Beer Can Chicken {oh so juicy! oh so fancy!}

One of our weekly staples is one, 4 pound roasted chicken.

Beer Can Style. In the oven. So juicy. So fancy.

My farm-to-table schedule:
I buy a chicken from Dick & Peg (and sometime their grandchildren) of Brookside Farm (farmers of the egg share for Denison Farm CSA package) at the Saturday Saratoga Farmers Market. It sits in the refrigerator a day or so, then I roast it during naptime, in the oven, with or without some veggies in the pan (more on that later in the post). We then use the meat for various meals throughout the entire week. Its our only chicken we purchase. Since we are a small family of 3, we can get away with a 4 pound chicken. Roast chicken and veggie- one night. Chicken burritos/taco/quesadillas another night. Chicken salad sandwiches by Saturday. Besides those meals, Miles will also receive a few extra helpings, during lunch, as a side dish to a risotto or pasta/sauce combo.

Fellow From Scratcher’, Leslie, turned me onto this way of roasting a chicken and I have never turned back. Until Leslie introduced me to the Beer Can Chicken I had never roasted a chicken. Never. I was a not-so-strict vegetarian until I met Charles and then had Miles. Due to Miles’ soy allergy we can’t have tofu or tempeh or seitan due to his gluten/wheat issue, so I’ve hunkered down and gotten used to buying a whole chicken and having to prepare it for cooking and eating. (And yes, I know there is protein that isn’t just soybean or animal meat-based) Then disassembling it for meals. It took a lot of getting used to- I think this topic will be a future post- so I’ll leave it at that for now. I’m telling you that roasting a chicken with a beer can up its {blank} makes the juiciest meat. My husband is addicted to the store-bought pre-roasted chickens and now he swears mine are better.

I want share ideas for Beer Can Chicken. This isn’t a new recipe but a collection of ideas on how to brine or marinate the chicken/what beer to use- what apparatus to use, ect.


Basically, you roast the chicken in a roasting pan, standing up on its hind legs while its supported by the drink-can which is shoved up its cavity. I roast our weekly chicken, in our convection oven, at 350 for about an hour to one hour thirty depending on the size. Interior temp should read 165F, here’s a link to the FDA’s recommended temps & thermometer placement. Sometime I get an “under 3 pound” bird, other times its 4+. Once its cooked, I take the pan out of the oven and let the bird REST, as is, for at least 30 minutes. Not only is this allowing the juices to be retained in the meat but also allows the liquid in the can to cool.

As you can see from a picture or two that I bought a “beer can chicken” stabilizer contraption thingy. I bought it at Ocean State Job Lots in their grilling section. Is it necessary? No. For whatever reason, poor placement most likely, I  had to go into the oven and fix a (very hot) bird and a (very hot) beer can that had toppled over. That happened about once a month, so on total impulse I purchased this for $2.99 and I’ve used it ever since.

Here’s an important lesson I have learned: Use a can opener to take off the entire top of the can’s lid, which helps air to circulate better so you don’t have to worry about a beer can exploding.


You can go two ways with this; Beer or Stock. I wouldn’t use water as you want some of the liquid’s flavor to permeate the meat. I drink A LOT of plain seltzer. Its my drink of choice so I have a ton of cans in my recycle (get deposit back) bin. They come in very handy for beer can chicken. If I’m not using a beer that’s already in a can, which we almost never have in stock, I use a seltzer can and fill it up with whatever beer or stock I have on hand.

{didn’t have a lot in stock to shoot}


I try my best to marinade or brine the bird all morning in the refrigerator, before naptime roasting, in a bowl of some liquid. If this marinade or brine doesn’t have herbs, I will add a rub just before go time.

– stuff herbs (rosemary, thyme, sage) and garlic under the skin and/or mix oil/herbs together and rub over skin.

– brine in a citrus bath of orange, lemon, lime and some herbs, S&P.

– Mole rub. A little brown sugar, neutral oil, a couple garlic cloves, smoked or plain paprika, cumin, cocoa powder, S&P.

