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Beer Butt Chicken
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grilling/smoking whole chicken on a beer can

Vicky Bryant

Serves/Makes:4 or more

  • These are approximate amounts, change according to taste and change according to what spices/herbs you prefer if necessary.
  • RUB
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) packed brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp (45 ml) kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) thyme
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) garlic salt
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp (2 ml). cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) paprika
  • 3 lbs (1.4 kg). to 4 lbs (1.8 kg). whole chicken
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) chopped white onion
  • 3 tbsp (45 ml) to 4 tbsp (60 ml) butter or margarine
  • 1 can beer - Budweiser, Old Milwaukee, just no lite beer, you want something with some flavor
  • Mix all herbs and spices for rub.
  • Open beer can and then using a church key open the entire top (or as much as possible).
  • Pour out about 1/2 the can of beer.
  • Rinse and thoroughly dry outside AND inside of chicken (drying is very important or the rub won't stick).
  • Take a couple of tbsp of the butter and rub outside and inside of chicken.
  • Massage rub into chicken - both inside and out.
  • Place about 1 T to 2 tbsp (30 ml) of the rub in beer can slowly - beer will foam up because of the salt so add it slowly and at the sink.
  • Add chopped onion to beer can.
  • Add 1 tbsp (15 ml) of butter to beer can.
  • Very carefully set chicken on beer can to form a tripod i.e., beer can is one support, legs of chicken are the other two supports.
  • Let chicken come to room temperature for about 30 minutes.
  • If grilling with charcoal place coals around the bird for an indirect cooking method for about 2 hours.
  • If using gas turn on one side of gas grill and place bird on side that is not lit for about 2 hours.
  • If smoking fill water pan with apple juice, use Hickory wood chunks that have been soaking for about 1 hour in water and cook for 5 - 6 hours.
This is the best chicken you will ever have. We love the smoked chicken and it is VERY juicy; however, the charcoal method is even more tender. You could always add some wood chunks to your charcoal. For the 4th of July I always cook 6 on my smoker. You can also do the same thing with a turkey, only use the very tall beer cans and cook for longer.

It really helps to have a pair of heat-resistant gloves to remove the beer can. I use my gloves that came with my rotisserie grill. Before removing chicken from beer can let sit for about 15 minutes to re-absorb juices. It takes 2 people to remove beer can from chicken. Pull slowly so beer doesn't slosh out.

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