Beer Can Chicken



One recipe that I’ve been keen to try some time involves sticking a half filled can of beer into a chickens rear and roasting in the oven.
It’s not the thought of physically doing this that bothers me, but our useless oven which has a habit of smoking out the kitchen if we roast anything outside of a cast iron pot with a tightly secured lid.

I thought I would break with tradition and try it anyway using a can of Pistonhead Breweries – Amber Lager in its 330ml form. Perfect for stuffing in a chicken and keeping it propped up and easy to get hold of from our local Tesco.
The idea is that the can heats up from within the chicken, producing steam which helps to keep the meat moist and tender once fully cooked through.

Through a couple of ideas online, I decided to pack all sorts of spices onto the chicken to produce a dry rub which would roast into the chicken imparting a range of awesome flavours and aromas.

The good news is that the chicken cooked up perfectly and the kitchen was a smoke free zone. My wife and I were very pleased with the result.

Here is what I came up with – Don’t forget to check the jus idea out at the end.

Beer Can Chicken

  • Whole Free Range Chicken
  • 330ml Can of beer

Dry Spice Rub

  • 1 Tablespoon of Smoked Paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon of Fennel Seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon of Coriander Seeds
  • 1 Teaspoon of Cumin Seeds
  • 1 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • 2 Dried Chillies
  • 1 Tablespoon of Brown Sugar (Muscovado)
  • 1 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon of Pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C and move the rack to its lowest position in the oven.
  2. Bring all of the spice rub ingredients together. Using a pestle & mortar, grind everything until you have a fine yet fragrant mixture.
  3. Douse the chicken in oil then proceed to rub the dry spice rub into all nooks and crannies.
  4. Pour half the beer into a glass (Chef’s treat) retaining the other half in the can and place in a baking tray.
  5. Remove any string from the chicken to open its back end cavity as wide as possible. Push the chicken over the can and widen the legs to balance it out.
    Use scrunched up foil balls if you need to prop the chicken up (I did).
  6. Pop in oven and cook until the chicken has reached a minimum temperature of 160°C.
    To calculate the roasting time, I use Karl’s Roast Calculator and achieve a perfect roast every time.
  7. With the chicken fully cooked, place on a chopping board or plate, wrap in foil and allow to sit for 20 minutes.
    Use this sitting time to cook up some additional veg or sides.
  8. Carve up the chicken and serve.

Taking It One Step Further

The left over juices from the chicken, the assortment of spices as well as the liquid left in the can are a gold mine of flavour.

To really take things to the next level, I brought the baking tray to a boil on the hob and whisked in the juice of one lime, crumbled in one vegetable stock cube and allowed things to reduce to form a thick and powerful jus.
I spooned this over the chicken and some additional roasted vegetables where I achieved the most amazing and complex flavour.

The lime is important here as it really helps to cut through the saltiness of the resulting jus and makes it far more palatable. A lemon would work just as well too.


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