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Harbor_Pilot 07-20-2007 09:02 PM

Beer-Butt Chicken

One whole chicken, about 3 pounds (Use what you have)

Seasoning for One Chicken

1/8 teaspoon cayenne (Use less if you do not like spicy foods)

1/2 tablespoons sweet paprika (I use more)

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoons chili powder (Use less if you don't like spicy foods)

1/2 tablespoon brown sugar (I use more)

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

12-ounce can beer (Soda pop can if desired - e.g. Coke, Root Beer any desired flavor)

1/2 small onion, diced

1 clove garlic, diced

An eight of a teaspoon is a dash, a shake from the shaker, a thumb nail full; just a little.

In a small bowl, combine paprika, chili powder, oregano, salt, pepper, cayenne, garlic powder and brown sugar; mix well.

Rub about 1 teaspoon of the mixture on the inside of the chicken. Rub remaining mixture over the surface of the chicken.

Open beer and pour off about half of the beer. (I usually drink it.>/biggrin.gif )

(For this recipe the can of beer or pop does not need to be cold; it is going to get hot.)

Stuff the onion and garlic into the can.

Ease the chicken over the beer can, feet down, until the chicken is resting on the can and their legs.

(Using a pan with water under the chickens is a good idea - if you don't - the chickens can catch on fire real fast!!)

The beer can and chicken must remain upright at all times.

Scatter a handful of soaked hickory chips over hot charcoal that has ashed over. Place chicken and beer can on the grill over the fire. Close lid, leaving vents open. Grill about 2 hrs or until legs and wings wiggle easily, adding 6 to 8 briquettes to fire every 30 minutes. Makes 3-4 servings per 3 lb bird.

~ ~ ~

COMMNETS and OBSERVATIONS From a guy (me) that made and makes this often, with many variations of spices and canned beer or soda pop, or canned vegetable juices:

I usually make this on a Weber Gas Grill, leaning the chicken against the elevated warming wire rack.

Your heat source is adaptable. It does not have to be Charcoal, it could be gas, or wood. Outdoors would be best.

The KEY to this recipe is oven-like cooking {Covered}; PLUS an internal source of humidity, from with in the poultry. It does not have to be chicken, the recipe applies to poultry.

Can VS Bottle - Can is short and stout. Bottle sticks out the snout / neck; defeating the purpose of the internal humidity with flavors. Use a can, any can, a tin can.

Who ever thought of stuffing a can of beer full of spices inside a chicken must be creative, and was likely drinking beer at the time. Still it works, very good.

This is a recipe to play with, and adjust to your tastse's, and what you have at hand: beer, soda pop, vegetable juice, citrus juice, juice; which I have done, ALL come out a bit differant, but good. Wine works also. Use a container fit the bird.



daytrader 07-23-2007 07:23 AM

You almost did it right.

I am from the midwest. We grill this way all the time. We even smoke turkeys this way. Deep fried turkey is much easier.

First you get a washer game going. You have to play washers while grilling in Souther Illinois. Its a law.

Then you get the grill ready.

The chicken dosn't matter. You can rub or do what ever you do with your chicken. Dosn't matter.

You use half a can of warm beer. You add ALL flavors to the can. You then place the chicken over the can on the grill at VERY low heat.

The idea is to flavor the chicken from the inside out with slow low heat. Some folks like hot wings were the skin is hot. We make hot chicken.

The meat should have the flavor, not the skin. If you want very hot chicken you add very hot peppers to the beer can. This will steam up and cook the flavor into the meat. The beer is the mositure sending unit. The flavor is added to the can.

Try this and tell me it dosn't work.

Now, you have to play washers. That is key. If you do not know what washers is. Let me know.

daytrader 07-24-2007 12:12 AM

This is a great game. Fun to play and easy equipment.

Around here. If you are grilling. You ar eplaying washers.

xescuy 07-24-2007 12:02 PM

this thing sounds great

Just looking for a bit of input from someone who already tried it ...

