Beer in the Butt Chicken

While the kitchen is being worked on, I have been making more use of my Weber BBQ Kettle. Last night I cooked a couple of burgers for my tea, but not wanting to waste a kettle full of charcoal, when I was finished, I moved the coals to the side, and put in a whole chicken on this contraption.

poutry roasterThe idea is this – you open a small can of beer, and pour off half of it (hopefully into a glass). You then place the half-full can in the centre of the roaster. You sit the chicken on top, so that the can goes into the chicken cavity. This means that the bird is upright, with the legs hanging away from the body, so everything cooks well, while the beer (or, in my case, cider) inside heats up and helps keep the bird moist from the inside.

I made a marinade of soy, demerara sugar and oil, while adding some lemon juice to the cider. I then threw a couple of handfuls of wet hickory chips onto the charcoal before putting the lid on and letting the chicken roast for a couple of hours, before letting it cool and putting it in the fridge.

I’ve just had some sliced with a salad, and it was excellent – extremely moist. I discovered that I could only just taste a hint of hickory, so I am going use more next time. It also occured to me that while the chicken was cooking, I could also cook/smoke some good pork sausages on a raised shelf I have for the kettle.

All in all, a successful culinary experiment!


  1. July 23, 2010

    Interesting. Another reason I should get organised and buy a BBQ.

    • chris
      July 23, 2010

      I can recommend the model I have – which is the Weber One-Touch Premium. Not the cheapest kettle on the market, but I am more than happy with it. The One-Touch Original is a bit cheaper and is also good, but I like that the Premium has a removable ash pan which makes cleaning up afterwards easy; and a hinged cooking grate, which lets you hinge up one edge of the cooking area, and add more charcoal, without having to take all the food off.

      Whichever model you go for, I would suggest considering going for the larger size – 57cm rather than 47cm. When I bought mine, I hesitated over the decision for ages, eventually plumping for the 57cm. I am so glad I did this – it means I can easily cater for 12 or more people; and makes using it for indirect cooking (or smoking) of roasts possible. At the same time, if I only want to cook for just one or two people, it is easy to set up just a small cooking area in the kettle, so you are not wasting charcoal.

      At the same time, I have seen a Smokey Joe in action, which is Weber’s small portable grill. Although much smaller (and cheaper!), it is still built to Weber’s standards (both kettle bowl and lid are enamelled steel), and will cook for 2 people easily, up to 4 with practice.

      • July 23, 2010

        Except Janet is a gas fan so I probably will be expected to go that route.

      • chris
        July 23, 2010

        Gas – pah!

        Seriously, if you go the gas route, look for a model that has separately controlled burners – this will let you cook with indirect heat, by having half the grill on, and placing the food on the non-on side. Also go for a model either with a smoker box or that will allow a removable smoker box to be used – I am beginning to find that just plain grilling is only half the fun you can have with a BBQ!

      • chris
        July 23, 2010

        Note that Weber also do a 67cm kettle, which is enormous, but not as big as their Ranch Kettle, which is over 3 foot across (and over a grand in cost). Compared to that the 57cm kettles at a bargain! Also, I note that Weber now do a “Compact” Kettle in the 47cm and 57cm sizes. The main difference seems to be the height of the dome, which is considerably less. I would avoid this model, as the dome height is what makes beer can chicken possible.

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