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Beer Butt Chicken

AronAron Posts: 170
edited 1:23AM in EggHead Forum
I was planning on making a whole chicken that I have in the fridge tonight (7.25 lbs). I've only done spatchcocked chicken since getting my egg, and tonight I figured I'd try something new.
Anyone with beer-butt experience, please feel free to chime in with suggestions. First I was wondering whether to go direct or indirect with a plate setter and drip pan. Or should I use a drip pan by itself, in case the can falls over? I plan on getting a chicken sitter eventually, but that won't help tonight, as I don't even have a beer can (I have to use my roommate's diet coke can and pur a bottle beer into it). Also, should the drip pan be elevated (I have a BGE grill extender) or normal height?
Usually, the spatchcock chickens I do around 350 and take a little over an hour, at about the same size chicken. Will a beer-butt chicken cook faster, slower, or about the same? Thanks.[p]Aron


  • Car Wash MikeCar Wash Mike Posts: 11,244
    That's a good size chicken. I always cook 300-350 direct. I have never had a can tip over but I usually cook smaller birds.
    Chop up an onion and put on the beer can also.
    Be carefull when removing the fluid will be hot.[p]CWM

  • Aron, I tried my first one last weekend. Rubbed the 5ish pounder down with Dizzy Pig Tsunami Rub and perched his rear end on top of a Miller Lite can 2/3 full of Sam Adams plus some cut up onions and a sprig of rosemary. Cooked it direct at about 275 -300 (was having trouble controlling temp that day for some reason) for a little over 2 hrs. I didn't have a holder, but it stood up pretty good. The smell was unbelievable - dog was going nuts. The bird was delicious, but I wish I had cooked it a little longer. The breast was done but the dark parts were still a little pink for my liking. Trust your thermometer. Good luck.

  • DrEggDrEgg Posts: 38
    Aron,[p]I'll ditto the previous posts. I get much better results by putting the rub UNDER the skin. Be a little gentle to prevent tearing. Agree with indirect around 300.[p]Good luck![p]DrEgg

  • GloriaGloria Posts: 161
    Have done 4 beer chickens in the past week and I just love them.....had only done spatchcocked myself but I do believe these are better. We cook direct at 350° and figure about 25 minutes per pound. I rub with a bit of olive oil and then whatever rub we might be in the mood for. In the can I put some fresh garlic, chopped onion, a sprig of rosemary and half a lemon (use the lemon juice on the chicken with the rub). The skin is so crispy and the chicken is so juicy. And they are so cute perched up on that little ol' can.

  • Gloria,[p]Just curious, but how does one cut up a whole hot chicken for guests, like at a cookout? I did 2 beer can chickens last week, and they were pretty good, but it seems like it would be a lot of trouble to try to cut them up for your guests. Any thoughts? With a spatchcock chicken, it is already lying flat so you can cut it up with no problem.[p]TNW
    The Naked Whiz
  • RedpigRedpig Posts: 35
    I haven't done the beer butt chickens 'birdweisers' on my BGE, however I've done several on my homemade smoker/grill. I do them direct at 325-350*. You may want to put some aluminum foil on the wing tips and foil 'booties' on the legs. Sometimes I'll plug the neck too. May not make a difference but I fell it keeps the juices in form the can. Hope this helps.

  • GloriaGloria Posts: 161
    The Naked Whiz,
    That is a really good question. On the first one, we just put it on a cutting board and (as we like dark meat best) cut the leg and thigh portion off, leaving the breast and wings. When we did the last ones (put two in the freezer), Dud used a Chinese cleaver and whacked it in pieces kinda like you would get in a Chinese grocery (where they hang them to cook). How do you think the beer chicken compares to the spatchcocked?

  • GloriaGloria Posts: 161
    Yep, I put the foil on the wings but I haven't put it on the legs. Plugging the neck sounds like a good idea too, but we have had lots of good juices without doing it. Next time, though, will plug the neck. Thanks.

  • Cornbread Willy,[p]Samuel Adams? If it weren't for the egg, that would be alchohol abuse!

  • AronAron Posts: 170
    The Naked Whiz,[p]Well, I just ate the Beer Can chicken (actually 1/4 of it, and the rest for lunch and dinner tomorrow), and it was quite tasty (though I think perhaps slightly underdone--I need a polder, but so far no ill effects).
    Anyway, since I'm used to making spatchcocked chicken as guided by your website, I just figured I'd cut it like I usually do. After it was done cooking, I put it on a large carving board, took out the can carefully, and then cut out the backbone. It's not as easy to get it to lie flat, since it's cooked, so I did the best I could and then just cut it straight down the middle of the two breasts with my scissors. Since I could only eat a quarter of this huge chicken (it was over 7 lbs pre cooking), I just cut off the leg and thigh as you would normally do for a cooked spatchcocked chicken and saved the rest in a large tuppeware.
    I like both methods, but I'll probably stick to spatchcocking if I'm only cooking one bird, and do the beer-butt method when cooking more than one for the extra space.[p]Aron

  • Gloria,
    I think I prefer the spatchcocked. The beer can chicken wasn't as juicy as the spatchcocked. Of course, this could be a difference in the quality of the chicken from one cook to another. I did one with four cloves of crushed garlic in the beer, but I didn't taste any garlic in the chicken. I'd of thunk four cloves would have been detectable. [p]TNW

    The Naked Whiz
  • JSlotJSlot Posts: 1,218
    I'm not sure whether you are one of the folks who do their BBC's indirect or not, but I found a noticable difference in the amount of flavor infusion between direct and indirect. Direct boils the liquid more vigorously and creates a much stronger flavor from the steam IMHO.[p]Jim
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