The Myth, The Legend, The Beer Can Chicken

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What is beer can chicken?
As sure as the stars align, the love of beer, grilling, and chicken was bound to combine into the legendary culinary masterpiece known as Beer Can Chicken. While not exactly on par with the creations of Julia Child, beer can chicken has a serious following and tons of testimonials about the goodness of this creation. But, do any of those testimonials hold weight or is the legend of beer can chicken just a man-myth?

Why Does Anyone Stick a Can of Beer Up a Chicken’s Rear End?

According to tales told by men huddled around backyard grills, sticking a can of beer up the wazoo of a chicken, then cooking it on the grill while it balances on the can, makes the chicken juicier, tastier, and much cooler to look at.

The belief is the beer will heat and create a steam that infuses moisture into the chicken meat. The spices, aromas, and sophisticated blend of flavors in the beer will flow into the meat and make the chicken taste better.

Does it Work? The Issues With Basic Beer Can Chicken Recipes

In theory, beer can chicken seems logical, as do many ideas exchanged by men with beer as they stand around the grill. However, the truth is, well, science. Science is certainly not the answer to any drunken grill-side debate, but here are some points to consider if you do have to throw down some science at the bbq:

  • While vertically cooking a chicken on the grill will cause the fat to drip away, which produces a crispier skin, this method does not help infuse any beer flavor or moisture.
  • The beer never heats enough to produce any steam that would infuse extra flavor. The actual beer in the can reaches a peak heat degree that is below the boiling point of alcohol.
  • Air flow. The fat of the cavity is actually acting like a giant beer coozie—a giant bacteria-laden beer coozie—which keeps the air from flowing inside the cavity.
  • Oh, and It’s dangerous. Beer cans have a plastic liner inside and the print on the outside has never been referred to as “fit for human consumption”. The over-heated aluminum, ink, and plastic components are not good to ingest. Plus, expecting a chicken to remain balanced on a flimsy aluminum can as it’s heated over fire…What could possibly go wrong?
  • How to Fix Beer Can Chicken the Right Way

    Just because science and common sense have put a damper on your dreams and visions of beer can chicken doesn’t mean all is lost. You can still have incredibly juicy, tender, and flavorful chicken. And yes, you can still use beer or simply drink that can or bottle instead while the chicken cooks.

    Using stouts or lagers as a brine is a great way to get real beer taste and aroma. There are even secure wire racks for sale so you can cook a beer-less chicken vertically without relying on a can for structure.

    Roasting a chicken on the grill nice and slow or using a smoker is a great way to infuse flavors from herbs, woods, and injections.

    Best Beer to Drink with Chicken

    Whether you are going to use it as a brine or enjoy it with the chicken, good beer is an art form—an art form you don’t shove up the orifices of any poultry.

    You want a beer that won’t overpower the lightness of chicken. Some perfect pairings include American pale ale, American brown ale, Belgian blonde ale, or hefeweizen.

    The Craft Beer Club offers delivery of blonde ales and wheat ales, amongst others for the low price of $39.00 a shipment.

    Another option that is in the same price range is Clubs of America Beer Club. This beer club delivers microbrewed craft beers including pale ales and blonde ales.

    Check out other beer club options on Revuezzle.com and enjoy a good brew while your chicken roasts or smokes…alone and unviolated.



    Karri is a freelance writer with experience in newspaper and radio news reporting. She also dabbles in fiction when she isn’t writing blogs, articles, websites, or ghostwriting for others. Publishing her fiction novel is at the top of her bucket list. She loves traveling, gardening, and painting. She is also an avid coffee connoisseur and runner training for her first half-marathon. Karri has recently settled in coastal Maine after her husband retired from 23 years in the Army.

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