Can a regular oven be used for this instead of a BBQ ?


Raz out

Harbor_Pilot 07-24-2007 04:44 PM


I lost count of how many times I made chicken this way, and obviously Day Trader has made many also. Although he suggests putting all the spices in the can, I like to put the rub on the outside of the bird, as it provides a nice appearance, as well as imparting a flavor from the outside, as well as the herbs, and spices in the can, permeating outwards. It is the liquid in the can that causes the bird to come out juicy tender, never dry. It provides a steam bath of sorts, but full of flavor.

I see no reason why this could not be made in an oven, as a closed grill effectively cooks like an oven. Although there are two important things to consider:

* Keeping the bird and the can upright at all times. If it tips, you will have a big mess to contend with, plus you have to make up for the lost liquid. You will not be a happy camper. There are all sorts of devices on the market, to help keep the chicken vertical, neck up; some are wire, some are cast iron. Do a search for Beer Can Chicken Rack and Beer Butt Chicken Rack with and with out the word rack. In the US, you will find these devices at your favorite home building center, (e.g. Home Depot, Lowes, Menard's - find the grills, look in the grill accessories area), at many hardware stores, and at all the large chain stores, (e.g. Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Target). If you are a handyman - do-it-yourselfer, and so inclined you can build your own rack.

* You need to have a pan under the bird, as it will drip juices and fat. Whole Chicken with skin on has a lot of fat in and under the skin. In the cooking process a fair amount of the fat turns to a liquid state. I would venture a fair guess, some of it is absorbed by the meat, but a very large amount does drip out. In the grill, that easily catches on fire. If it does you will have bad results, burnt bird, especially if you did not notice it happening. If you did notice it, and tried to extinguish said bird on fire, water on a grease fire does not work very well. If you used a fire extinguisher, the bird becomes wasted bird. Always use a pan under the bird, to catch the drippings. I always put a little water in it, which provides more moisture, and prevents a pan full of fat, that also can catch fire. A little water? .....about as wide as your thumb is.


One could skin the chicken, and remove the main fat and fire source. I have never done this as I think it would turn out dry, and with less than desirable results.

Drip pans:

* Do get messed up. You may mess up your favorite pan. You do not have to.

* They are difficult to clean up, and sometimes it is not worth the effort.

I have a variety of them. (I grill and smoke a lot, three times a week on average, year round, even in the winter in northern climates.) I just dedicate some pans as drip pans.

If you only need them on rare occasion, buy them in the grocery store, in packs of one, two, or three. Effective, but on the costly side, if purchase regularly.

If you do what I do, shop wholesalers, restaurant supply stores, or at Sam's or Costco, get the commercial packages of 12-24. Well that is what I use to do.

Now, I am changing my ways to another option is stainless steel steam table insert pans. Those are the pans you see in the buffet lines. They come in all shapes and sizes. Google "steam table insert pan". You can line them with aluminum foil, to simplify clean up. When the get crusty and disgusting or you feel a need to clean them to a better state, you can use oven cleaner, a wire brush, a belt sander with fine grit paper, a rotary brush in a drill, and make them shine like new again. Drip pans do not have to shine, just catch drips. Although some restaurant supply stores have commercial accounts only, most sell to anybody.

Try it, and let us know the results.


daytrader 08-05-2007 12:57 AM

Harbor Pilot. Have you ever done any deep fried turkeys? They are great.

We do not do the rub here. Some folks like the skin to be flavored. Ithink it is just a personal prefrance.

We also make hot chicken strips like this. We use habonaro peppers in the can. The chicken is then cut up after it is cooked and tender loin and breast cuts are breaded then fried.

It is very hot meat. Very spicy.

Nausikaa 08-06-2007 09:24 AM


Originally Posted by daytrader (Post 11213)
Have you ever done any deep fried turkeys? They are great.

My cardiologist will go balistic if reads this.

No Dr. Basil, I will not be trying this even if it tastes great.



