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Beer Butt Chicken

From Rick Browne, “Grilling America”
/ Source: TODAY

Servings: 2 to 4


Dry rub

  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried summer savory
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dry yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt (ground fine)
  • 1 large chicken (4 to 5 pounds)

Basting spray

  • 1 12-ounce can of your favorite beer (fruit juice, wine or soda can be substituted)
  • 1 cup cider
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Preheat the grill to medium heat (400 to 500F) for indirect cooking (see page 6).

Mix the rub in a small bowl until it’s well incorporated. Set aside.

Wash, dry, and season the chicken generously inside and out with the rub. Work the mixture well into the skin and under the skin wherever possible. Place in a medium bowl, cover, and set aside at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes.

Pour half the can of beer or other liquid you’ve chosen into a spray bottle, add the cider, olive oil, and vinegar, and set aside.

Take the beer can in one hand with the remaining liquid (half a beer) still inside and insert it vertically into the bottom end of the chicken while keeping the bird vertical as well. Place the chicken on the grill over indirect heat and use the legs, and the can itself, to form a tripod to hold the chicken upright. This positioning does two things: first, it helps drain off the fat as the chicken cooks; second, the beer steams the inside of the chicken, while the outside is cooked by the BBQ heat, making it the most moist bird you’ve ever laid yer eyes, or gums, on. Some people put a small potato or carrot in the neck opening of the chicken to keep the steam inside, I prefer to let it pass through.

Cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. During the cooking time, spray the chicken all around with the basting spray several times. The chicken is done when the internal temperature reaches 180. Carefully remove the bird, still perched on the can, and place it on a heatproof countertop. After your guests have reacted appropriately, remove the chicken from the beer can with tongs while holding the can with an oven mitt (careful! That aluminum can is very hot).

Give the chicken one more spritz of the basting spray, then carve and serve.