I first learned the technique of roasting chicken on a half-full beer can from my dad.
I remember thinking, “This absolutely has to be good because I’ve never seen my dad waste beer before.”
And it was. In fact, it was unbelievably good. Probably the most tender roasted chicken I’ve ever had. It’s totally worth sacrificing half a beer to have a perfectly cooked, very tender chicken!
Over the years, I’ve worked up a few different variations on the standard (which was simply seasoned with salt and pepper). This Sriracha Beer Can Chicken recipe
uses one of my favorite condiments on the market, Sriracha chili sauce, to give the chicken some spicy kick!
One nice thing about this recipe is that it only has a few ingredients and takes just a few minutes to prepare. A young whole chicken, butter, Sriracha, a can of beer – that’s it.
As far as applying the Sriracha goes, you don’t want to just drizzle it all over the chicken – it would be way too strong. I recommend mixing it with some butter and using that as a kind of rub on the chicken.
Just soften up your butter and then add a good amount of chili sauce to the butter. Mash this all into a paste and you’re ready to go.
As far as beer goes, you can use any kind really. I recommend something on the light side – stout-flavored chicken just doesn’t sound fantastic to me. The key things to remember about the beer are:
- You want it at room temperature.
- Pour about half of it out (or drink it).
- Add a few dashes of chili sauce to the beer and swirl it around.
Prepare your chicken by removing any giblets from the inside and patting it dry with a paper towel. Then take your butter/chili paste and rub it all over the chicken. If you can, gently separate the skin from the chicken and massage some of the butter mixture under the skin.
You probably don’t need to use all of the butter paste. I left about ¼ of mine for applying to the chicken while it was on the grill.
To finish the chicken preparation, set the beer can on a sturdy flat surface and gently lower the chicken onto the can. It should stand straight up without any support.
Now you’re ready to grill!
The important thing to remember about grilling the bird is to cook it over indirect heat since it’ll need about an hour to finish cooking. If your grill has heating elements, turn off the middle one. If you’re using charcoal, push the hot coals to the sides, leaving the center of the grill open.
That’s where the chicken goes. Again, it should stand up on its own. As it cooks, the beer will evaporate and keep the chicken moist. Also, the butter will melt and marinate the chicken with Sriracha goodness.
A four-pound bird will need about an hour to cook (covered), but you should check it with a meat thermometer to be sure. It should register 160 degrees F in the breast and 170 in the thigh area.
When the bird comes off the grill, let it rest for 10 minutes, then carefully remove the beer can (it’ll be hot), and chop up the chicken!
The Sriracha flavor on the bird is light, but really good. This turned out to be one of the best roasted chickens I’ve had.
If you don’t have a grill, you could also do this in the oven. Just make sure to set the chicken on a sheet pan or something to catch any drippings or beer. I would roast it at 400 degrees F for about an hour.Nick rarely sacrifices beer. This is one time that he’ll allow it. To keep in touch with him, check out his Tablespoon profile, or his blog, Macheesmo.