Peter Owen 08-06-2007 10:12 AM

I seem to remember a French "steam roasting" method which probably gives simlar results.

The chicken is dressed inside and out with whatever spices and herbs meet your fancy before being placed on a trivet in a roasting tin (with a lid) containing a centimetre or so of water - a large casserole dish might do - before being placed placed in a medium/hot oven.

When you feel comfortable that the chicken is (fully cooked) to your liking, remove the lid, optionally salt the skin to taste and raise the heat enough to brown/crisp it - this may have already started as the water disappears. If you're so inclined, you can then use the contents of the roasting tin to make a very tasty gravy - or should I say jus!.

Bon appetite!

Harbor_Pilot 08-09-2007 05:25 PM


Originally Posted by daytrader (Post 11213)
Harbor Pilot. Have you ever done any deep fried turkeys? They are great.

We do not do the rub here. Some folks like the skin to be flavored. I think it is just a personal prefrance.


I built a mobile kitchen truck, and successfully operated it as a concession and catering business, for 4 years. Later I studied to become a personal chef, and became a member of the US Personal Chefs Association (USPCA). I am a chef. I still have the business, which has been commercially licensed in 3 states. Since moving here, I am not currently operating it, and not sure I want to. I am considering selling the business.

I served food, on location from the county fair, to auctions sales, to rodeos, to fishing and baseball tournaments, rock concerts, weddings, forest fire-fighters, a FEMA flood recovery operation, to a VA Hospital Christmas Party. My business was to bring my kitchen, and all supporting equipment required, with adequate staff, to your location, and feed some times thousands of people, very fast and very well, in a fashion applicable to the event. A rodeo in the corral, is a bit differant that a wedding. Just about any event has one thing in common, the window of oppurtunity, or when people eat. All people usually eat around the same time, or within a window of time. At many events like a wedding reception, or a banquet, they all want to eat at the same time, or within minutes of eat other. It is normal, it is expected.

Yes I have deep-fried many turkeys, with and without a rub, usually with excellent results (**). I found that using a rub tends to contaminate the oil much quicker. Whatever spices, herb, or seasonings one uses, seems to float off, and also is deep-fried. In time the residue turns to, burnt matter, basically carbon. The oil deteriorates quicker, gradually turning darker and darker. I have a cone strainer, a stainless wire cone shaped holder, with matching cone shape filters, similar to coffee filters, but designed for oil. Using it to strain the oil regularly helps prolong the life. Also throwing fresh springs of parsley in the hot oil each time one is done cooking helps remove the accumulation of odors. Skim the fried parsley out of the oil, and toss it.

** Once I used a rub with a high Paprika content, which tends to darken any meat. I happened to overcook the turkey, and it came out "Black". The wing tips, and any thin edges were crisp as burnt toast. Some how I misjudged something, time, temperature, or weight of the bird. It was so done, so crisp, the front and back half of the turkey snapped in half, when I took it off the hanger device one lowers it into the oil with. I was sure I wrecked it. After I started removing the outer extra crispy skin, I discovered the meat inside was very tender and juicy. Yes I wasted some of it, but was most pleasantly surprised, and amazed at the good results. Well, I never made one like that again, by accident or on purpose.


My cardiologist will go balistic if reads this.
I have no statistics to quote, but the oil absorbed by the bird is very minimal. It is not as it sounds, or many assume it is.

It is best to use oil with a high flash point. Usually Peanut oil is the recommended oil, which costs 2 1/2 to 3 times that of Soybean oil. I usually use Canola oil, costing a little more than Soy, with better health characteristics.

The last turkey I deep-fried was 6 months ago. Since, I smoked 4 of them. Starting with a frozen 12-14 lb bird that is a 3 1/2 day procedure, 2 days to thaw, 12 hours in brine, 12 hours to cure, 12 hours in the smoker, which takes maybe an hour and half of actual time, in little increments, but at critical times. I am not opposed to deep-frying a turkey, but we like the smoking results better, it is safer (in reference to a potential oil fire), easier, less work, less mess, and faster, in my opinion.

