Food, Main Dishes

Cooking With the Non-Cook: Beer Can Chicken

I have made a few side dishes for this column with some success. Side dishes were easy, but now I am ready to attempt the main course. I wanted to do something that I could identify with, and beer can chicken sounded right up my alley. Beer and chicken, what could go wrong? This is a dish that allowed for a lot of variation. Keeping it simple is my motto on this main course.

Ingredients & Supplies:

  1. 2.5-4 lb. Whole Chicken (feeds about four people)
  2. 12 oz can Beer
  3. Beer Can Chicken Holder (like this one)
  4. 1 Potato (Approx. the size of the neck of chicken)
  5. Seasonings to your preference


  1. First, you will need to get a whole chicken. Rinse it off, and remove the giblets. That part was something I had never thought about. (Who wants the giblets anyway? Apparently, they are good for gravy.)
  2. The next step is to get your beer. I use Yuengling because I live close to Pittsburgh and I have become a ‘yinzer’ by proxy. (If you don’t know what that is, check this site out. Have some fun with the crazy phrases and the accent.) You want the can to be half-full, so have fun enjoying the other half. The can will be in the holder.
  3. After the chicken is ready, place it on the holder and rub your preferred seasoning on the outside and some on the inside. Paprika, dry mustard, cayenne and several others are popular. I use some garlic powder, onion powder, and some salt and pepper. Anything is acceptable, but once again keeping it simple works for a beginner like myself.
  4. Wash your potato and cut it in half. Place one-half in the neck to cover the hole. It will allow the beer and inner seasoning to flavor your chicken from the inside out fully.
  5. You want to place it on a grill that is preheated to 350 degrees. Let it cook for an hour, or until cooked thoroughly. Use a meat thermometer to make sure the thigh temperature is at 185 degrees and the breast should be around 165.

You can use this with my previous two recipes for mashed potatoes and green beans for a nice full meal that is so easy that I can make it. The meal as a whole looks impressive, even if the individual courses are simple. Next week, I’m going to get a little adventurous.

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