Microbrew Beer Can Chicken

July 13,2010 by 34 Comments

When you see beer can chicken, it’s always a similar sight. The crispy brown chicken on top looks delicious enough, but when you gaze down it’s always sitting on top of a can of Budweiser, Coors, or another equally bland beer.

That’s when I thought, “Why not use a beer with flavor?”

After all, the key rule in cooking with beer is to never use a beer that you wouldn’t drink.

My beer pick was Old Chub by Oskar Blues. I took a trip to OB this past weekend and had an amazing time at their Longmont, CO restaurant and tap room. Chad Melis and Dale Katechis (the owner) were fantastic hosts for me and some of my fellow beer bloggers. Since Oskar Blues cans 100% of their beer, they are a great choice for microbrewed beer can chicken.

Their Old Chub 8% Scottish Ale is packed with flavor which it delivered right into the chicken, just as I hoped for.

I adapted Guy Fieri’s recipe which features a fantastic dry rub. His recipe is for the oven, but you could also do this on the grill.

Beer Can Chicken Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken (2-4 pounds)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, mashed
  • 1 can of microbrew; Old Chub by Oskar Blues works great

Beer Can Chicken Steps

  1. Remove the giblets and neck from the chicken and wash inside and out
  2. Preheat the oven to 450
  3. Mix the dry spices (i.e. everything except the crushed garlic) in a bowl for the rub
  4. Massage the rub into the meat of the chicken, using 1/2 for the inside and 1/2 for the outside
  5. Drink 1/3 of the beer
  6. Put the crushed garlic into the beer
  7. Place the beer can in the rear end of the chicken so the chicken can sit up straight
  8. Put the chicken in the 450F degree oven for 10 minutes
  9. After 10 minutes, lower the temperature to 325F and roast for 60 minutes
  10. Remove the chicken and dig in!

How did it turn out? It’s the best I’ve had. You could really taste the beer in the meat of the chicken. And since I really like the beer, this was a good thing.

I highly recommend you give beer can chicken a shot using your favorite canned microbrew.

Have you made beer can chicken? Ever used a beer other than a light American lager?

About Billy Broas

He is the founder of The Homebrew Academy, a BJCP beer judge, and the homebrewing expert on the Rocky Mountain PBS television show Colorado Brews. He lives in the fine beer town of Denver, Colorado.

34 responses to “Microbrew Beer Can Chicken”

  1. I did this for the first time recently as well and it turned out amazing! I can’t wait to try it again and mix things up a bit. I’d like to try something very hoppy the next time around…perhaps some Red Racer IPA.

  2. Jorge says:

    Stuffing that can into your chicken just doesn’t look right!!

    But I bet it was good chicken… :)

    I’ve only used beer when making Carne Asada… guess I’ll have to try it out with chicken…

  3. Jimmie the Mum says:

    Hey Billy, anyway of doing this on a smoker or grill?

  4. Lee & DC says:

    How deep in the chicken do you need to put the spices? Did you need to warm it up first before you stuck the can in?

  5. izzypizzy says:

    I’m determined to make this one day! Looks great. I always thought you needed a BBQ to make beercan chicken, never thought of doing it in the oven.

    Thanks Billy!

  6. Billy Broas says:

    @Russ The Red Racer is a good idea. I also have some Gordon in the fridge I might try.

    @Jorge haha It didn’t feel right! At one point I put the chicken on my hand and chased my girlfriend around the house with it. She loves me ; )

    @Jimmie The key thing to do this on the grill is to use indirect heat. So don’t put it directly over the coals or burners. Also keep the grill covered. It will take longer than the oven, maybe 1 1/2-2 hours depending on the chicken size, but you’ll know when it’s ready when the internal temp hits 180. Let me know how it goes.

    @Lee and DC I put them all the way in to the neck, so the entire inside. There’s not a lot of room to move in there though so it’s tricky. Don’t need to warm it up, just shove that thing up there after the chicken’s been patted dry and seasoned. BTW it’s cute that you guys are commenting and cooking together lol.

    @izzypizzy You’re welcome. Yea the grill is fun to use but for convenience I like the oven. That means you can do it in the winter too. Enjoy!

  7. Forrest says:

    I should have come over for the beer can chicken!!! I knew I was making a big mistake!

  8. soniablue says:

    I’m making this for dinner tonight using Keewenaw Red Jacket Amber. Is one chicken enough to feed three?

  9. Billy Broas says:

    @Forrest Yup, big mistake buddy. There will be more BCC though. Lots more.

    @soniablue Yea 1 will be fine. Figure the breasts for 2 people and a thigh for the third. My girlfriend and I shared a 3 lb. chicken and we had plenty of leftovers. A side item is a good idea too though.

    Be sure to stop in and let us know how it turns out.

  10. Billy,

    Good job on that video! It’s giving me some very interesting idea’s. Great choice on that brewery in general too, since yes all their beers come in cans. Giving the Dales Pal Ale a shot could get pretty interesting too.

    Also as another thought. What could get even MORE interesting is use a beer like a Guinness or another really good flavorful stout. Though one would have to figure out how to remove the ball inside first. Damn.

    And ya, Bud Light can’t possibly add anything good to the mix 😉


  11. Sharon says:

    mmm Old Chub. Did you shovel a huge handful of food into your mouth like Guy Fieri does? Sounds really good!

  12. soniablue says:

    Okay, I tried the chicken with the Keweenaw Red Jacket Amber. The beer, as always, was good; we didn’t get much (if any) taste of the beer in the chicken. All we tasted was Guy’s really spicy rub. (Not surprising, knowing Guy Fieri.) How much of the beer should be absorbed by the end of cooking? There was still a lot of beer left in the can…say, most of what I left in there.