Five Turkeys, in 6 months for two people! That is a lot of Turkey. One would think we love and subsist on primarily turkey. In every case, I was feeding many people for some occasion. Recently it was our contractor crew. Buying them on-sale, turkey is perhaps the least expensive source of protein derived from meat there is, at least here. My contractor liked the smoked turkey so much he requested I make one for his family. He bought the turkey and I did it for free.

I would never attempt or recommend deep-frying a turkey on a boat, with the open flame, hot oil, and potential vessel movement. That is asking for disaster. Take it up on the beach.


Harbor_Pilot 08-09-2007 07:49 PM

So if I get minor-ly irritated over comments such as:


You almost did it right.
Or down grading "Seafood Linguine" with an 8-12 cent pack of Ramen noodles, please try to understand why.

Saying I almost did it right, is the same as saying I have it wrong; a cause for irritation.

Various versions of the Beer Butt Chicken recipe are available all over the Internet. I prepared it countless times, successfully. I proved the recipe. I did not create it, nor take credit for it. I was sharing it for free, because the recipe is fairly easy to follow, and make, with good results. Chicken is a domestic bird, available virtually world wide; so the recipe seems like a good one for cruisers. Preparing in a grill, keeping the bird upright, may take some adaptation or creativity, on a moving vessel; or one could do it on the beach, or in calm water, at anchor. Should somebody attempt to prepare it on a vessel? I don't know. Each skipper and crew must consider his or her own vessel, situation and risks. Brewing tea or coffee in gale force winds, may not be a smart thing to do... if one can find the tea pot, keep fresh water in it, salt water out of it, much less keep it on the heating element.

The original recipe was doubled, for two chickens. I halved it for us, a couple of two; (like many couples on S/V's). Two regular size chickens, 3-4 pounds each, is to much for us, one is more than enough. One chicken, is more than two meals for two of us, especially with side dishes. I scaled the recipe for one chicken.

The "seafood linguine" recipe on the other hand, is top shelf, a "Chef Grade" recipe, except the fact that the original recipe calls for "Imitation Crab" which is often Pollock; something considered of lesser quality by many, although less expensive. That is not a bad thing. At the same time, not the best, not authentic "Top Shelf". In my notes, I offered options to "Upgrade" the recipe, substituting real crab; something sailors and cruisers likely may have access to, free for the catching, or maybe very inexpensive at the local market, or bartering with native fishermen. I venture a fair guess; there are parts of the world that never saw or heard of "imitation crab", much less have it available.

One thing most chefs' do not do is share "Intellectual Property", or trade secrets, especially their signature dishes. In time, one at a time, I am doing that here, for free, for a group of people I have an association with, a common interest with, a bond of sorts. I know I could publish multiple recipe collections, and sell them for a lot of money. I mean volumes, exceeding the magnitude of an encyclopedia set.

Yes I took minor offense, yet I hope my explanation is not offensive, or confrontational. If so, I failed in my attempts to remain most civil, while explaining why.

On the flip side, anybody, can take any recipe, and modify it to their individual tastes, or to the provisions on hand, or make a totally new creation based on it. I do that all the time. I study 2-6 or more recipes for a single dish; skip some ingredients, add others, change the amounts, create my own recipe, prepare it, modify it as needed, and make something new, different, hopefully better.

I have no issue with modifying my recipes, or any others, or suggesting it be done. You may; after all you are the one that will sample it, discard it, tolerate it or enjoy it immensly. I do have a minor issue with being told I am wrong. If you don't like it as written, make it your way. If you don't like the basic recipe, don't make it. Some people have food allergies in various degrees, some deathly. Many people just have no taste for certain things, and can not stomach other things. Some seem weird to others. First mate, Candee, has a co-worker, that has a choosen diet of 2 liters plus of Root Beer and a pound of carrots for lunch every day. EVERYDAY the same. To us, that is really weird. Oh well.... Candee has no idea what she eats before or after work, but this womens fingers are orange from eating carrots. Oh well...