– Asian Rub. Soy Sauce (or Umi Plum Vinegar- if soy allergy), Sesame Oil, a dash of rice wine vinegar, toasted sesame seeds (a lot goes a long way), ground or fresh grated ginger, neutral oil, garlic, s&p.

– store-bought brine/rub. Nothing wrong with that! I recently bought an excellent brine at Fresh Market (my first visit) and really liked it. It made MULTIPLE batches, as you added water, so it was well worth the money. Now, I wish I remembered the brand. Darn.

Finishing Touches:

– fish sauce. No matter how I herb my chicken, I also throw fish sauce over it right before it hits the oven rack for a deeply carmelized & crispy outer skin. The fish sauce flavor evolves, it does not tasty “fishy”. Its my favorite. I linked to a vegan fish sauce recipe on Sunday’s Weekend Reading.

– orange juice- fresh squeezed or boxed. Again, squirt some on right before it hits the oven rack for a citrus pop.


I always roast veggies at the same time as the chicken but I do not always roast them in the same pan. Sometimes I put the chicken in a very small 8×8 baking dish and cook while I have a large baking dish or roasting pan with veggies in it. Sometimes I don’t want the fish sauce or orange carmelization on my veggies. I roast WHATEVER I have on hand including, beets, scallions (OMG- DELISH!), onions, carrots, cauliflower, potatoes, sweet potatoes, ect, ect.

Please share some rubs/brines/marinades! As I roast weekly, I’m always on the lookout for a variation on a theme…


16 Comments Add yours

  1. SallyA says:

    I read all these issues but don’t necessarily save them. I don’t have the link for the fish sauce and now I’d love it! Could you please post it again? Thanks.

    1. Christina says:

      Sally, Thank you for your comment. I published too quickly without making sure all my links were in there place! I have fixed the blog, there are now links to the Vegan Fish Sauce and Weekend Reading AND FDA’s recommended cooking temps & thermometer placement.

  2. Amanda says:

    Thaks for this beer can chicken. We too get a chicken at the farmers market each week. We have been grilling it but this sounds so fun and delicious!

    1. Leslie says:

      Amanda, you can also do this on teh grill–my original recipe was done on the grill, but it evolved to the oven once when we ran out of gas!

      1. Christina says:

        I should have written that too- that the recipe started as a grill recipe. Whoops. Thanks Leslie for the backup AND thanks for the beer can chicken introduction!

  3. I think I’m gonna have to try this! We get our organic, free range chicken from Franzen’s Scenic Acres.

  4. Alexis says:

    I am going to go to Ocean State to try to find the beer can holder. When I roasted a 6+ lb chicken this past Saturday over a beer can it was very difficult to get the beer can out of the chicken once it was cooked, and I’m thinking that holder thing might make that a little easier. Also, I am motivated to replace my empty fish sauce bottle with a new one now! I am fascinated by this use of fish sauce, which is so gross, but so amazing.

    1. Sarah F says:

      Alexis….. we have a can holder thingy as well. We picked ours up at Lowes for a similar amount of money. We got it about a month ago. Just thought I would share in case OSJL didn’t have them any longer.

  5. Holy Mackerel, this looks awesome. I must make this. I have a CSA whole chicken in my freezer right now. That sucker is coming out on Saturday!

    1. Christina says:

      Wow- Thanks ToP! Since I’m late late late responding to comments (bad blogger, bad…) how did your beer can chicken turn out? BTW- LOVE your blog!

  6. Kyla says:

    I think I make beer can chicken just so I can eat roasted broccoli. I LOVE roasted brocc!

  7. Amanda says:

    okay…so without the little $3.00 contraption thing it was hard to get the bird to stand up…plus now I notice how it is balancing on its legs…missed that the first time…anyways I htink with a little leaning from the side of the roasting pan the bird will come out fine….it certainly smells delicious

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  9. Great tips! Thank you for sharing!

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