Drunken Ckicken

Drunken Ckicken

I'm amazed at the number of people I've run across - in various parts of the country- who all have a version of this easy outdoor cooking recipe. The whole chicken looks kind pretty humorous perched upon its beer can throne, but the final product is a delicious, moist bird that's always a hit at cookouts.

Start with your beer at room temperature. The right brand seems to be a hot debate among my friends. Some insist on light beer (Christopher O'Hara, in his book Ribs also suggests using light beer because he says it's more bubbly), while others go for exotic dark brews or favorite drinking brands.

You can use any marinade you choose for your chicken. For the marinade below, I like to use lime instead of lemon juice and a good Mexican beer (since I can't find Corona in cans, I usually use Tecate). You'll have to experiment to find which brand of beer you prefer.


1 whole frying chicken
1 can, 12 oz. beer

1/2 C fresh lemon or lime juice
1/2 C fresh orange juice
1/3 C olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 C minced cilantro
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 - 1 minced, seeded jalapeño pepper (more or less depending on how much heat you like)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper


Mix all marinade ingredients together. Place chicken in a large plastic zipper bag and pour in the marinade, squeeze excess air from the bag and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.

Preheat grill to medium-hot temperature. Place a roasting pan on the grill, open a can of beer and carefully sit the chicken on top of the open can and set both the can and the chicken in the roasting pan on the grill (make sure you have previously removed the chicken's gizzards). The beer will bubble and boil during cooking, basting the bird from the inside. Brush bird with reserved marinade every 20 minutes or so. Bird should be cooked in about an hour, or however long it takes the breast meat to register 180° F on a meat thermometer.

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