Some people cannot cook, do not like to, have a desire to do so, or motivation to learn. I love to and made a living at it, from it. I decided to quit doing it professionally, when it became more work than fun. The good news is I quit in time, (before burn-out) to retain my interest in the culinary arts, the fun part.


Jeff the Chef>/smile.gif

sailman 08-09-2007 10:53 PM

In Taft California we have the luxury of having special beer can chicken racks at the store. They hold the chicken uprite and hold the beer in. If you need them you can contact me and I will try to arrange sending them to you or finding the address to purchase.[topic="0"]Beer can chicken racks[/topic]

Harbor_Pilot 08-10-2007 05:35 AM


Thanks for the very kind and most generous offer.
I will not stand in your way but, perhaps you need not act as a go between or middle man. Such devices are common in the US, in grocery stores / food markets, in home building supply stores such as Lowes, Home Depot, Menards, in the hardware stores, in the chain consumer stores like Walmart, K-mart, Traget, Mervyns, .... In Outlet Stores in the consumer, (Best Buy, Linens & Things, Kitchen Collection, Le Chef'....), and virtually every commercial food service equipment supply company; and in propane suppliers consumer display areas; and more; plus world wide off the internet.

They come in wire, baked enamel, steel, stainless steel, cast iron and other varieties and models, as well as one or two chicken models. They all hold a chicken and a beer can or pop can, some catch drippings.

I've made hundreds of beer butt chickens on the grill, but I can not see past spending $3-4 for a peice for basic wire rack, to hold a beer can. I just stuff the can in the bird, flop it on it's butt, lean it against the warming rack in the grill, close the lid, adjust the temperature, go about other business, come back in two hours, and serve dinner.>/smile.gif

Your offer is most kind, and perhaps helpful to somebody.



daytrader 08-11-2007 05:45 AM


Originally Posted by Harbor_Pilot (Post 11532)
So if I get minor-ly irritated over comments such as:

See you are wound a little tight. Thats ok. No problem with you here.

By saying "You almost did it right". If you read on I was commenting on how around here. You got to play washers to grill out. That was all I was saying. Then I commented on how around here we do our chickens.

daytrader 08-12-2007 08:34 AM

Jeff, "Yes I took minor offense, yet I hope my explanation is not offensive, or confrontational. If so, I failed in my attempts to remain most civil, while explaining why."

I kinda see why, but there is no need to get worked up.

You offered a top notch meal.

One adding ideas and ways others can maybe experiment with you dish is a honor. NOT A TAKE FROM YOU. As a chef you NEED to be ready to be criticized. Talked about and words added how a meal may be better. Your job is to look at each comment and act on them to provide us with the best tasting foods there are.

You will also notice. I am a ramen nut. I am. In collage I had to eat the stuff. Now that I am older. I have made many a great meal with the cheap noodles. They are a great CHEAP substitute. Somthing many folks may have around. We hope to open a Ramen Hut soon in Clear Water beach. Offering full meals with Ramen as the base.

Heck I have deep fried them. If you have not tried that. YOU GO TO TRY IT. Boil some then bread them in what is to me the best breading known to man. ANDY'S breading. Then deep fry for a few seconds. Talk about a treet.

You know I am no chef. I am not. I cook. Many of us do. You have a art of offering great dished folks can make. Also, be open to see what others may add. You as a chef should know. It may come out better. Heck I like a fried liverworst and cheese sandwich. Most would find this as dog food, but they taste great. TO ME.

Have you tried the raisins in the cole slaw yet? Like I noted before use nice big juicy raisns not the black dried out type.

manor 05-03-2009 01:28 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Is this Beer-can Chicken?

Attachment 937

Harbor_Pilot 05-04-2009 09:00 AM

It is. That is a handy, inexpensive, reuseable device. It holds the beer can, or pop can, and the chicken from tipping over, on the grill or bar-bee.

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