Beer can chicken is an essential – and incredibly easy – way to make roast chicken. Beer can chicken is a no fuss recipe that anyone can successfully make, and you will end up with super tender chicken.
I know that roasting a chicken can seem daunting, but once you learn how, it really is one of the easiest things to make! I absolutely love this recipe because it calls for just 4 ingredients, and it takes just 5 minutes of preparation time. You just need to plop the chicken over a half can of beer, slather it in butter, and sprinkle it with your favorite barbecue seasoning. Then you put the chicken in the oven to roast – and you just let it do its thing. No basting necessary. It doesn’t get much easier than this.
Lots of beer can chicken recipes involve cooking the chicken on the grill. Sure, you can do that, but then you will miss out on the opportunity to make delicious gravy from the pan drippings. I recommend cooking the chicken in a roasting pan in the oven instead.
The general gist of beer can chicken is that you slide the chicken over the can of beer. The moisture from the evaporating beer makes the chicken super tender.
I used a 4 pound chicken and it was just the right size to fit over the can and say upright. Charles and I are big beer lovers and I chose Revolution Brewing’s A Little Crazy for this beer can chicken. A Little Crazy is a Belgian-Style Pale Ale. Revolution is a Chicago-based brewery, it might not be available everywhere. I recommend picking a nice easy to drink pale ale or pilsner. Choose a beer that you love to drink.
I have a friend who will use a knife to slice the top off the beer can. That’s dangerous and unnecessary. Just crack open the beer, pour out half and drink it, and then slide the chicken over the can (it helps to have someone hold the can in place while you do this).
Since roasting an additional chicken requires very little extra effort, I like to roast two at once. Do this on a Sunday and you will feel like you really have your act together. Going into a fresh week with lots of food in the fridge is such a great feeling. You can eat one chicken as leftovers, put it in salads and sandwiches for the week, or transform the chicken into a completely different meal using one of these recipes.
If you are nervous at all about preparing a full chicken, the best advice that I can give you is to invest in an in-oven meat thermometer to that you can monitor the temperature of the chicken as it cooks. I have an iDevices thermometer and I love it because it has an app, and it will notify you when your chicken is done! It makes it pretty much impossible to over-cook your chicken.
How to make Beer Can Chicken:
Beer Can Chicken
- 1 Chicken
- 1/2 can of Beer I used Revolution Brewing's A Little Crazy
- 1 tablespoon of Butter at room temperature
- about 1 tablespoon of Barbecue Seasoning
- Heat your oven to 425 degrees, you may need to move your oven rack down so that there is room to cook the chicken standing upright. Then remove the chicken from the bag. If there are giblets in the inside of the cavity of the chicken, remove those (I just throw them away).
- Rinse the inside and outside of the chicken, and then pat it dry with paper towels. You need to pat the chicken dry, otherwise the butter won't really stick to the chicken.
- Pour out half of the beer. Place the half full can of beer in the center of a roasting pan. Slide the chicken over the can, making sure that it will balance upright.
- Next, slather the butter over the chicken. Then sprinkle the barbecue seasoning over the chicken.
- If you are using an in-oven thermometer, now is the time to insert it into the thickest part of the chicken, above the thigh.
- Place the chicken in the oven to roast. After 45 minutes check on the chicken and just make sure that the skin isn't getting to brown, tent it with foil if necessary.
- It will take about an hour and 15 minutes for the chicken to reach 165 degrees. At that point remove the chicken from the oven and let it rest while you prepare the gravy.
- To make the gravy, scrape up any of the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Then pour all of the drippings through a strainer and into a glass container. Set aside. In a small saucepan, melt a tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Once melted, whisk in a tablespoon of flour. Next, use a baster to suck up all of the juices below the line of fat that will rise to the top. Whisk in the juices and bring to a simmer and let thicken. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If the gravy is too thick, thin it with a bit of chicken broth.
- Carve the chicken and serve it with the gravy.
I used a 4 pound chicken and it was just the right size to fit over the can and say upright. Charles and I are big beer lovers and I chose Revolution Brewing's A Little Crazy for this beer can chicken. A Little Crazy is a Belgian-Style Pale Ale. Revolution is a Chicago-based brewery, it might not be available everywhere. I recommend picking a nice easy to drink pale ale or pilsner. Choose a beer that you love to drink.