Saturday, April 24, 2010

Weekend Cooking... Drunken Chicken...On a Throne.

Ok, a bit of alcohol is involved in this recipe too, but let me assure you that Bandit did not drink any of it! ;-)

It is known by several name...Beer Butt Chicken, Chicken on a Throne and my personal favorite, Drunken Chicken. I don't know where I first heard of this recipe but it has become my favorite method of cooking a roast chicken. It is easy, it is tasty, all the fat drips off and it produces a lovely crispy skin. I also like that it is very adaptable. You can use it for wee little Cornish hens, smaller chickens, big roasters or even, although I have never tried it, a turkey. For a very little bird, you could use a smaller juice can, a normal 12 oz. for a small chicken and a big liter beer can for a big roaster or turkey. You can do it in the oven or, especially now that summer is on the way, you can do it or the grill.

Now, some folks who don't want to use beer, write about using soda or lemonade in the can, but from what I have read, there may be reasons, be it the alcohol or whatever, that the beer works better. But the choice is yours. The idea is that the liquid evaporates as the bird roasts, basting it from the inside and keeping it moist and juicy while allowing all the fat to drip off into the pan and letting the skin get nice and crispy.

The first thing you need to do is make the spice rub.

Start with a basic combination of salt, pepper and brown sugar and then let your imagination go from there. The brown sugar is really necessary to help the skin brown and crisp up and then you can take the rub in whatever flavor direction you like. Personally, I like some garlic, some smoky cumin, a little cayenne for a bit of heat...but you can add whatever you like.

Spice Rub

1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoon brown sugar

2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Once you have the rub mixed, take about 1/3 and rub it inside the chicken. Then rub a little oil on the outside of the chicken and rub another 1/3 or a bit more on the outside. At this point, if you let the chicken sit for awhile in the frig, a couple of hours to even overnight, it is best, but you can ahead and cook it right away if time is an issue. The skin will still be great but the flavor will just not get into the chicken as well.

1 (3 1/2 to 4-pound) chicken
1 (12-ounce) can beer

When you are really to cook the chicken, take your can of beer, open it and remove about half the beer. I will leave it up to you what to do with that beer. :-) Using a can opener, poke a few more holes in the top of the can and pour the remaining spice rub in the can with the remaining beer. Now, take your poultry and slide it over the can, so the chicken is standing up and the can, along with the two legs, form a tripod. This can is a bit tall for the bird. Usually less of the can will be visible, but it will be fine.

Place the can/chicken, standing upright, in a foil lined pan and roast the chicken at 350 degrees until done, which was about 1 hour for a smaller 3-3 1/2 lb. chicken, up to 2-3 hours for a big roaster or longer for a turkey. An instant read thermometer is a cook's best friend. I will tell you from experience, it is hard to overcook and dry out the bird with this method.
Now, I will also admit it is a bit of an issue removing the can, now containing some boiling hot liquid, from the bird. It much easier with a helper, one to grab the can, one to grab the bird. But I can assure you it is doable alone, grabbing the hot can with a set of tongs and pulling the bird off with a fork.
Crispy, juicy...delicious.

This is my contribution this to this week's Weekend Cooking.
"Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend."
Be sure to check out the other entries this week. As always, hosted by Beth Fish Reads.


  1. We have yet to do this ourselves but friends of ours cook this a lot and it is delicious. Incredibly moist inside and crispy on the outside. I did use the rub on a chicken though and just baked it and it was good, not as good as doing it on the grill with the beer.

  2. One can certainly see how this recipe got its various names!

  3. so, is this the reason why there is a chicken with a beer can up it's but during NFL games (on CBS?) Last fall, every time my husband was watching a game and I would see the chicken with the can I would be puzzled. Now I think I have an answer!

  4. Carl makes this on the grill minus the spice rub - I'm going to show him your recipe.

  5. I've seen this before somewhere. I never thought people actually cook it though. -grin- Interesting.

  6. Have never seen this called Drunken Chicken on a Throne - love the name!! I'll give it a try...

  7. Your roasted chicken looks delicious. I've made this before on the grill but I've didn't use the rub. I've copied it down and I'm going to give it a try. I'll bet it makes a huge difference. Thanks for sharing.

  8. sure, it would still be good without the rub..I love how all the fat drips off. but with the rub, especially if you let it 'soak in' a few hours, makes all the difference.

  9. I have heard of this for years but never made it -- I think I'm going to have to give it a try on the grill this summer.

  10. Oh that looks yummy. I've always wanted to try that!

  11. I am going to try this one sometimes soon! I often cook chicken, and definitely need some new inspiration. Thanks!

  12. This sounds like a scrumptious way to cook chicken! I cannot do the beer in a can because of the gluten,but I can do that rub.

  13. curtiss, I could suggest you use a can of something else. Lemonade is something I have seen people use. Not sure it has the same effect, but it's worth a try I think

  14. I've seen this before but don't remember if it's the same ingredients. We're having a cookout next weekend so I might give this a try.


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