Badonkadonk: Beer Butt Chicken

Beer Butt Chicken right off the grill.

Beer removed and ready to carve.

If you have never had a beer butt chicken you are certainly missing something. This is some of the most moist chicken you will ever eat. Because the beer that is inserted up the chicken’s butt adds moisture while the chicken cooks, it is nearly impossible to end up with a dry chicken. Another nice thing about this, is that seasoning is only limited by your imagination. You can season it with anything. Maybe you are wanting to go with a herbed Italian flavor, or maybe something more southern, or maybe you want to spice it up and go full out Cajun; the choice is yours.

Here’s what I did tonight:


1 whole chicken 4 – 5 lbs
1 12 ounce can of your favorite beer
1 Tablespoon kosher salt
1 Teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 Teaspoon onion powder
2 Teaspoons garlic powder
2 Teaspoons dried basil
2 Teaspoons dried parsley flakes
1 Teaspoon Spanish paprika


Preheat grill to approximately 350° F. If using a charcoal grill, arrange coals for indirect grilling. On a gas grill, I suggest preheating the grill with all burners on high but then adjust according to your grill that will allow you to grill the chicken using indirect heat. If that is not possible, I would suggest turning the burners down to low directly under the chicken and the others low enough to keep the heat at a fairly consistent 350° F. Although it is not entirely necessary, one other piece of equipment to have is a special made rack that will hold the chicken upright without worry of it falling over. These racks can be found almost anywhere grilling supplies are sold. The one I have is a double rack that allows me to grill two beer butt chickens at once.

Blend all the seasoning together in a bowl and set aside. Thoroughly rinse chicken under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle seasoning all over the chicken and gently rub into the chicken. Gently lift the skin from the chicken breast and rub some additional seasoning directly on the flesh of the chicken under the skin. Open the beer and promptly drink approximately ¼ to ½ the beer. Using an old fashion style can opener, puncture a couple more openings in the top of the can. Place a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken breast. Make sure that you do not insert the probe in too far and hit the rib cage. The thermometer will give you an incorrect reading.

Roast the chicken using indirect grilling until the chicken reaches approximately 165° to 170° F. A good rule of thumb is to allow approximately 20 minutes per one pound of chicken.

The trickiest part of cooking a beer butt chicken is removing the can. The can will be very hot and the beer inside will be equally hot. I suggest using a long carving fork to insert through the backbone of the chicken and lifting straight up. I also suggest wearing a rubber dishwashing glove on the other hand and using a thick potholder that you might not mind getting dirty and possibly ruined. Once the chicken is lifted up, use the other hand to firmly grasp the beer can and twist as you pull it out. Be careful not to squeeze the can too hard or you will possibly crush it and very hot beer will burn your hand. Once the can is removed you may carve the chicken and serve.


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