Clay's Kitchen : Chicken Recipes

Chicken Recipes

© Copyright 1995-2017, Clay Irving <>, Manhattan Beach, CA USA

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Beer Can Chicken

Recipe from:
Servings: 6

The recipe comes from a newspaper clipping and the cooking method sparked my curiosity. The chicken steams in a closed grill for about two hours and is very moist and tender with a subtle smoky flavor (no strong beer flavor at all) and the skin comes out brown and crisp. We would repeat this again.

1 ½ cups mesquite wood chips
1 whole chicken 4 to 5 pounds
3 ½ tablespoon Memphis rub
1 can, 12 ounce. beer

Memphis Rub (makes ½ cup):
¼ cup paprika
1 tablespoon. brown sugar
1 tablespoon. granulated sugar
2 teaspoon. salt
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 to 3 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Mix all the following: Store and seal tightly

If using a gas grill, remove upper warming rack (so it doesn't knock chicken down when lid is closed), set the grill for indirect (low) heat, place a foil pan directly beneath the chicken to catch the drippings, don't open and close the lid often .

Soak the wood chips in cold water for 1 hour and drain. Rinse chicken (remove any giblets etc.) with cold water inside and out and pat dry. Sprinkle the cavity of the chicken with 1 tablespoon of the dry rub and rub the outside of the chicken well with another tablespoon of the rub.

For gas grills place the wood in the smoker box and preheat to high . When smoke appears, lower heat to medium. For charcoal grill, bank coals to side of the grill and light. Coals are ready when coated with a light gray ash color.

For both types of grills place a drip pan in center just below where chicken will be placed.

Now open the beer can and poke 6 or 7 holes in the top of the can. Pour out the top inch of liquid and place in 1 tablespoon of the dry rub. Holding chicken upright with body cavity pointed down, insert the upright can of beer into the chicken.

Believe it or not, a beer can chicken roaster (to support the can of beer) is available for sale at this site:

When ready to cook: for the charcoal grill, drain the wood chips and toss half over the coals. Oil the grate and stand chicken up in center of hot grate over drip pan. Spread out legs to support the chicken. If using charcoal, add 10 to 12 fresh coals per side and the remaining wood chips after 1 hour of cooking. It takes about 2 hours for the covered chicken to cook either gas or charcoal.

Using tongs lift chicken to cutting board, holding large metal spatula under the beer can for support. Be careful not to spill the hot beer. Let chicken stand for 5 minutes before carving meat off the carcass.

Joan's Tips:
I used a 16 ounce. can of beer which was taller and offered more support. I covered the can (sides not top) with heavy duty aluminum foil because I worried about the color coming off the beer can into the chicken. I cut off any hanging excess fat from the chicken. I also used a smaller chicken, about 3 ½ pounds which cooked in 1 hour and 45 minutes. The chicken on the tall can was quite stable.

I used the gas grill and low heat setting after the grill was preheated to high. I placed a piece heavy duty foil (on top of the grates) with edges folded up to contain any drips and no other drip pan was used. I used long tongs to remove the chicken off the beer can directly from the grill. The chicken was very tender but lifted off easily . I opened the grill cover about a total 4 times during cooking to briefly check. To my surprise there was not a lot of drippings contained in the foil.

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