Although it looks vulgar, I’ve always wanted to cook beer can chicken. The technique is more than just a novelty, however, and actually helps moisten the meat. It’s also a fun way to use up beer residue. So the next time you get to the end of a can and find it warm, flat and undrinkable, think beer can chicken.
Beer cans are lined with a plastic liner made from Bisphenol-A (BPA). Cook’s Illustrated ran some tests to determine if it’s safe to cook with BPA residues and concluded that “the beer can cooking method is safe.” However, if you are concerned, I would suggest using a vertical roaster.
I wrote an oven roast recipe for simplicity, but if you have a grill with a lid I would encourage the adventure of grilling this dish outside: the flavor is enhanced by the fire and smoke.
While this may look like a can-can chicken, it’s much more than novelty. When carefully prepared, beer can chicken is tender, juicy, and flavorful—a hat-trick of deliciousness I want on my table. Cooking the bird upright allows the Maillard reaction to work its magic, browning it on every side and creating a perfect golden crust.
So next time you find some beer in a can, don’t throw it away! Use this technique to turn it into an impressive party dish. It’s debatable how much vapor the beer can actually provides, so I suggest pouring a little into the bowl to ensure there’s enough vapor to keep the chicken moist.
Season or marinate the meat the day before or at least four hours before cooking. Be sure to take the chicken out of the fridge four hours before cooking so it’s not too cold when you cook it. This shortens the cooking time and ensures a more even cooking. The back of the oven is hottest, so keep the chicken breast-facing most of the time, turning only when you need to continue browning the breast. This will help keep them moist.
I created a rub marinade using used coffee grounds, but you can of course fry the chicken with a little oil and sea salt before preparing it, or you can actually use whatever marinade you like.
Beer Cans Chicken
For the chicken
¼-⅓ x 500ml canned beer
1 whole chicken
For the used coffee grounds rub (optional)
2 tsp used coffee Found
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp smoked paprika powder
1 clove of garlicpeeled and crushed
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tablespoon syrup, maple syrup or honey
At least 3 hours before cooking, combine all rub ingredients (if using) and then massage into chicken, inside and out.
To cook, remove everything except the bottom rack from the oven and heat to 210C (190C fan forced) / 400F / Gas 6½. Season the chicken with sea salt and oil or your choice of marinade.
Take a heavy roasting pan or enamel dish and pour the beer into the center of the pan. Carefully lift the chicken onto the empty tin and slide the tray into the oven. Roast for 50-60 minutes until the juices run clear, then let sit for 15 minutes while you make a gravy out of the meat juices and leftover beer.