    I’m trying the recipe again tonight, this time with Brooklyn’s Lager. It’s really hard to get craft brew in cans around here…or I’m not beer shopping in the right places. (I find that hard to believe. I think I know every liquor store for a 25 mile radius.) I’m going to put the rub under the chicken skin, rather than on top of it this time, and rub the skin itself with some olive oil. I think I’m going to let it cook longer, too…I used my leave-in thermometer and pulled the bird when the thigh was at 165. (I’ve been a Food Network/Alton Brown disciple longer than I’ve been a craft beer fan.)

    I have a photo from the first try, if you’d like it. :)

  13. Billy Broas says:

    @IIya Good call with the stout. I want to see if any of that roasted barley flavor will make it into the chicken.

    @Sharon Oh I shoveled it alright. And I drank an Old Chub with it, which disappeared quickly as well.

    @Sonia Not a lot of the beer steamed off, maybe 1/8th, but we noticed the flavor in the meat. It wasn’t very intense, but noticeable. We did put the rub under the skin and if it’s dominating the flavor then maybe you should tone down the spiciness. I also wonder if only the stronger flavored beers leave a flavor. I might have to try it again with a lighter beer. Definitely let me know how the Brooklyn Lager turns out. The other thing you could do is buy a bottle of craft beer and then pour it into an empty can. I thought about that for my homebrew.

    And of course I’d love to see a photo! It’d be great to put it on the bottom of this post.

  14. izzypizzy says:

    Thanks so much for the recipe, made it tonight and it was delicious!!!


  15. SirRon says:

    I see a lot of commenters suggesting IPAs. My experience in cooking with beer is that hoppy beers are not ideal. Personally, I don’t want concentrated hop flavors in my food. Malty flavors on the other hand… thumbs up.

    Save the pales for pairing w/ the food IMO.

  16. @SirRon

    How about something like a Fullers ESB?

    After you brought THAT up just now, it got me thinking of how many really, really great traditional English Ales there are that would pair so well with so many different types of food and cooking methods, and some of them even come in cans like Fullers London Pride. :)


  17. SirRon says:


    For cooking with beer, I suggest putting some in a pan and cooking it down a little and then tasting. My experience is unbalanced (hoppy) pales get much nastier. ESB or English Ales would be interesting. I’ve never tried, but that’s only because I don’t usually keep many in the fridge. My guess is that the flavors would be good in food.

  18. Billy Broas says:

    @SirRon I know what you mean about cooking with hoppy beers. I’ve made this mistake of adding an IPA to a stir fry only to concentrate the bitterness and ruin the entire thing. They definitely have their place in cooking though. One example is the IPA mashed potatoes that I made and posted on here. The hops went beautifully with the potatoes and garlic. I also remember The Homebrew Chef Sean Paxton talking about a citrusy Caribbean dish he made with a citrusy IPA. So it can be done, but they are less forgiving. You’re right about this recipe though that malty flavors are the way to go. Thanks for the comment!

    @Ilya Dude I need to pay you for your patrol of my comment section lol. Always love the feedback. I think you’re right that it would be fun to experiment with English ales. I bet the fruity flavors from the yeast would go well in some dishes.

  19. @Billy

    No problem, you’ve already got my paypal account email right? 😉

    Seriously though, that’s not a bad idea at all and I can think of SO MANY great English Ales that would go so incredibly well with cheeses for example. Oh the ideas!


  20. Brady says:

    You inspired us to make a beercan chicken with Sierra Nevada Bigfoot (in an empty Pabst can) this past weekend. Holy crap it was delicious…from now on we’ll always be roasting chicken that way. Too bad we can’t get Oskar Blues up here…

    • Billy Broas says:

      Pretty damn juicy ain’t it? Bigfoot was a great idea to use. It seems like the beers with the big malt flavors give the best results. Glad you liked it!

  21. WillyD says:

    I stumbled across this site from Great Divides facebook and have been very pleased. I am going to try out the recipe tonight with some Santa Fe Imperial Java Stout. I will report back my findings.

    • Billy Broas says:

      Thanks for checking out the video Willy. Definitely let me know how the recipe turns out.

      • WillyD says:

        That was by far some of the best Chicken I have ever had. The Java Stout added a little bit of roastyness to the chicken and kept it very moist. Since dinner last night I have been dreaming up the next beer I am going to make this with. A barleywine sounds like a great choice. Here is a picture of the great dish.(sorry only had the camera phone around) http://williamdozier.com/chicken.jpg

  22. Matt says:

    Just cooked this for the first time…boy was it good.

    I dont drink can’s though…i had to buy this contraption.


    I also have the smoker attachment for the Weber Genesis. Applewood chips and Sam Adams…mmmmm

  23. Billy Broas says:

    That sounds amazing Matt. Glad you liked the recipe, and that’s a pretty cool gadget. The sky’s the limit with that thing.

  24. Jon says:

    I’ve used a smallish mason jar instead of the can before since I don’t often have canned beer around the house. Bonus that its way sturdier than a can.

    I did try this in the smoker once… chicken came out fine but due to the lower temp not much of the beer boiled off so I don’t think I’ll do it that way again. Grill or oven from now on.

  25. Jimmie the Mum says:

    I’m doing this on Monday

  26. Jack Watkins says:

    Trying it with Ommegang’s Hennepin Farmhouse Saison, we’ll see how it goes

  27. Made this recipe last night. Very good reviews from wife, kids and friends.

    Used Old Chub and this beer can chicken cooker from Amazon. (http://amzn.to/1tWERpA)

    Also used the gas grill Mesquite Smoke in a Cup (http://amzn.to/Z5AehO)

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