Tropical Redneck (Beer Butt Chicken)

Beer Butt Chicken
BeetButtTurkey 61 Tropical Redneck (Beer Butt Chicken)

Photography by Sarka Babicka

I know, I know… the name’s not very appealing! However, if you taste this chicken you will never appreciate chicken any other way. I learned about Beer Butt Chicken (also called beer can chicken, chicken on the throne) no where else but in Houston, Texas where I lived for a short period of time. The name says it all; a can of Beer up the chicken’s butt! It is not truly known how the concept of beer butt chicken developed. It’s said that a group of guys camping out had a couple of chickens and needed something to help hold it up. Having nothing else but beer available, they stuck it up the chicken’s cavity and it worked. There are two other stories that name different guys who invented this. The only part in these stories that holds similarities is that it was developed during a camping/fishing trip and it was in Texas. In any case below is my recipe, get ready for the most flavorful, tender and juicy chicken known to mankind! Yehaaaw!


Tropical Redneck (Beer Butt Chicken)

Prep Time: 20 mn

Cook time: 1-1.5 hrs

Serves: 4

  • 1 kg whole chicken washed
  • 1 can of beer- make sure the can fits in the chicken cavity
  • 5 cloves of Garlic-smashed (who cares if you peel them they go in the can)
  • 1 sweet onion-quartered
  • 2 tablespoons of seven spices/allspice
  • 2 fresh Rosemary sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 lemon-thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon- juiced
  • 125ml melted butter
  • 1 small potato- washed, unpeeled, whole and uncooked
  • 1 disposable baking sheet
  • gas or charcoal grill- make sure the chicken fits upright with the lid down. Otherwise, your chicken will take ages to cook.


  1. Open the top of the beer can with a can opener. Pour out half the beer into a glass and drink. Throw into the beer can: 3 cloves garlic, onion, rosemary, sage, bay leaves, lavender and lemon juice.
  2. Rinse the chicken and remove the giblets (I add them to the can but you can throw away if you wish).
  3. Rub the chicken with the seven spices, don’t forget the cavity.
  4. Take the lemon slices and then randomly implant under the skin all around the chicken.
  5. In a mortar, pound 2 cloves of garlic in salt and then add to the melted butter. Using a basting brush, smother the chicken with all the garlic butter sauce. Stick the can up the rear cavity, lay a baking sheet on the grill (this is very important as it will catch the drippings and ensure your chicken legs don’t catch on fire). Delicately stand the chicken on the grill. Use the potato to close off the neck area.
  6. Close the cover and cook for 1 hour and 20 minutes on a covered grill, 2.5 hours on an open grill or when temperature reaches 80c/165F. This will depend on your altitude and strength of your grill/oven. So, best indicator of readiness is a meat thermometer.
  7. When the chicken is ready, get your cooking gloves on and grab a tong. While someone is holding up the chicken (ask someone to help you) use the tongs to pull the beer can out (warning: In case you are already drunk, beer can is very very hot!). Discard the can, carve the chicken and serve!

I serve this chicken with garlic sauce, hummus, Arabic bread and tabouleh. For the Arabic bread I recommend finding a Lebanese specialty store in your town.

The beer and herbs work as a kind of broth which reacts with the chicken, cooking the inside without drying it and crisping the skin. If you do not like beer, you can use any juices or liquids like pineapple juice and of course wine is suitable. Although the beer and chicken legs work together to form a tripod, you could still run into a mean problem where the chicken keeps tipping over. There are many products on the market that can help solve this problem.

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