Grilled Beer Butt Chicken

Mighty pollo!
Mighty pollo!

This crazy sounding BBQ recipe from America is one of the best, if you want tasty and very juicy chicken. The idea is that an opened beer can is sticked in the chicken’s butt and it keeps the inside of the chicken juicy during slow roasting in a grill. You don’t pour the beer in – the beer just boils and vaporizes during cooking. Many recipes suggest that adding garlic or BBQ sauce to the beer add flavor to the chicken, but it’s not true according to our experiences. We have tried this recipe several times and actually you can drink the beer and replace it with water and the chicken still tastes the same.

There are several different ways to season the chicken. The authentic American way is to use BBQ dry rub, but we Europeans appreciate more delicate flavors. Since we have some rosemary growing on our terrace, we had some sprigs of those along with black pepper and smoked sea salt. We also buried some garlics in a flower pot and they started to grow greens just like spring onions. It tastes like mild garlic so we used those as well, but you can use regular garlic, of course. The idea behind this recipe is to keep the chicken moist and juicy so you can use whatever seasoning you prefer.

We had some roasted vegetables and yogurt based sauce with lots of herbs with the chicken. But the chicken is good finger food, too, and dipping in to a home made BBQ sauce works very well with it!

Ingredients for Beer Butt Chicken for 4 Servings

  • 1 whole chicken – pollo entero
  • 5 sprigs of rosemary – ramitas de romero
  • 5 cloves of garlic or garlic greens – ajo
  • smoked sea salt – sal marina ahumado 
  • ground black pepper – pimienta negra
  • 1 can of beer or Coke – lata de cerveza

Separate the rosemary leaves from the sprigs. Slice the garlic. Make some cuts to the chicken skin and push the rosemary leaves and garlic slices under the skin. Rub some smoked sea salt and ground black pepper all over the chicken.

Pour i.e. drink half of the beer. Open the top of the can and place the chicken on top of it. Don’t spill the beer. You can lubricate the can with olive oil to insert it more easily. We know, this sounds very bad… 🙂

Place the chicken in the grill so that there are burners on each side and one underneath the chicken. Fire up the ones that are on the sides. You don’t need to use the one below, because slow roasting needs indirect heat. Put the burners on medium-high so that the temperature inside raises to 175 ºC (350 ºF) with the cover closed. Cook for 90 minutes. When done, carefully remove the beer can without spilling the beer inside the chicken.

Want to decorate your chicken? There’s an online store called Chicken Headz that sells ceramic chicken heads for beer butt chicken!

¡Buen provecho!

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