I finished it off in the oven after this picture as I couldn’t brave the elements again) the meat was juicy and tender.
A successful indoor picnic!
 We spread the old tartan blanket out in the living room, tuned in for the coverage of the concert and fully enjoyed our indoor picnic – all dry and cosy at last!
Beer Can Chicken

Beer Can Chicken


  • 1 chicken
  • 1 can of beer, half drained
  • Olive oil or butter
  • Spice mix


  1. Preheat oven to 200 c/400 f or BBQ to High
  2. Create an opening on both side of the beer can and drain/drink half the liquid
  3. Mix spices with oil or butter and rub over chicken
  4. Place beer can on a baking sheet and carefully place chicken over beer can.
  5. Cook for approximately 1 hour and 15 - 30 minutes depending on size of chicken (covered if on BBQ)
  6. Chicken is done when an instant read thermometer read 83 c/ 180 f in the thickest part of the thigh.

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